Dr. Abdus Salam: A Nobel Prize Winner from Pakistan

on Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dr. Abdus Salam is a Pakistani theoretical physicist who was born in a small rural town of Jhang in Pakistan. Coming from an educational family, he showed signs of intelligence from a very young age. He attended Punjab University and had his Master degree in mathematics at a tender age of 17, and in the process awarded a scholarship to go to Cambridge in London to study under the wing of Nicholas Kemmer. By the age of 33, he had received his PhD, and he was the youngest member of the Royal Society, a society that was based in London.

In those days, physicists only knew of four fundamental forces, and it was difficult for them to prove that these forces can be combined, but in 1979, Abdus Salam, Steven Weinberg and Sheldon Glashow managed to come with theoretical work and formulas that showed that this was possible and the most impressive part of all was that they came with these theories independently. This theory which known as  the theory of strong, weak and electromagnetic fields. It was such revolutionary theory which was the key for discovering Bosons.  For his contributions in this theory, Dr. Salam was awarded along with his two partners a Nobel Prize in physics. He was the first and still the only Pakistani to win a Nobel Prize.

Having accomplished a name for himself as a physicist, he never forgot his roots. After teaching for a while at Cambridge, he decided to go back home to Pakistan where he worked as a Professor of Mathematics at the Government College of Lahore and became the head of the Mathematics department at Punjab University. He also became the science advisor of the government of Pakistan (1960-1974). Because of his involvement with Ahmadiyya sect, which was a group that was viewed as a heretic, there was a lot of prejudice against him, and he was never allowed to conduct any research. To make matters even worse for him, the Ammadis were later declared as non-Muslims by the President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Consequently, Salam decided to go back to England where he was welcomed with open arms, and he continued his work in the Physics department.

Being away from home did not stop him from establishing a lot of wonderful things for Pakistan. He was named the father of physics, and he contributed many more things for his country such as being the founder of Pakistan’s Space program. He is also the founder of Abdul Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics and also the Third World Academy of Science.

Dr. Abdus Salam got married twice, and he has six children. He died at the age of 70 due to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a condition that left him paralysed and unable to talk.

Truly, this was a man who loved his country, even after being treated unfairly, his country was forever in his heart. He had a vision of showing the rest of the world that dynamites came in smaller packages. He had managed to leave a ton of accomplishments for his country, and had managed to improve the country’s infrastructure even after his death, and for that he will be remembered forever as the true father of Physics of Pakistan.

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