Astronomer Maria Drout Wins Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship


By Meaghan MacSween, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto


Drout at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Credit: Maria Drout.

University of Toronto Assistant Professor Maria Drout has been awarded a 2023 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Physics for her contribution to our understanding of the evolution, influence, and ultimate fate of massive stars.

Drout is an Assistant Professor in the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. She is also an associated faculty member at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics and a visiting scientist at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science. She received the recognition on Wednesday.

She says she is honoured by the news. “I was very excited when I heard that I was awarded a 2023 Sloan Fellowship,” she says. “This is especially the case because the last few years have been rough. As an academic, the pandemic was incredibly isolating. So it’s wonderful to have the recognition that my team’s work was noticed and appreciated.”

“Of course, I have to thank all of the amazing students working in my group and my other collaborators, without whom this wouldn’t have been possible.”

Drout uses ground and space-based telescopes to study how stars change and evolve throughout their lives, and eventually die in energetic explosions. She also studies the origins of unusual transient phenomena in space.

Drout holds a Canada Research Chair in Time Domain and Multimessenger Astrophysics. She was a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science from 2016 to 2018.

“Maria Drout is one of Canadian astronomy’s shining stars,” says Dunlap Institute Director Professor Bryan Gaensler, who nominated Drout for this award. “Genuinely new ideas are the key to advancing our understanding, and Professor Drout has brought a range of innovative new approaches to some of the most exciting areas in astronomy.”

Drout is the seventh University of Toronto astronomer to win a Sloan Fellowship, following Renée Hložek (2020), Jo Bovy (2016), Sabine Stanley (2011), Bryan Gaensler (2005), Barth Netterfield (2001), and Dick Bond (1985).

Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded annually by the Sloan Foundation to Canadian and U.S.-based early-career scholars, in recognition of outstanding promise in one of seven science or technical fields. Winners receive a total of US$75,000 and are Fellows for two years. You can find the full list of 2023 Fellows, here


For more information, please contact:
Meaghan MacSween
Communications and Multimedia Officer
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics,
University of Toronto