NATHAN J. MCGREGOR

Ph.D. Student in Planetary Science
University of California, Santa Cruz
Surface Processes and Interiors

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About

I am a Ph.D. student in Planetary Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a member of the UCSC Planetary Science Group. My advisor is Professor Francis Nimmo. I also work with Professor Ian Garrick‑Bethell.

I am interested in the physics behind the surface processes that shape rocky and icy bodies. I am currently investigating whether convection models can reproduce the convective uplift associated with the topographic alternation of Venus’ longest canali, Baltis Vallis. I am also investigating thermal models of the Moon consistent with colder temperatures on the nearside to constrain the origin of Apollo 17 troctolite 76535.

I completed my B.S. in Physics and Astrophysics at Boise State University where I worked with Professor Daryl Macomb on long-term optical monitoring of BL Lacertae objects. I also hold a B.A. in Political Science from Boise State and was a member of Professor Brian Jackson’s Planetary Science Research Group.


Research

Baltis Vallis

Baltis Vallis is a lava channel on Venus that shows non-monotonic topography, so it must have been deformed after emplacement. Working with Professor Francis Nimmo, we are investigating whether convection models for Venus can reproduce the kind of behavior seen at Baltis Vallis. The Venus convection models that form our primary data set were created by Dr. Cedric Gillmann. Once we have identified a model initial topography, we will assess how it evolves under the influence of convection and how the evolving model profiles correlate over time.

NASA/JPL
Troctolite 76535

It is possible that lunar troctolite 76535 was excavated by the South Pole-Aitken basin. Professor Ian Garrick-Bethel and I are attempting to constrain the relative ages of two basins on the nearside that might have excavated the sample using gravity data and thermal modeling. By doing so, we may be able to determine where 76535 came from and how it got to the surface improving our understanding of solar system chronology and the solar system impactor population.

NASA

Teaching

Lab Instructor, Boise State University
  • PHYS 212L, Physics II with Calculus, Summer 2021
  • PHYS 105, Stars and Cosmology, Spring 2021 (2 sections)
  • PHYS 101, Introduction to Physics, Fall 2020
  • PHYS 111, General Physics I, Summer 2020
  • PHYS 111, General Physics I, Spring 2020
  • PHYS 112, General Physics II, Fall 2019
Teaching Assistant, Boise State University
  • PHYS 341, Classical Mechanics, Spring 2021
  • PHYS 111, General Physics I, Spring 2020
  • PHYS 111, General Physics I, Fall 2019
  • MATH 170, Calculus I, Fall 2013
  • MATH 175, Calculus II, Summer 2012
  • MATH 170, Calculus I, Spring 2012
  • MATH 170, Calculus I, Fall 2011

Contact

University of California, Santa Cruz
Earth and Planetary Sciences
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
njmcgreg@ucsc.edu