Physics Recruitment

Meet Our Graduate Students

Meet Ugur Alyanak

Short bio: 
I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. I graduated from Cornell University with bachelor’s degrees in Physics, Mathematics and Philosophy. I’m a second-year graduate student here at the University of Chicago. My research focuses on mathematical modeling of sources of noise on qubit architectures,  approximate and exact solutions to semi-classical partial differential equations, using effective field theories to understand different classes of noise as well as building superconducting hardware here at the U.Chicago nanofabrication facilities and testing them at Fermilab to achieve high coherence. I’m interested in the knowledge that resides in regions that consociate physics, mathematics, philosophy and linguistics.


Who inspires you?
​My parents inspire me the most, I owe every single day of my time here to them. They supported me and continue supporting me day and night without hesitation, I would not be here if it wasn’t for their hard work. I plan to be as supportive as them for my own family and my own community. Another figure I’m inspired by is my favorite medieval philosopher Maimonides who was also a doctor and an astronomer; he wrote more than a dozen books on his donkey travellng far distances for his patients! Two other people I’m inspired by are my hard-working advisor Young-Kee Kim and one of my closest friends Sam Grubb who is committed to mastering symbolism and psychology at SUNY New Paltz.

What are you fans of?
I enjoy being physically active in my free time, especially football and bodybuilding. I also enjoy video editing and very recently, music production.
Why did you choose to study physics?
I always knew I wanted to delve deep into the fundamental truths of our existence, I found axiomatic systems and pure mathematics a little too abstract and engineering a little too applied for my taste, so I chose physics as it includes elements of both and gives me the freedom to choose how abstract/applied I want my research to be.
Why did you choose UChicago?
The physics program here has unmatched opportunities, I would not choose to be anywhere else. I personally chose UChicago due to it being not only an elite research university and having an elite physics faculty, but also having close connections to several national laboratories in the area such as Fermilab and Argonne. These laboratories are always looking for researchers for several fields that do not usually get funding for universities, as well as commonly chosen fields. I do not know of any other institution that offers both of these opportunities at such a high level.
What are the best things about your PhD program?
The physics community here is the best I’ve been a part of. I met many individuals who are willingly taking extra classes and doing their own summer math boot camps out of pure passion. There is a common love for learning and intention of helping our fellow cohort members in UChicago that I haven’t seen anywhere else. There are also no qualifying exams so that students are not overly stressed at the end of the year and can truly focus on learning and teaching. Our facilities are numerous and huge, I truly enjoy going to work every morning and feel grateful for this institution.
What was the best surprise about UChicago or life in Chicago?
Gym membership is free! We have free access to numerous Uchicago facilities like recording studios, varsity gyms etc. There are also free buses to the city now for a nice dinner next to the riverwalk or hot chocolate overlooking the great city of Chicago!
If you could share any advice to your colleagues, what would it be?
Choose Uchicago if you’re on the fence, you will not regret it! Also, when you get here or another great graduate school, focus on your own accomplishments and learning, being a part of such an elite school comes with the fact that some people will be better than you in some areas, and you will be better than some in other areas, nobody is the perfect physicist or human, the best we can do is learn from each other and collectively reach perfection. I hope you choose to continue your career at UChicago!
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