Awards and Prizes

iREx Professor Nicolas Cowan wins prestigious Arthur B. McDonald Fellowship

Prof. Nicolas Cowan. Credit: McGill University
Prof. Nicolas Cowan. Credit: McGill University

McGill Professor Nicolas Cowan, who is also a member of iREx, has been awarded the 2023 Arthur B. McDonald Fellowship by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Valued at $250,000 over two years, the fellowship recognizes early-stage researchers in the natural sciences and engineering. Cowan, a leading exoplanet researcher, is jointly appointed to the Departments of Physics and Earth and Planetary Sciences at McGill University. He leads his research group, the McGill Exoplanet Characterization Alliance, which focuses on characterizing exoplanet atmospheres, and plays a key role in projects like the James Webb Space Telescope, the European Space Agency’s Ariel mission, and the development of a high-resolution infrared spectrograph for the European Extremely Large Telescope. His research spans various aspects of exoplanetology, including astrophysics, exoplanet atmospheres mapping, energy budgets, and comparative exoplanetology.

Professor Cowan has also engaged in public outreach and educational initiatives. He co-founded the Astronomy in Indigenous Communities program in 2019, fostering astronomy activities for elementary students in Kanien’keha:ka. Additionally, he developed the Climate App, enabling high school students to learn about the greenhouse effect and global warming.

The fellowship will empower Cowan to intensify his investigations into exoplanet atmospheres and contribute to telescope advancements while maintaining educational and outreach efforts. Congratulations, Prof. Cowan!