Even some of the brightest people sometimes hit road blocks along the way but being rejected by her dream schools, Harvard and MIT, didn’t stop Sabrina Pasterski. Selected from the wait list at MIT she quickly started making her mark, earning the Freshman Award for Entrepreneurship.
In 2012, she worked as part of the CMS program at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. Graduating in 2013 with the highest grade point average possible at MIT, she was also the first woman in 20 years to graduate at the top of an undergraduate program at the school.
Accepted into a doctoral program at Harvard, she is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Center for the Fundamental Laws of Physics. Her research on black holes and space-time has a focus on explaining gravity in the context of quantum mechanics. During an invited talk at MIT’s Center for Theoretical Physics she introduced “the Triangle” which has been described as a universal triangle connecting soft theorems, symmetries and memory in gauge and gravitational theories.
Her first publication was accepted by the Journal of High-Energy Physics within 24 hours of its submission and her second paper was recommended as an editor’s suggestion in Physical Review Letters. And not only is her work being published but it is being cited by major theoretical physicists like Stephen Hawking.
Pasterski has been profiled in many publications ranging from the Chicago Tribune and Forbes Magazine to Scientific American as well as People en español. She has also been an invited speaker at many events sponsored by major universities and businesses alike and is the recipient of thousands of dollars in fellowships and grants to support her work.
But before all the accolades, grants, and scholarships she was already an accomplished aircraft builder and pilot. Taking her first flying lesson in 2003, she started building her own airplane from a kit three years later. This single-engine airplane would be certified as airworthy in 2008. Holding Canadian and U.S. solo flight permits she is also an FAA Authorized Experimental Aircraft Test Pilot and motorcycle enthusiast.
Written by Angela Goad