Akobuije Chijioke ’92

Physicist
Akobuije Chijioke ’92 still ponders a question asked by his IB Theory of Knowledge teacher at George School.

What comes to mind when thinking back upon your experience at George School?

George School remains the highlight of my educational experience. The impact is pervasive. It made me much more comfortable and confident as a student, not just academically, but in the non-academic sense. I thoroughly enjoyed the boarding experience and formed a strong bond with the school. The classes themselves were challenging and provided opportunities for growth.

I really enjoyed the questions and the topics we thought about in Theory of Knowledge, and I loved Sam Smith’s jokes. I can still recall one particular discussion we had on the question: Do you believe math is invented or discovered? I remember being blown away that people thought differently than I did. To this day, when working with other scientists and mathematicians, I use the question as sort of a short-cut personality test to understand a person quickly.

What benefits do you feel as though you received from George School’s IB Diploma Program?

IB certainly helped me for college. The intellectual development and rigor of the program were really good preparation. It was not just about placing out of basic courses, but also about being well prepared for the courses I did take. Support of curiosity was the biggest thing I took away from the IB. The IB program and George School encourage independent thought and investigation.

More about Ako:

Shortly after moving to the United States from Nigeria, Ako decided to pursue an IB Diploma at George School, unsure of the path that lay before him. While he enrolled at Duke for his bachelor’s, MIT for his master’s, and Harvard for his doctorate, Ako’s IB Diploma continued to serve him well. In 2016, Ako was recognized for establishing a new calibration system, the first dynamic force standard with its accuracy and frequency range; the measurements this system creates are essential to enhancing the competitiveness of American manufacturers. Today, Ako is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency within the Department of Commerce that maintains scientific standards for basic units of measurement, working in the Mass Force Group, making sure that measurements of force are accurate.