Leading Geotechnical Publication Features Professor Iskander
Groundbreaking Research Highlighted in Pile Driver
Long before Magued Iskander became NYU Tandon’s Chair of the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering and a leading expert in geotechnical engineering, he was a student discovering his career path just like the many students walking the halls of NYU Tandon today.
Iskander’s journey from university student to renowned educator features prominently in the latest issue of the Pile Driver magazine, a publication of the Pile Driving Contractors Association. The magazine’s feature article spotlights Iskander’s storied 30-year career, tracing his early days as a civil engineer in the Egyptian armed forces, to his doctoral research on the capacity of piles in sand, and up through his current research at NYU Tandon.
Pile drivers, also known as hammers, are devices engineers use to install piles, or poles, into soils to support buildings, skyscrapers, and other structures with deep foundations. (The magazine highlights the latest trends and technologies for pile driving, and reaches a global audience of industry professionals and engineering firms.)
Known internationally for his research on replacing conventional piling with recycled polymeric piling in structures near water, Iskander is also recognized in the article for his development of transparent soil surrogates — surrogates that are used to study the behavior of soils near foundations in model tests. His visualization techniques have widespread impact and applications, with 30 universities having employed them. His present work is experimenting with computer science and artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential to predict pile capacity.
Reflecting on his journey from a young student to his current place at the helm of NYU Tandon’s Civil & Urban Engineering department, Iskander remembers his lifelong fascination with foundations and piling. “I came to America exactly 30 years ago to study foundation engineering. In fact, I wrote my dissertation on the behavior of pipe piles in sand,” Iskander notes. “It is very gratifying that on the 30th anniversary of me arriving to the U.S. as a student, I have been recognized in one of the top foundation engineering trade publications, and one especially dedicated to piling.”
In the feature, Pile Driver also details Iskander’s dedication to teaching the next generation of civil and geotechnical engineers, in particular his involvement in Tandon’s K-12 STEM programs. Helping inspire students as young as second grade envision themselves as scientists and engineers, these programs bring authentic tools such as sensors into classroom experiments, engaging students who typically receive less opportunities and resources.
Almost 33 years since he graduated from university, Iskander recognizes that hard work and perseverance are at the heart of wealth and success, and emphasizes that students who take shortcuts seldom reach their goals. He also encourages students to always help others and expect nothing in return: “Those you help may never be able to pay you back, but somehow you will be repaid in full and more.”