"It’s becoming clear that in a sense the cosmos provides the only laboratory where sufficiently extreme conditions are ever achieved to test new ideas on particle physics. The energies in the Big Bang were far higher than we can ever achieve on Earth. So by looking at evidence for the Big Bang, and by studying things like neutron stars, we are in effect learning something about fundamental physics." -Martin Rees
Neutron stars are some of the most extreme objects in the Universe: a ball of neutrons a few kilometers in diameter, but with more mass than the entire Sun in them. Their magnetic fields are around a trillion times as strong as our Sun's, they rotate at around 2/3 the speed of light, and they arise from the catastrophic supernovae of some of the Universe's most massive stars.
Later today, Vicky Kaspi will give Perimeter Institute's public lecture on neutron stars and the great cosmic gift that they are to us. You can watch it here, but I highly recommend following along on my live blog, a unique experience to see an informed, professional astrophysicist give commentary and extra detail to another's professional talk!