Physics Recruitment

Meet Our Graduate Students

Meet George Iskander

Short bio: 
My name is George, I’m Egyptian and Coptic by heritage, and I grew up in New Jersey! I graduated with my B.S. from Yale in 2020.



Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by quite a few people! A big inspiration for me was Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian chemist who won the Nobel in Chemistry in 1999. He was a wonderful voice in the field. I’m also inspired by my colleague Maryam Esmat, an Egyptian PhD student in astro at JHU — she has been a strong voice for inclusion, and we’ve worked together in the past on some physics pedagogy research!

Why did you choose to study Physics?
I like the sorts of questions physics asks. I’ve always been drawn to the empiricism of science and the scientific method, and I love building stuff with my hands. So, for a while, I wondered about engineering, but I liked how open-ended exploration in physics is. At the same time, as I began learning higher-level mathematics in college, seeing the dance between math and physical theory entranced me; so, I decided to do physics, and I’ve enjoyed it so far!

Why did you choose UChicago?
UChicago is in one of the best cities in America, and no other university has as many national lab connections as UChicago. That we live close by to both Fermilab and Argonne and maintain active collaborations with them is amazing. It’s basically like working in a huge department with research interests in everything you could imagine.

What are the best things about your PhD program?
The cohort is amazing, and my advisor is so supportive! Sure, a PhD isn’t easy, but it certainly makes things easier.

What was the best surprise about UChicago or life in Chicago?
The cinema scene is unparalleled. There’s quite a large cinema community centered around showing arthouse and older films, 35 mm films and 16 mm films. Doc Films at Chicago screens a movie almost every single day of the quarter. It’s absolutely wonderful.

If you could share any advise to your colleagues, what would it be?
Work hard, enjoy life, explore this wonderful city, don’t worry, make connections with those around you, and know things will, one way or another, work out, God willing.


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