About Me

Hey! My name is George Iskander — I study physics and I’m a PhD student at UChicago. I’m with Salman Habib’s group at Argonne National Laboratory. I studied mathematics and physics at Yale, and graduated in May 2020 with my B.S. and with Distinction in the Major. I’m Coptic- and Egyptian-American, and I was born and raised in New Jersey.

Aside from physics, I enjoy amateur photography, badminton & biking, and DIY (I’ve actually built my own keyboard!).

Contact

You can contact me at georgeiskander@uchicago.edu.

You can also find me on Twitter where I share my work, articles, and commentary.

What Do I Study?

I enjoy many different areas in physics, but the subfield that particularly excites me is precision physics! It’s a field that goes by many different names: novel low-energy tests of the Standard Model, tabletop tests, and so on. Regardless of what we choose to call it, I am fascinated by its guiding principle: “If I measure this quantity really precisely, what new physics can I study?” With techniques drawn from quantum computing and atomic physics, researchers can ask questions about the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe, dark matter candidates, and gravity. And what’s most exciting about this is that these experiments can be done in the lab instead of with a collider.

My current work with the Habib group at Argonne involves searching for possible dark matter candidates using clocks and is just one example of the fascinating work being done in this field.

I put together a little Twitter thread about this that explains one of the coolest (in my opinion) precision experiments out there, the electron EDM measurement!

Outreach

I’m really passionate about outreach and mentorship, since they’ve made an immeasurable impact on my own journey. Some initiatives I’ve been involved in include:

  • SU(5): With a close group of colleagues and friends—senior graduate students and postdocs—I founded SU(5), a peer support and mentorship initiative for first-year graduate students in physics and astronomy.

  • gradguide: I wrote a 20 page guide on STEM Ph.D. admissions, which I continue to update. Since publication, over a dozen students have emailed me to express gratitude, to ask questions, or just to simply connect. The guide amassed over 4,500 views and 2,000 unique visitors in its first week of publication.

  • Yale Society of Physics Students (SPS): I was Co-President of the Yale SPS in 2019. I established new weekly study sessions, a new peer mentorship initiative, and biweekly dinners with physics professors. I organized several prize lectures, and I had the honor of inviting and introducing F. Duncan Haldane, 2016 Nobel Laureate, and Wolfgang Ketterle, 2001 Nobel Laureate.
  • Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI): I am a peer editor and copy editor for JEI. I believe it is important to encourage middle and high school scientists, and I have had the distinct pleasure of reading and editing many high-quality student manuscripts.

  • Letters to a Pre-Scientist: I am a pen pal with a middle schooler who is interested in science. Mentors & role models have played a large part in my journey and, consequently, my desire to work in outreach. I’m looking forward to connecting with young future scientists through this program!

  • Skype a Scientist: I have Skyped classrooms in the past to discuss physics, science, academics, and my work as a PhD student. I have really enjoyed getting to connect with younger students, who ask really amazing questions!