Sabrina Pasterski

Women in STEM
Women in STEM
Sabrina Pasterski

Birth:  June 3, 1993

Specialty: Physics

Major Contributions:

Built her own airplane as a teenager that was cleared for flight

FAA Authorized Experimental Aircraft Test Pilot

Principal Investigator Celestial Holography Initiative at the Perimeter Institute

Image: Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED)

Even some of the brightest people sometimes hit roadblocks 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 the same year 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.

During an invited talk at MIT’s Center for Theoretical Physics she introduced “the Triangle”, now known in theoretical physics fields as the Pasterski-Strominger-Zhiboedov 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 has been cited by major theoretical physicists like Stephen Hawking.

After earning her doctorate from Harvard and spending time as a post doc researcher at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science Dr. Pasterski joined the faculty of Perimeter Institute in 2021 and two years later was named the Deputy Director of the Simons Collaboration on Celestial Holography at the institute. Her research interests lie in quantum fields and strings, and she is leading her team in uniting our understanding of spacetime with quantum theory by encoding our universe as a hologram.

Recognized many media outlets for her work in physics she has also been lauded by the United States White House for her work with Let Girls Learn in 2016 and by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for her efforts in promoting STEM education for girls in Russia the next year. She was also recognized by the Annenberg Foundation for promotion of STEM education for girls in Cuba.

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


Physics Girl

Wikipedia: Sabrina Pasterski

Meet the 22-Year-Old Physics Genius That Harvard Believes is the Next Einstein

17 Surprising Facts About Millennial Physics Phenom Sabrina Pasterski

30 under 30: A Teenage Pilot and Aspiring Physicist

See Also:

Forbes: Sabrina Pasterski, 21

Sabrina 2006 “Building an Airplane for my Dad” (YouTube)

Pasterski–Strominger–Zhiboedov triangle