Vicki Kaspi

Vicki Kaspi (McGill) gave the Physics Colloquium talk today. She compared the fastest-known millisecond pulsar (which her group discovered) to the fastest commercial blenders in spin period. The pulsar wins, but it wins far more in surface speed: The surface of a millisecond pulsar is moving a significant fraction (like 0.1) of the speed of light! She talked about the uses of pulsars for precision measurement and testing of general relativity. It is just incredible that nature delivers us these clocks! I got interested during the talk in the spin constraints on the equation of state: We often see constraints on equation of state from mass measurements, but there must be equally compelling limits from the spin: If you are spinning such that your surface is moving at or even near the sound speed in the material, I think (or I have an intuition) that everything goes to hell fast.

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