An interview with Eram Rizvi

Name: Eram RizviEram Rizvi

Current Job: Reader in particle physics, ATLAS group leader at QMUL, Deputy Dean for Research in the faculty of Science & Engineering

Field of research: Experimental particle physics

University: QMUL

Country: UK

Letters: G – partnered with Chris Woodley an established playwright and theatre maker

Social media: Find me on Facebook.

What does your job involve?

I have many jobs! I teach a course on energy and the environment – a subject close to my heart. I manage the research of my group on the ATLAS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. As Deputy Dean I am responsible for PhD students across the faculty. And as Director of Training for DISCnet I manage the training programme in data intensive science for PhD students in SEPnet. I also convene a working group on the ATLAS experiment, steering high precision measurements of W and Z bosons to publication. I’ve also recently taken on the role of LGBT+ Champion for the School of Physics and Astronomy so I’m learning what that entails. Altogether there’s never any quiet times!

How did I get into this job?

Aged 12 I saw a BBC2 Horizon programme about the discovery of the Z boson at CERN and this completely captured my imagination. I knew from that moment that I would be a particle physicist and I never looked back!

Has being LGBTQ affected my career decisions?

Not directly. Being an Asian man was already a more obvious and visible difference in the physics community. I’m very glad to see that there is much more ethnic diversity in our student population than when I was an undergraduate. I hope that the same could be true for sexual preference and that’s one of the reasons why I joined the equality team at QM – to make the diversity of the academics more visible to students.

Have you ever had any reactions to being LGBTQ?

Not really, I’m fairly open and most people take it in their stride. It can be awkward for some to tell new friends and colleagues, so I usually get around it by introducing my boyfriend Chris.

Did you have any role models?

Yes! My role model was definitely Dr Who (Tom Baker & Peter Davison). I discovered a lot of physics from watching it as a child including learning about the 2nd law of thermodynamics and the heat death of the universe. I’ve since found that many gay men were also hooked by the program as kids and I wonder if it has anything to do with the Dr being semi-exiled from his own society and travelling across the universe. And my second passion is travelling… in fact I’m writing this from an AirBnB in Athens!

Plans for the future:

I have a suite of related high precision electroweak measurements I want to make with ATLAS data which are sensitive to new physics. With the three-year long Run-2 ending in December we’ll have a huge dataset to explore. I’ve assembled teams to work on these and I’m planning three publications in 2019 and 2020. My other goal is to learn how to do flip-turns in my local pool London Fields Lido.


This profile is published in cooperation with SEPnet


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