2018 Incoming Grad Series: Sean McBride

by Daina Tagavi, Professional Development Peer
Monday, September 17, 2018 2:00 PM

Welcome to the first student profile article of our 2018 Incoming Grad Series, featuring backstories and fun facts on 8 students who are part of our most diverse incoming class in recent memory.

First up is Sean McBride, an incoming doctoral student from Manalapan, New Jersey, with an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. He is entering the Ph.D. program in Physics, with an emphasis in string theory, black hole physics, quantum field theory, and condensed matter physics. During his time at UCSB, he will be focusing on studying newly discovered spacetimes called traversable wormholes. Read on to learn more about Sean's background, why he chose UCSB, and some surprising fun facts!


Sean was born and raised in New Jersey, but both of his parents are originally from Brooklyn, so he keeps a strong connection to New York City. His mother was a middle school math teacher, and after school would teach him topics such as long division (using Pokemon math books). This is how he developed his love for math at an early age. Sean was drawn to physics in middle school and high school because of Walter Lewin's (a Dutch astrophysicist and MIT professor) lecture series and David Morin's (a Harvard professor and author) textbooks. The combination of physics and math, as well as a love of teaching from his mom, led him to pursue a career as a professor in theoretical physics.


UCSB is a great place for a young theoretical physicist. The faculty has a wide range of interests, making it easy to work on multiple projects in varied fields. The Kavli Institute at UCSB is also a great resource; notables from all fields come and go, which provides ​an opportunity to learn about the state of research all over the world through various talks and conferences.



Sean's current work focuses on studying newly discovered spacetimes called traversable wormholes. These wormholes, which arise from modifying certain black hole geometries, don't allow time travel or causality violation, but are interesting in relation to certain topics in quantum entanglement, and are fun to study because they overturn some long held notions about what's allowed by the laws of physics. Ask him more about it!



After four years in snowy Ithaca, Sean has gained a newfound love for the outdoors in Santa Barbara. He likes to go on hikes and go swimming at the beach. Sean
is a self-proclaimed chef, a hobby he picked up from his father. His specialty is baking bread, which he describes as a "somewhat more scientific [item] to cook." His favorite way to combine these two loves is making pizza; it gives him the opportunity to cook and to put on a show at the same time.

Sean also loves to read, mostly classic novels and poetry, but more often than not Star Wars books. He is a huge Star Wars fan, especially of the original Expanded Universe novels and video games. 

Welcome, Sean!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is Meenakshi Shyamsundar, an incoming master's student in ​Electrical and Computer Engineering from Bangalore, ​India, who ​is an avid karaoke fan and who will be researching wireless communication and wireless networks here at UCSB.