Abdus Salam

Abdus Salam
Dr. Abdus Salam

Born January 29, 1926
Jhang, Punjab, British Raj
Died November 21, 1996(1996-11-21) (aged 70)
Oxford, England, United Kingdom
Citizenship Pakistani[1]
Nationality Pakistani
Fields Theoretical Physics
Institutions Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)
Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO)
Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH)
Punjab University
Imperial College, London
Government College
University of Cambridge
International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)
Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Institute
Alma mater University of the Punjab
Government College University
St John's College, Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Nicholas Kemmer
Paul Matthews
Doctoral students Michael Duff
Walter Gilbert
John Moffat
Yuval Ne'eman
John Polkinghorne
Masud Ahmad
Ghulam Murtaza
Munir Ahmad Rashid
Other notable students Faheem Hussain
Pervez Hoodbhoy
Abdul Hameed Nayyar
Known for Electroweak theory
Pati-Salam model
Quantum mechanics
Nuclear Deterrent Program
Pakistan's Space Program
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1979)
Copley Medal (1990)
Smith's Prize
Adams Prize
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (1979)
Sitara-e-Pakistan (1959)

Mohammad Abdus Salam, NI, SPk [2] (Urdu: محمد عبد السلام) (January 29, 1926– November 21, 1996)[3] was a Pakistani theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his work on the electroweak unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces. Salam, Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg shared the 1979 Nobel prize for this discovery.[4] Salam holds the distinction of being the first Pakistani and the first Muslim Nobel Laureate to receive the prize in the sciences.

Salam was a science advisor to the Government of Pakistan from 1960 till 1974, a position from which he played a major and influential role in Pakistan's science infrastructure. Salam was responsible for not only major development and contribution in theoretical and particle physics, but as well as promoting scientific research at maximum level in his country.[5] Salam was the founding director of Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), and responsible for the establishment of the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) in Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).[6] As Science Advisor, Salam played an integral role in Pakistan's development on peaceful use of nuclear energy, and directed the research on development of weapons in 1972.[7][8] In 1974, Salam left Pakistan in protest when Pakistan Parliament controversially passed a parliamentary bill declaring Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as Non-Muslims. Even after his death, Salam remained one of the most influential scientists in his country. In 1998, following the country's nuclear tests, the Government of Pakistan issued a commemorative stamp, as a part of "Scientists of Pakistan", to honour the services of Salam.[9]

Salam's major and notable achievements include the Pati-Salam model, Magnetic photon, Vector meson, Grand Unified Theory, work on supersymmetry and, most importantly, electroweak theory, for which he was awarded the most prestigious award in Physics — the Nobel Prize.[4] Salam made a major contribution in Quantum Field Theory and advancement of Mathematics at the Imperial College. With his student, Riazuddin, Salam made important contributions to the modern theory on neutrinos, neutron stars and black holes, as well as the work on modernizing the quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. As a teacher and science promoter, Salam is remembered as a founder and scientific father of mathematical and theoretical physics in Pakistan while his stay as Science advisor.[5][10] Salam heavily contributed to the rise of Pakistani physics to the Physics community in the world.[11][12] Even until his death, Salam continued to contribute in physics and tirelessly advocated for the development of science in third world countries.



Youth and education

Abdus Salam was born in the small town of Jhang, in 1926.[13] Salam's father was an education officer in the Department of Education of British Punjab State in a poor farming district. Salam's family had a long tradition of piety and passion for learning.[13]

At age fourteen, Salam scored the highest marks ever recorded for the Matriculation Examination at the Punjab University.[14] He won a full scholarship to the Government College University of Lahore, British Punjab State.[15] Salam was a versatile scholar, interested in Urdu and English literature in which he excelled.[16] But, soon picked up Mathematics as his concentration.[17] Salam's mentor and tutors wanted him to become an English teacher, but Salam decided to stick with Mathematics[18] As a fourth-year student there, he published his work on Srinivasa Ramanujan's problems in mathematics, and took his B.A. in Mathematics in 1944.[19] His father wanted him to join Indian Civil Service in His Majesty's Government.[18] In those days, the Indian Civil Service was a highest aspiration for young university graduates and civil servants occupied a respected place in the civil society.[18] Respecting his father's wish, Salam tried for the Indian Railways but did not qualify for the service as he failed the medical optical tests because Salam wore spectacles since an early age.[18] The results further concluded that Salam failed a mechanical test necessary for the railway engineers to be passed in order to gain commission in Indian Railways, and the results also stated that Salam was too young for the Indian Railways to compete for the job.[18] Therefore, Indian Railways rejected Abdus Salam's job application.[18] While in Lahore, Abdus Salam went on to attend the graduate school of Government College University.[18] He received his M.A. in Mathematics from the Government College University in 1946.[13] That same year, he was awarded a scholarship to St. John's College, Cambridge University, where he completed a BA degree with Double First-Class Honours in Mathematics and Physics in 1949.[20] In 1950, he received the Smith's Prize from Cambridge University for the most outstanding pre-doctoral contribution to Physics.[21] After finishing his degrees, Fred Hoyle advised Salam to spend another year in Cavendish Laboratory to do the research on experimental physics, but Salam had no patience for carrying out long experiments in laboratory.[18] Salam returned to Jhang, Punjab (now part of Pakistan) and renewed his scholarship and returned to United Kingdom to do his doctorate.[18]

He obtained a Ph.D degree in Theoretical Physics from Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge.[22][23] His doctoral thesis contained comprehensive and fundamental work in Quantum Electrodynamics.[24] By the time it was published in 1951, it had already gained him an international reputation and the Adams Prize.[25]

While he was doing his doctorate, his mentors challenged him to solve an intractable problem within one year, a problem that had defied such great minds as Dirac and Feynman.[18] Within a six month period, Salam found a solution for the renormalization of meson theory. As he proposed the solution at the Cavendish Laboratory, Salam had attracted the attention of Bethe, Oppenheimer and Dirac.[18]

Academic career

After his doctorate in 1951, Salam returned to the Government College University as a Professor of Mathematics which he remained there till 1954. During the same period, he was the Chairman of the Department of Mathematics, and professor as well, at the Punjab University. As he became the chairman, Salam sought to update the university curriculum, making a course of Quantum mechanics as a part of undergraduate course.[26] This was soon reverted back by the Vice-Chancellor, and Salam decided to teach an evening course in Quantum Mechanics outside the regular curriculum.[27] While Salam had mixed popularity in the university, he began to supervise the education of students who were particularly influenced by him.[28] As a result, Riazuddin remained the only student of Salam who has privileged to study under Salam at the Under-graduate and Post-graduate level in Lahore, and Post-doctoral level in Cambridge University. In 1953, Salam was unable to establish a research institute in Lahore, as he faced strong opposition from his peers.[29] In 1954, Salam took fellowship and became one of the earliest fellows of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences.[30] As a result of 1953 riots in Lahore, Salam went back to Cambridge and joined St John's College, and took a position as a professor of mathematics in 1954.[31] In 1957, he was invited to take a chair at Imperial College of London, and he and Paul Matthews went on to set up the Theoretical Physics Department at Imperial College.[32] While, he kept his strong association links with Pakistan, and visited his country time by time.[33] As time passes, this department became one of the prestigious research department that included well known physicists such as Steven Weinberg, Tom Kibble, Gerald Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, Riazuddin, and John Ward. In 1957, Punjab University conferred Salam with an Honorary doctorate for his contribution in Particle physics.[34]

The same year with help from his mentor, Salam launched a scholarship programme for his students in Pakistan. At Cambridge and Imperial College he had formed a group of theoretical physicists, the majority of them were his Pakistani students. In 1959, he became one of the youngest to be named Fellow of the Royal Society at the age of 33.[3] Salam took a fellowship at the Princeton University in 1959, where he met with J. Robert Oppenheimer.[35] Salam presented his brief and research work on neutrinos to Oppenheimer.[36] Both Oppenheimer and Salam discussed the foundation of electrodynamics, problems and their solution, in which Salam was praised by Oppenhimer.[37] His dedicated personal assistant was Jean Bouckley. In 1980, Salam became was a foreign fellow of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences[38]

Scientific career

Early in his career, Salam made an important and significant contribution on Quantum electrodynamics, quantum field theory, quantum chromodynamics, and including its extension into particle and nuclear physics. In his early career in Pakistan, Salam was highly interested in mathematical series in mathematics, and their possible relations with physics. Salam had played an influential role in the advancement of nuclear physics, but he maintained and dedicated himself to mathematics and theoretical physics.[18] Though, he did regarded nuclear physics (nuclear fission and nuclear power) as "Passé" of physics as it had already "happened".[18] Even in Pakistan, Salam was the leading driving force in leading theoretical physics in Pakistan, with many scientists he continued to influence and encourage to keep their work on theoretical physics.[18] Salam had a prolific research career in Theoretical and High-energy physics, and either he pioneered or was associated with all the important developments in this field.[39] Salam had work on theory of the Neutrino —an elusive particle that was first postulated by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930s. Salam introduced Chiral symmetry in the theory of neutrinos. The introduction of Chiral symmetry played crucial role in subsequent development of the theory of electroweak interactions.[40] Salam later passed his work to Riazuddin, who made pioneering contributions in neutrinos. In 1960, Salam carried the work on nuclear physics, where he had pioneered the work on Proton decay. Salam introduced the induction of the massive Higgs bosons in the theory of the Standard Model, where he predicted the hypothetical form of radioactive decay emitted by Protons, thus he theorized the existence of Proton decay. In 1963, Salam published his theoretical work on the Vector meson. The paper introduced the interaction of Vector meson, Photon (vector electrodynamics), and the Renormalization of vector meson's known mass after the interaction.[41] In 1962, Salam began to work with John Clive Ward on symmetries and Electroweak unification. In 1964, Salam and Ward worked on a Gauge theory for the Weak and Electromagnetic interaction, subsequently obtaining SU(2) × U(1) model. Even though, the work in this was continued in 1959, Salam had deeply convinced that all the elementary particle interactions are actually the Gauge interactions.[42] In 1968, together with Weinberg and Sheldon Glashow, Salam formulated the mathematical concept of their work. While in Imperial College, Salam, along with Glashow and Jeffrey Goldstone, mathematically proved the Goldstone's theorem, that a massless spin-zero object must appear in a theory as a result of spontaneous breaking of a continuous global symmetry.[42] In 1960, Salam and Weinberg incorporated the Higgs mechanism, into Glashow's discovery, giving a it a modern form in electroweak theory, thus theorized the Standard Model.[43] In 1968, together with Weinberg and Sheldon Glashow, Salam finally formulated the mathematical concept of their work.

In 1966, Salam carried out the pioneering work on Magnetic photon— a Hypothetical particle. Salam showed the possible electromagnetic interaction between the Magnetic monopole and the C-violation, thus he formulated the Magnetic photon.[44]

Following the publication of PRL Symmetry Breaking papers in 1964, Steven Weinberg and Salam were the first to apply the Higgs mechanism to electroweak symmetry breaking. Salam provided a mathematical postulation while observing the interaction between the Higgs boson and the electroweak symmetry theory.[45]

In 1972, Salam began to work with Indian-American theoretical physicist Jogesh Pati. Pati was invited by Salam at the ICTP seminar in which Pati suggests that there should be some deep reason why the protons and electrons are so different yet to contrive or form to carry equal but opposite amount of electricity. Protons carry quarks, but the electroweak theory only worried about the electrons and neutrinos, and nothing postulated about quarks. Bringing all these nature's ingredients together in one new symmetry, it might reveal a reason for the contrariety of these particles and the forces they feel. This led to a development of Pati-Salam model in particle physics.[46] In 1973, Salam and Jogesh Pati were the first to notice that since Quarks and Leptons have very similar SU(2) × U(1) representation content, they all may have similar entities.[47] They simply provided the simplest realization of the quark-lepton universality by postulating that "Lepton number is the fourth colour.[48] Physicists believed that there are four fundamental forces of nature; gravitational force, strong and weak nuclear force, and the electromagnetic force. Salam had worked on the unification of these forces from 1959 with Glashow and Weinberg at the Imperial College. Salam was highly convinced that weak nuclear forces are not really different from electromagnetic forces, and two could inter-convert. Salam provided a theory that shows the unification of two fundamental forces of nature, strong and weak nuclear forces and the electromagnetic forces, one into another.[39] From 1959, Salam had searched for such unity that takes place in them. In 1966, Glashow had formulated the same work, and the theory was combined in 1966. In 1967, Salam proved the theory mathematically, and finally published the papers. For this achievement, Salam, Glashow, and Weinberg were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979.

The Nobel Prize Foundation paid tribute to the scientists and issued a statement saying:

For their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current.[4]

Government work

The road named after Salam in CERN, Geneva

Salam immediately returned to Pakistan in 1960 to take charge of a government post that was given to him by President Field Marshal Ayub Khan. From her Independence, Pakistan has never had a coherent Science policy, and the total expenditure on research and development represent ~1.0% of Pakistan's nature product.[49] Even the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) headquarter was located in a small room, and less than 10 scientists were working on a fundamental concepts of physics.[50] Salam replaced Salimuzzaman Siddiqui as Science Advisor, became first Member (technical) of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. Salam expanded the web of physics research and development in Pakistan by sending more than 500 scientists abroad.[51] On September 1961, Salam approached President Ayub Khan to set up the country's first national space agency.[52] On 16 September 1961, through an executive order, Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission was established, which Salam served as its first director.[52] During 1960, a little work on development on science was done, and scientific activities in Pakistan were almost diminished. Salam had called Ishfaq Ahmad, a nuclear physicist, who left the country for Switzerland where he joined CERN, to Pakistan. With the support of Salam, PAEC established PAEC Lahore Center-6, with Ishfaq Ahmad as its first director.[53] In 1967, Salam became a central and administrative figure to lead the research in both Theoretical and Particle physics.[11] With the establishment of Institute of Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University, the research in theoretical and particle physics was engaged.[11] Under Salam's direction, physicists tackled the greatest outstanding problems in physics and mathematics.[11] Another physicist, Raziuddin Siddiqui, established numerous physics research group and supervised the research activities in the academic institutions of Pakistan.[5] Under the direction of Salam, research in physics reached its maximum point that prompted the worldwide recognition of Pakistani physicists.[5]

From 1950s, Salam had tirelessly tried establishing a high-powered research institutes in Pakistan, though he was unable to do it. Salam moved PAEC Headquarters to a bigger building, and established research laboratories all over the country.[54] On the advice of Salam, Ishrat Hussain Usmani set up plutonium and uranium exploration committees throughout the country. In October 1961, Salam traveled to the United States and signed an space-cooperation agreement with United States. on November 1961, NASA had built a space facility — Flight Test Range — in Balochistan where Salam served as its first technical director.

Abdus played an influential and significant role in Pakistan's development in nuclear energy as well as weapons programme in 1972. In 1964, Salam was made head of Pakistan's IAEA delegation and represented Pakistan for a decade.[55] The same year, Salam joined Munir Ahmad Khan — Salam's life-long friend and contemporary at Government College University. Khan was the first person in the IAEA that Salam had consulted about the establishment of International Centre for Theoretical Physics, a research physics institution, in Trieste, Italy. With an agreement signed with IAEA, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics was set up with Salam as its first director. At IAEA, Salam had tirelessly advocated the importance of nuclear power plants in his country.[56] It was his efforts, in 1965, Canada and Pakistan signed a nuclear energy cooperation deal. Salam had obtained the permission from Ayub Khan — against the wishes of Ayub Khan's own government — to set up the nuclear power plant near at the Karachi.[57] In 1965, with the efforts led by Salam, the United States and Pakistan signed an agreement in which th U.S. provided a small research reactor. Salam had a long dream to established a research institute in Pakistan, for which he had advocated on many different occasions. In 1965, Salam and Edward Durrell Stone signed a contract for the establishment of Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology at Nilore, Islamabad.[58]

Space Programme

Salam was the founder of Pakistan's space programme as he was responsible for the establishment of the space research activities in Pakistan. On September 1961, Salam approach to President Field Marshal Ayub Khan to led the foundation of country's first executive agency to coordinate space research.[52] On 16 September 1961, through an executive order, the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) was established of which Salam was made its first and founder director of the agency.[52] Salam immediately traveled to United States, where he successfully signed a space cooperation agreement with United States Government. In November 1961, NASA built Flight Test Center (FTC) in Balochistan Province. During this time, Salam visited Air Force Academy where he met with Air Commodore (Brigadier-General) Wladyslaw Turowicz — a Polish military scientist and an aerospace engineer.[59] Turowicz was made the first technical director of the space center, and a programme of rocket testing of insued. In 1964, while in the United States, Salam visited the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and met with nuclear engineers Salim Mehmud and Tariq Mustafa.[60] Salam signed another agreement with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in which NASA launched a programme to provide training to Pakistan's scientists and engineers.[60] Both nuclear engineers returned to Pakistan in few months and were inducted in Suparco.[52]

Nuclear Weapons Programme

Salam knew the importance of nuclear technology in Pakistan. From the start, Salam was a central figure in Pakistan's nuclear weapons program.[61] In 1965, Salam led the establishing of the nuclear research institute—Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology.[62] In 1965, the plutonium reactor Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor went critical under the leadership of Salam.[61] In 1973, Salam proposed the idea of establishing the annual college in order to promote the scientific activities in the country to the Chairman of PAEC, Munir Ahmad Khan, who wholeheartedly accepted and fully supported this idea. This led to the establishment of the International Nathiagali Summer College on Physics and Contemporary Needs (INSC), where each year since 1976 scientists from all over the world come to Pakistan to interact with Pakistani scientists. The first annual INSC conference was held on advanced particle and nuclear physics.

Abdus Salam is approaching Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to shake his hand. In the middle, Munir Ahmad Khan is shown.

In November 1971, Salam met with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in his residence, and according to Bhutto's advice, Salam went to United States to evade the 1971 Indo-Pak winter war.[63] In 1971, Salam had traveled to the United States and returned to Pakistan with literature about the Manhattan Project.[64] In 1972, the Government of Pakistan learned about the development status of the first atomic bomb completed under the Indian nuclear programme. In January 20 of 1972, at the Multan meeting, Bhutto orchestrated to develop the deterrence programme.[65] Former Prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, formed a group of scientists and engineers, which was headed by Salam.[66] In 1972, Salam, as Science advisor to the President, had managed and participated in a secret meeting of nuclear scientists with Bhutto in Multan, which came to be known as the "Multan Meeting". Here, Bhutto entrusted Salam and appointed Munir Ahmad Khan as Chairman of the PAEC and head of the nuclear weapons program, as Salam had supported Khan.[67][68] Few months after the meeting, Salam, along with Khan and Riazuddin, met with Bhutto in his residence where the scientists briefed Bhutto about the nuclear weapons program.[69] After the meeting, Salam established the "Theoretical Physics Group (TPG)" in PAEC. Abdus had led groundbreaking work at the TPG and was initially headed by Salam until 1974.[70][71]

An office was set up for Salam in the Prime ministers' Secretariat by order of Bhutto.[68] Salam immediately started to motivate and gravitate scientists to begin work with PAEC in the development of fission weapons.[68] In December 1972, two theoretical physicists working at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics were asked by Salam to report to noted Pakistani nuclear engineer, Munir Ahmad Khan (late), then-PAEC chairman.[72] This marked the beginning of the "Theoretical Physics Group (TPG)", reporting directly to Salam.[73] The TPG, in PAEC, was assigned to conduct research in Fast neutron calculations, Hydrodynamics (how the explosion produced by a chain reaction might behave), problems of neutron diffusion, and the development of theoretical designs of Pakistan's nuclear weapon devices.[74] Later, the Theoretical Physics Group working under the leadership of Riazuddin, who was also Salam's student, began to directly report to Salam, and the work on the theoretical design of the nuclear weapon device was completed in 1977.[75] Hence, Salam had led the groundbreaking work in the development of the weapons programme, with Khan. In 1972, Salam had formed the Mathematical Physics Group, under Raziuddin Siddiqui, that was charged, with the Theoretical Physics Group, to carry out the research in the theory of simultaneity during the detonation process, and mathematics involved in the theory of nuclear fission[76] Following the India's surprise nuclear test —Pokhran-I — in 1974, Munir Ahmad Khan had called for a meeting to initiate the work on atomic bomb, which was attended by Salam and where Muhammad Hafeez Qureshi was appointed head of the Directorate of Technical Development in PAEC.[77] The DTD was set up to coordinate the work of the various specialized groups of scientists and engineers working on different aspects of the atomic bomb.[69] The word "bomb" was never used in this meeting, but the participants fully understood what was being discussed.[69] On March 1974, Salam and Khan also established the Wah Group Scientist that was charged with the manufacturing materials, explosive lenses and triggering mechanism development of the weapon.[78] Following the setting up of DTD, Salam, along with Riazuddin and Munir Ahmad Khan, visited the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) where they held talks and discussions with senior military engineers led by POF Chairman Lieutenant-General Qamar Ali Mirza.[6] It was there that the Corps of Engineers built the Metallurgical Laboratory in Wah Cantt in 1976.[79] Thus, the Wah Group working under the DTD was charged with the material and triggering mechanism development of the weapon.[80] Salam remained associated with the nuclear weapons programme until 1974, when he left the country after Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims by the Pakistani Parliament.[81] Although, he had left the country, Salam did not hesitate to advise the PAEC and Theoretical and Mathematical Physics Group on important scientific matters, and kept his close association with TPG and PAEC.[82]

Advocacy for Science

In 1964, Salam founded the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, in the North-East of Italy and served as its director until 1993.[83] In 1974, he founded International Nathiagali Summer College (INSC) to promote science in his country.[84] The INSC is an annual meeting of scientists from all over the world to come to Pakistan and hold discussions on different aspects of physics and science.[84] Even today, the INSC holds an annual meetings, and Salam's pupil student Riazuddin is its director since its inception.[85]

In 1997, the scientists at ICPT commemorated Salam and renamed ICTP as "Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics". Salam had advocated for development of Science in third world countries, and attended various seminars in different countries. Throughout the years, Salam served on a number of United Nations committees concerning science and technology in developing countries.[25] Salam also founded the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and was a leading figure in the creation of a number of international centres dedicated to the advancement of science and technology.[86]

During his visit at the Institute of Physics of Quaid-i-Azam University in 1979, Salam had explained after receiving his award: Physicists believed there are four fundamental forces of nature; the gravitational force, the weak and strong nuclear force, and the electromagnetic force.[87] Salam was a firm believer that "scientific thought is the common heritage of mankind," and that developing nations needed to help themselves and invest in their own scientists to boost development and reduce the gap between the Global South and the Global North, thus contributing to a more peaceful world.[88]

Although Salam had departed from Pakistan, he did not terminate his connection to Pakistan.[89] Salam continued inviting Pakistan's scientists to ICTP, and maintained a research programme for the Pakistani scientists.[90] Many prominent scientists, including Ghulam Murtaza, Riazuddin, Kamaluddin Ahmed, Faheem Hussain, Raziuddin Siddiqui, Munir Ahmad Khan, Ishfaq Ahmad, and I. H. Usmani, considered him as their mentor and a teacher.

Personal life


Salam was a devout Muslim and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community[91] who saw his religion as integral part of his scientific work. He once wrote:

"The Holy Quran enjoins us to reflect on the verities of Allah's created laws of nature; however, that our generation has been privileged to glimpse a part of His design is a bounty and a grace for which I render thanks with a humble heart."[25]

During his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Physics, Salam quoted the following verses from the Quran:

Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.

He then said:

This, in effect, is the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze.[92]

In 1974, the Pakistan Parliament made a constitutional amendment that declared Ahmadi Muslims as 'non-Muslims'. In protest, Salam left Pakistan for London. Even after his departure, Salam did not completely terminate his connection to Pakistan, and kept his close association with the Theoretical Physics Group as well as academic scientists from Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).[87] Leaving Pakistan in protest was one of Salam's greatest regrets.[93] At ICTP, Salam had launched series of post-research programmes for Pakistani academics with whom he had developed extremely close relations. In 1983, Riazuddin and Asghar Qadir returned to ICTP where they had joined Salam, and stayed with him until 1990.[94]


The defaced grave of Abdus Salam in Rabwah

Abdus Salam died peacefully on 21 November of 1996 at the age of 70 in Oxford, England, after a long illness.[95] His body was finally brought back to Pakistan and kept in Darul Ziafat, where some 13,000 men and women visited to pay their last respects. Approximately 30,000 people attended his funeral prayers.

Salam was buried in Bahishti Maqbara, a cemetery established by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Rabwah, Pakistan next to his parents' graves. The epitaph on his tomb initially read "First Muslim Nobel Laureate" but, because of Salam's adherence to the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, the word "Muslim" was later erased on the orders of a local magistrate, leaving the nonsensical "First Nobel Laureate".[96] Under Ordinance XX, Ahmadis are considered non-Muslims.[97]


Salam's work in Pakistan has been far reaching and influential. He has made extraordinary contributions to Pakistan's development in science, including nuclear and space programme. In 1998, the Government of Pakistan issued a commemorative stamp to honour the services of Salam as part of its "Scientists of Pakistan" series.[9] However, with Ordinance XX declaring Ahmadis non-Muslims, the government came under pressure and had it removed from circulation.[98] Despite the immense services he had done for the Pakistan and the Government, he has been discriminated against because of his affiliation with the Ahmadiyya sect, which the Pakistan Government has denounced.[99]

However, Salam has been commemorated by Pakistan's noted and prominent scientists, who were also his students. Many scientists have recalled their college experiences. Ghulam Murtaza, a professor of plasma physics at the Government College University and student of Salam has puts it:

A commemorative stamp to honour the services of Dr. Abdus Salam.

"When Dr. Salam was to deliver a lecture, the hall would be packed and although the subject was Particle Physics, his manner and eloquence was such as if he was talking about literature. When he finished his lectures, listeners would often burst into spontaneous applause and give him a standing ovation. People from all parts of the world would come to Imperial College and seek Dr. Salam's help. He would give a patient hearing to everyone including those who were talking nonsense. He treated everyone with respect and compassion and never belittled or offended anyone. Dr. Salam's strength was that he could "sift jewels from the sand".[100]

Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, former chairman of the PAEC and a lifelong friend of Salam recalls:

"Dr. Abdus Salam was responsible for sending about 500 physicists, mathematicians and scientists from Pakistan, for doctorate’s to the best institutions in UK and U.S.".[1]

In August 1996, the former chairman of PAEC and lifelong friend, Munir Ahmad Khan and met Salam in Oxford, United Kingdom. Munir Ahmad Khan (late), who headed the nuclear weapons and energy programme, said:

"My last meeting with Abdus Salam was only three months ago. His disease had taken its toll and he was unable to talk. Yet he understood what was said. I told him about the celebration held in Pakistan on his seventieth birthday. He kept staring at me. He had risen above praise. As I rose to leave he pressed my hand to express his feelings as if he wanted to thank everyone who had said kind words about him. Dr. Abdus Salam had deep love for Pakistan in spite of the fact that he was treated unfairly and indifferently by his own country. It became more and more difficult for him to come to Pakistan and this hurt him deeply. Now he has returned home finally, to rest in peace for ever in the soil that he loved so much. May be in the years to come we will rise above our prejudice and own him and give him, after his death, what we could not when he was alive. We Pakistanis may choose to ignore Dr. Salam, but the world at large will always remember him.[100]"

In Popular culture

Documentary film (Docufilm)

In 2010, Pakistani filmmaker and director Sabiha Sumar released a documentary film on the life and science of Abdus Salam. The film is subject to collection of donations valued to $500,000.[101] In 2011, a second movie is planned by pilgrimfilms which will lighten the personal life of Abdus Salam. The film is set to schedule to be released in 2011.[102]


In 1997, scientists at ICTP renamed the institute as The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in the honour of Salam.[103] Salam's services have been recognized in Pakistan, as his students have openly spoken and stressed out the importance of Science and Technology in Pakistan.

In 1999, per the recommendation of Ishfaq Ahmad, the Federal Government led the establishment of Salam Chair in Physics at the Government College University.[104] On November 22 of 2009, the Director of Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics had gifted the original Nobel Prize Certificate original to his alma mater.[105] In 2011, GCU's Salam Chair in Physics held a one day long conference that was attributed to Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam.[104] Salam's students dr. Ghulam Murtaza, dr. Perviaz Hoodbhoy, dr. Riazuddin and dr. Tariq Zaidi discussed the life and works of the Nobel Laureate, and lightened the achievement of Salam in Pakistan and in the Physics.[104]

In 1998, the Edward A. Bouchet-ICTP Institute was renamed as Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Institute.[106] In 2003, Government of Punjab created the institute of excellence for the Mathematical Sciences, Abdus Salam School of Mathematics, in Salam's Alma mater — Government College University.[107]

In 2008, in an opinion, Daily Times called Salam as "one of the greatest scientist Pakistan has ever produced".[108] The Dawn Newspapers published an interview with Zakir Thaver, a Pakistani film director and producer, who is set to released another documentary film. In an editorial, the Dawn Newspapers called Abdus Salam as "the greatest physicist that comes from Pakistan".[109]


In 1979, Salam was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Glashow and Weinberg, For their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current.[4] Salam received high civil and science awards from all over the world.[110] Salam is recipient of first high civil awardsStar of Pakistan (1959) and the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (1979) — awarded both by President of Pakistan for his outstanding services to Pakistan.[110] The National Center for Physics (NCP) contains a Abdus Salam Museum dedicated to the life of Salam and his work as he discovered and formulated the Electroweak Theory.[5] Below is the list of awards that were conferred to Salam in his lifetime.

  • Nobel Prize in Physics (Stockholm, Sweden)(1979)
  • Hopkins Prize (Cambridge University) for "the most outstanding contribution to Physics during 1957-1958"
  • Adams Prize (Cambridge University) (1958)
  • Smith's Prize (Cambridge University) (1950)
  • Sitara-e-Pakistan for contribution to science in Pakistan (1959)
  • Pride of Performance Medal and Award (1959)
  • First recipient of Maxwell Medal and Award (Physical Society, London) (1961)
  • Hughes Medal (Royal Society, London) (1964)
  • Atoms for Peace Award (Atoms for Peace Foundation) (1968)
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Medal and Prize (University of Miami) (1971)
  • Guthrie Medal and Prize (1976)
  • Sir Devaprasad Sarvadhikary Gold Medal (Calcutta University) (1977)
  • Matteuci Medal (Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome) (1978)
  • John Torrence Tate Medal (American Institute of Physics) (1978)
  • Royal Medal (Royal Society, London) (1978)
  • Nishan-e-Imtiaz for outstanding performance in Scientific projects in Pakistan (1979)
  • Einstein Medal (UNESCO, Paris) (1979)
  • Shri R.D. Birla Award (India Physics Association) (1979)
  • Order of Andres Bello (Venezuela) (1980)
  • Order of Istiqlal (Jordan) (1980)
  • Cavaliere de Gran Croce dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (1980)
  • Josef Stefan Medal (Josef Stefan Institute, Ljublijana) (1980)
  • Gold Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Physics (Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Prague) (1981)
  • Peace Medal (Charles University, Prague) (1981)
  • Lomonosov Gold Medal (USSR Academy of Sciences) (1983)
  • Premio Umberto Biancamano (Italy) (1986)
  • Dayemi International Peace Award (Bangladesh) (1986)
  • First Edinburgh Medal and Prize (Scotland) (1988)
  • "Genoa" International Development of Peoples Prize (Italy) (1988)
  • Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1989)
  • Catalunya International Prize (Spain) (1990)
  • Copley Medal (Royal Society, London) (1990)

Awards named after Salam

The Abdus Salam Award (also called as Salam Prize) is an award in natural and physical sciences, established to recognized the high achievements and contributions in physical and natural sciences.[111] In 1979, Riazuddin, Fayyazuddin and Asghar Qadir met with Salam, and presented the idea of creating an award to appreciate scientists, resident in Pakistan, in their respective fields.[111] Salam had donated the money he had won as he felt that he had no rightly use of the prize money.[94] It was endowed by Asghar Qadir, Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin in 1983, and it was first awarded in 1984. The winners are selected by a committee (consisted of Aghar Qadir, Fayyazuddin, Riazuddin, and others) of the Center for Advanced Mathematics and Physics (CAMP), which administers the award.[94]

The Abdus Salam Medal is presented by the Third World Academy of Sciences in Trieste, Italy. First given in 1995, the award is presented to the people who have served the cause of science in the Developing World.[112]


Salam's primary focus was research on the physics of elementary particles. His particular contributions included:

  • two-component neutrino theory and the prediction of the inevitable parity violation in weak interaction;
  • gauge unification of weak and electromagnetic interactions, the unified force is called the "Electroweak" force, a name given to it by Salam, and which forms the basis of the Standard Model in particle physics;
  • predicted existence of weak neutral currents and W particles and Z particles before their experimental discovery;[113]
  • symmetry properties of elementary particles; unitary symmetry;
  • renormalization of meson theories;
  • gravity theory and its role in particle physics; two tensor theory of gravity and strong interaction physics;
  • unification of electroweak with strong nuclear forces, grand unification theory;
  • related prediction of proton-decay;
  • Pati-Salam model, a grand unification theory;
  • Supersymmetry theory, in particular formulation of Superspace and formalism of superfields in 1974;
  • the theory of supermanifolds, as a geometrical framework for understanding supersymmetry, in 1974;[114]
  • Supergeometry, the geometric basis for supersymmetry, in 1974;[115]
  • application of the Higgs mechanism to the electroweak symmetry breaking;
  • prediction of the magnetic photon in 1966;[44]

Institutes named after Abdus Salam

See also


  1. ^ a b http://www.chowk.com/articles/8387 -Dr Abdus Salam - The ’Mystic’ scientist
  2. ^ This is the standard transliteration (e.g. see the ICTP Website and Nobel Bio). Other transliterations include Abdus Salam; see Abd as-Salam for more details.
  3. ^ a b Kibble, T. W. B. (1998). "Muhammad Abdus Salam, K. B. E.. 29 January 1926-21 November 1996". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 44: 387. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1998.0025.  edit
  4. ^ a b c d "1979 Nobel Prize in Physics". Nobel Prize. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1979/. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Riazuddin (1998-11-21). "Physics in Pakistan". ICTP. http://portal.ictp.it/pio/words/newsletter/backissues/News_94/features_Pakistan.html/?searchterm=Riazuddin. Retrieved 2011. 
  6. ^ a b (Rahman 1998, pp. 75–76)
  7. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 10–101)
  8. ^ Jang News Group (Text only available in Urdu) (2011). "Re-engineering Pakistan and Physics from Pakistan Conference:MQM Stays loyal with Pakistan Armed Forces". Jang News Group. Jang Media Cell and MQM Science and Technology Wing. http://jang.com.pk/jang/jun2011-daily/10-06-2011/main2.htm. Retrieved Thursday, June 11, 2011. "Professor Muhammad Abdus Salam and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, and other prominent scientists, have made Pakistan, a nuclear power. All of of these scientists were poor or Muhajir (migration from India), says Altaf Hussain." 
  9. ^ a b Philately (1998-11-21). "Scientists of Pakistan". Pakistan Post Office Department. http://www.pakpost.gov.pk/philately/stamps98/scientists_of_pakistan.html. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  10. ^ Abdus Salam, As I Know him: Riazuddin, NCP
  11. ^ a b c d Ishfaq Ahmad (1998-11-21). "CERN and Pakistan: a personal perspective". CERN Courier. http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/28934l. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  12. ^ Riazuddin (1998-11-21). "Pakistan Physics Centre". ICTP. http://portal.ictp.it/pio/words/newsletter/backissues/News_90/dateline.html/?searchterm=Riazuddin. Retrieved 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c "Abdus Salam -Biography". Nobel Prize Committee. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1979/salam-bio.html. 
  14. ^ (Fraser 2008, pp. 59–78)
  15. ^ (Fraser 2008, pp. 78–80)
  16. ^ (Murthi 1999, pp. 42)
  17. ^ (Murthi 1999, pp. 43)
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Khan, Munir Ahmad (November 22, 1997), "The Abdus Salam Memorial Meeting: A Tribute to Abdus Salam; a lifelong friendship with Abdus Salam", ICTP and UNESCO World Heritage Site (Munir Ahmad Khan, Former Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, former Head of the Nuclear Engineering Division, and former Head of the Reactor Engineering IAEA Division) 1 (1): 103–159, http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001190/119078Eb.pdf 
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  20. ^ (Fraser 2008, pp. 189–186)
  21. ^ (Fraser 2008, pp. 200–201)
  22. ^ (Fraser 2008, pp. 202)
  23. ^ (Duff 2007, pp. 39–40)
  24. ^ (Fraser 2008, pp. 215–218)
  25. ^ a b c Abdus Salam Nobel Prize in Physics Biography
  26. ^ (Fayyazuddin 2005, pp. 5)
  27. ^ (Fayyazuddin 2005, pp. 5–6)
  28. ^ (Fayyazuddin 2005, pp. 7–8)
  29. ^ (Fraser 2008, pp. 237–238)
  30. ^ Deceased members of PAS
  31. ^ (Duff 2007, pp. 39–41)
  32. ^ I(Duff 2007, pp. ix)
  33. ^ (Duff 2007, pp. iix)
  34. ^ (Duff 2007, pp. 37)
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  40. ^ (Riazuddin 2005, pp. 31–33)
  41. ^ (uddin 1994, pp. 124–127)
  42. ^ a b (uddin 1994, pp. 149–157)
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  44. ^ a b A. Salam (1966). "Magnetic monopole and two photon theories of C-violation". Physics Letters 22 (5): 683–684. Bibcode 1966PhL....22..683S. doi:10.1016/0031-9163(66)90704-9. 
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  46. ^ (Fraser 2008, pp. 205)
  47. ^ (uddin 1994, pp. 321–322)
  48. ^ (uddin 1994, pp. 322)
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  54. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 05–19)
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  56. ^ (Duff 2007, pp. 19–20)
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  62. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 09–10)
  63. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 25–40)
  64. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 38–40)
  65. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 3–9)
  66. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 38–89)
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  110. ^ a b "Abdus Salam - Curriculum Vitae". List of Prizes of Abdus Salam. nobelprize.org. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1979/salam-cv.html. 
  111. ^ a b "Nominations for Salam Prize invited". Daily Times. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\04\28\story_28-4-2010_pg11_6. 
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  113. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1979". Nobel Foundation. http://www.nobel.se/physics/laureates/1979. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  114. ^ Hélein, Frédéric (2008). "A representation formula for maps on supermanifolds". Journal of Mathematical Physics 49 (023506): 1 & 19. arXiv:math-ph/0603045. Bibcode 2008JMP....49b3506H. doi:10.1063/1.2840464 
  115. ^ Lauren Caston and Rita Fioresi (October 30, 2007). "Mathematical Foundations of Supersymmetry". arXiv:0710.5742. 


External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Salimuzzaman Siddiqui
Science Advisor to the Prime minister Secretariat
March 6, 1960–September 7, 1974
Succeeded by
Mubashir Hassan

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  • Abdus Salam — nach seiner Immatrikulation Abdus Salam, KBE (Urdu ‏عبد السلام‎, DMG ʿAbd as Salām; * 29. Januar 1926 in Jhang, Punjab, Britisch In …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Abdus Salam — vers 1940 Naissance 29 janvier 1926 Jhang Sadar (Inde) Décès 21 novembre 1996 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Abdus Salam — Mohammad Abdus Salam (en Urdu:محمد عبد السلام) Nacimiento 29 de enero de 1926 Santokdas, Sahiwal, Punyab, India Británica Fallecimiento 21 de noviembre de 1996 Oxford …   Wikipedia Español

  • Abdus Salam (Editor) — Abdus Salam, born on 2 August 1910 in the village South Dharmapur in the Chhagalnaiya Upazila (subdistrict) of Feni District in Bangladesh, was one of the most well known newspaper editors of Pakistan, editing the Pakistan Observer (renamed The… …   Wikipedia

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  • Abdus Salam (Bengali Language Movement demonstrator) — Abdus Salam ( bn. আবদুস সালাম ) (1925 April 7, 1952) was a demonstrator who died during the Bengali Language Movement demonstrations which took place in the erstwhile East Pakistan (currently Bangladesh), in 1952. He was born in Luxmipur village… …   Wikipedia

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  • SALAM (A.) — Abdus SALAM 1926 1996 Né à Jhang (actuellement Jhang Maghiana, au Pakistan) le 29 janvier 1926, dans une famille «pieuse et instruite», Abdus Salam est mort, le 21 novembre 1996 à Londres, de la maladie de Parkinson. Lycéen exceptionnellement… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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