2015 Cohort

Liz George

Ancient Photon Wrangler


Liz George has spent her entire adult life building instruments to study the universe. Liz believes that the future of space science lies in strong, open international collaboration.

Starting in 2017, Liz has worked as a detector engineer at the European Southern Observatory near Munich, Germany, developing optical and infrared detector systems for the Extremely Large Telescope. Since 2008, she has worked with international teams to develop astronomical instruments, and has deployed them at remote telescope sites around the world. In the course of her work, she has spent months at a time living at the South Pole Station and at the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert. Recently she has been using large, publicly available datasets to gain insight into the instruments used by astronomers around the world.

Liz received her BS in physics from MIT in 2008. In 2013, she completed her PhD in physics at UC Berkeley for work on millimeter-wavelength instrumentation for the South Pole Telescope and studies of the Cosmic Microwave Background, the remnant light from the Big Bang. Following her PhD, Liz completed a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics on infrared instrumentation for the Very Large Telescope.


The interesting thing about being a woman in a physical science is I don’t have a lot of role models who look like me.

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