Dr. Nicolas B. Cowan
(514) 398-1967

McGill Space Institute 202
3550 rue University
Montreal, QC

Curriculum Vitae


I'm an associate professor in the departments of Physics and Earth & Planetary Sciences at McGill University, as well as the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Planetary Climate. I am also a member of the interdisciplinary McGill Space Institute, the Montreal-wide Institut de recherche sur les exoplanètes, the province-wide Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Québec and the Canada-wide Technologies for Exo-Planetary Science. At McGill, I have taught EPSC/PHYS-186 Astrobiology, PHYS-214 Introductory Astrophysics, ATOC/PHYS-404 Climate Physics, PHYS-641 Observational Astrophysics, PHYS-642 Radiative Processes, and EPSC-645 Planets.

I study the surfaces and atmospheres of exoplanets by monitoring how their brightness and color change with time (for more details, read this brief review or this in-depth review). I'm an instigator of the ExoClimes meetings, which (unsurprisingly!) cover most of the scientific areas that interest me. As a member of the LUVOIR STDT and various other NASA/CSA committees, I promote research in planetary climate and help shape the landscape of future exoplanet missions. Here are videos of talks I've given to the public, scientists at large, and planetary scientists as well as interviews on CTV and Global News. Through the Astronomy in Indigenous Communities program, I am working to attract indigneous students into STEM. My students and I have developped the Climate App to help explain the greenhouse effect to the general public. When not working, I can usually be found playing with my son and enjoying the outdoors.

The McGill Exoplanet Characterization Alliance (MEChA) is diverse, dynamic, and interdisciplinary. Current members include graduate students Taylor Bell, Lisa Dang, Dylan Keating, Melissa Marquette, and Keavin Moore, MSI postdoctoral fellow Thomas Navarro, as well as a rotating cast of undergraduate researchers. We are literally an award-winning group: MEChA members have earned NSERC, NSF, and Tomlinson graduate fellowships, le Prix Relève étoile Louis-Berlinguet, and a Harvey Richer Gold Medal. Previous team members include Claudia Bielecki, Dhruv Bisaria, Élie Bouffard, James Bushong, Victoria Chayes, Anthony Courchesne, Claude Cournoyer-Cloutier, Shereen Elaidi, Wanda Feng, Pablo Fuentes, Claire Guimond, Jackson Hoffart, CJ Hansen, Laurent Jacob, Elisa Jacquet, Diana Jovmir, Ned Kleiner, Daniel Law, Holly Marginson, Maximilien Lamberti, Evelyn Macdonald, Carl Majeau, Emily Pass, Sara Rastegar, Louis Richez, Louis Shekhtman, Joel Schwartz, Holly Sheets, Jack Sklar, Talia Strait, Sudarsan Sundararajan, Veenu Suri, Nicholas Vieira, and Mashiyat Zaman.