Nicolas Cowan is an associate professor in the departments of Physics and Earth & Planetary Sciences at McGill University. Nic uses telescopes on the ground and in space—and develops novel remote sensing techniques—to study the climates on extrasolar planets. In parallel, he combines geochemistry, geophysics, and atmospheric science to understand planetary habitability. These lines of research are converging on the search for habitable, and possibly inhabited, worlds orbiting nearby stars.
Nic earned a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Washington in 2009. After five years of postdoctoral research in Washington and Illinois, and a brief stint as professors in Massachusetts, he and his wife joined the faculty at McGill in 2015. Nic prides himself on running a diverse group and uses his research on planetary habitability to talk to the public about climate change.