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My name is John McCann.
Graduate student at UCSB,
researching exoplanets.
Scroll down to learn more!

Born in Chicago, I am currently pursuing a PhD in physics out in California. I did my undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where I worked on black hole accretion. Currently I am a second year graduate student at University of California, Santa Barbara; however, I am currently located at University of California, Santa Cruz. Presently under the advising of Ruth Murray-Clay, I study atmospheric escape on Hot Jupiters. Flip to the next card for my contact information.

John McCann
Name : John McCann
Work Number : +1 (312) 715-7603
Email Address : mccann@physics.ucsb.edu
UCSB Office : Broida 2nd Floor, Room 2014
UCSC Office : CfAO 1st Floor, Room 102


Currently I am working in the field of exoplanets theory and simulations—with my work heavily focusing on simulations. My project is performing simulations of planetary atmospheric winds interacting with their host stars. For this work I use the publically available ATHENA to investigate possible underlying physics. Working in 3D, with these simulations I seek to model the non-linear, short timescale behavior of a magnetized atmospheric wind interacting with a time variable stellar environment. Comparing these models to observations will yield the first detailed description of the structure form a quickly escaping atmosphere. In particular, modeling hot Jupiters will allow comparison to the most easily observed class of exoplanet; however, fast thermal escape is thought to be the dominating process shaping the bulk atmosphere of many planets, especially lower mass planets.


Listed are courses I have been a teaching assistant for. Course websites are linked in the names and icons; some websites have been taken down by the instructor on record.

  • h

    Phys 133: Cosmology

    Spring 2016 UCSB

  • g

    Phys 141: Optics

    Spring 2016 UCSB

  • c

    Phys 2: General

    Summer 2015 UCSB


An incomplete collection of notes I have created since starting graduate school. Their completeness and correctness are not gaurenteed. If you have comments about these notes, please feel free to contact me.

  • Isothermal Winds

    May 13, 2016


    Overview of Bondi accretion and Parker winds. With disucssion of de Laval Nozzles.

  • Adiabatic Atmospheres

    April 09, 2016


    Adiabatic atmosphere in hydrostatic equilbrium. Discussion on scale heights for non-isothermal cases.

  • Alfven Waves

    Feburary 18, 2016


    The traditional derivation of Alfven waves from linearizing the MHD equations.

  • Collisionaless Boltzmann Equation

    October 05, 2015


    Elementary discription and introduction to the concept.

  • Piecewise Parabolic Method

    September 14, 2015


    Never finished.

  • Hill Equation

    September 01, 2015


    Hill's equation for a reduced three-body system, and the Shearing box approximation.

  • Effective Potential

    August 08, 2015


    Vector based analysis of tidial forces in a reduced three-body system.

  • Wind Driven Shocks

    July 07, 2015


    Discussion of the various cases in which a wind can shock an ambient medium.

  • Jump Conditions

    July 01, 2015


    Overview of shocks in hydrodyanmics and the jump conditions.


A collection of presentations I have given, so far for UCSB Astro Journal Club and courses.



Kozai-Lidov Mechanism and Black Hole Mergers

A presentation on binary mergers via the Kozai-Lidov mechanism (N-body simulation). [paper]



Calibration of Gravitational Wave Dectector

A presentation on gravitational wave dectector calibration, with background on gravitational waves. [paper]



Bright but Slow Type II Supernovae

A presentation on an interesting class of type II supernovae observed by OGLE. [paper]



Settling in White Dwarfs

A presentation on a MESA project exploring gravitational settling of accreted material onto a white dwarf. Modeled after WD 1145+017 observations. [paper]



Classification of Emission-line Spectra

A presentation on the classical paper on the classifcation parameters for emmision-line spectra of extragalactic objects. [paper]

Miscellaneous Physics

Under construction.


Curriculum Vitae