Abdus Salam
File:Abdus salam.gif
BornJanuary 29, 1926
DiedNovember 21, 1996(1996-11-21) (aged 70)
Oxford, England, United Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of the Punjab
Government College
St John's College, Cambridge
Known forElectroweak theory
Pati-Salam model
Quantum mechanics
Nuclear Detterent Program
Pakistan's Space Program
AwardsNobel Prize in Physics (1979)
Smith's Prize
Adams Prize
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (1979)
Sitara-e-Pakistan (1959)
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical Physics
InstitutionsPakistan 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
Doctoral advisorNicholas Kemmer
Paul Matthews
Doctoral studentsMichael Duff
Walter Gilbert
John Moffat
Yuval Ne'eman
John Polkinghorne
Masud Ahmad
Ghulam Murtaza
Munir Ahmad Rashid
Other notable studentsMunir Ahmad Khan
Faheem Hussain
Pervez Hoodbhoy
Abdul Hameed Nayyar

Mohammad Abdus Salam[2] (Urdu: محمد عبد السلام) (January 29, 1926; Jhang, Punjab, British Raj (present-day Pakistan) – November 21, 1996; Oxford, England)[3] was a Pakistani theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his work on the unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces. Salam, Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg shared the 1979 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. Abdus Salam was a science advisor to the Government of Pakistan from 1960 till 1974, in which, he played a major and influential role in Pakistan's science infrastructure. Abdus Salam is 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] In 1974, Abdus 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 Abdus Salam.[8]

Salam's major and notable achievements include Pati-Salam model, Magnetic photon, Vector meson, Grand Unified Theory, work on the quarks and the global symmetry, 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, Abdus 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][9] Salam heavily contributed to the rise of Pakistani physics to the Physics community in the world.[10][11] 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 small town of Jhang, in 1926.[12] 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.[12]

At age fourteen, Salam scored the highest marks ever recorded for the Matriculation Examination at the Punjab University.[13] He won a full scholarship to the Government College University of Lahore, British Punjab State.[14] Salam was a versatile scholar, interested in Urdu and English literature in which he excelled.[15] But, soon picked up Mathematics as his concentration[16] 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.[17] He received his M.A. in Mathematics from the Government College University in 1946.[12] 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.[18] In 1950, he received the Smith's Prize from Cambridge University for the most outstanding pre-doctoral contribution to Physics.[19]

He obtained a Ph.D degree in Theoretical Physics from Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge.[20][21] His doctoral thesis contained comprehensive and fundamental work in Quantum Electrodynamics.[22] By the time it was published in 1951, it had already gained him an international reputation and the Adams Prize.[23]

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 course of Quantum mechanics as a part of undergraduate course.[24] This was soon reverted back by the Vice-Chancellor, and Salam decided to teach an evening course in Quantum Mechanics outside the regular curriculum.[25] While, Abdus Salam had the mixed popularity in the university, Abdus Salam began to supervised the education of students who were particularly influenced by Salam.[26] As the result, Riazuddin remained the only student of Abdus Salam who has privileged to study under Abdus Salam at the Under and Post-graduate level in Lahore, and Post-doctoral level in Cambridge University. In 1953, Salam was unable to established a research institute in Lahore, as he faced strong opposition from his peers. In 1954, Abdus Salam took fellowship and became one of the earliest fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences.[27] As a result of 1953 riots in Lahore, Salam went back to Cambridge and joined St John's College, Cambridge, and took a position as a professor of mathematics in 1954.[28] 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.[29] While, he kept his strong association links with Pakistan, and visit his country time by time.[30] 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 Abdus Salam with Honorary doctorate for his contribution in Particle physics.[31]

The same year, Abdus Salam, with the help from his mentor, launched a scholarship programme for his students in Pakistan. At Cambridge and Imperial College, he had formed a vibrant group of theoretical physics, with 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. Abdus Salam took a fellowship at the Princeton University in 1959, where he met with J. Robert Oppenheimer.[32] Abdus Salam presented his brief and research work on neutrinos to Oppenheimer.[33] Both Oppenheimer and Salam discussed the foundation of electrodynamics, problems and their solution, in which Salam was praised by Oppenhimer.[34] His dedicated personal assistant was Jean Bouckley. In 1980, Salam became was a foreign fellow of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences [35]

Scientific career

Abdus Salam, early in his career, 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 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.[36] Salam had work on theory of Neutrino —an elusive particle that was first postulated by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930s. Salam introduced the Chiral symmetry in the theory of neutrinos. The introduction of Chiral symmetry played crucial role in subsequent development of theory of electroweak interactions responsible for the radioactivity which star would not shine.[37] Salam later passed his work to Riazuddin, who made pioneering contributions in the 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 Standard Model, where he predicted the hypothetical form of radioactive decay emitted by the Protons, thus he theorized the existence of the Proton decay. In 1963, Salam published his theoretical work on 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.[38] In 1962, Abdus 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.[39] 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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41]

Following the publication of PRL Symmetry Breaking papers in 1964, Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam were the first to apply the Higgs mechanism to the electroweak symmetry breaking. Abdus Salam provided a mathematical postulations while observing the interaction between the Higgs boson and the electroweak symmetry theory.[42]

In 1972, Abdus 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.[43] 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.[44] They simply provided the simplest realization of the quark-lepton universality by postulating that "Lepton number is the fourth colour.[45] Physicists believed that there are four fundamental forces of nature; gravitational force, strong and weak nuclear force, and the electromagnetic force. Salam had work 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. Abdus 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.[36] From 1959, Salam had search 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, Abdus Salam proved the theory mathematically, and finally published the papers. For this achievement, Abdus Salam, Glashow, and Weinberg were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979.

The Nobel Prize Foundation paid a tribute to scientists and issued a statement by 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 Abdus 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.[46] 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.[47] 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.[48] On September 1961, Salam approach President Ayub Khan to set up the country's first and national space agency.[49] On 16 September 1961, through an executive order, Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, was established, which Abdus Salam served its first and founding director.[49] During 1960, a little work on development on science was done, and scientific activities in Pakistan were almost diminished. Abdus Salam had called Ishfaq Ahmad, a nuclear physicist, who left the country for Switzerland where he joined CERN, to Pakistan. With the support of Abdus Salam, PAEC established PAEC Lahore Center-6, with Ishfaq Ahmad as its first director.[50] In 1967, Salam became a central and administrative figure to lead the research in both Theoretical and Particle physics.[10] With the establishment of Institute of Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University, the research in theoretical and particle physics was engaged.[10] Under Salam's direction, physicists tackled the greatest outstanding problems in physics and mathematics.[10] 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 Abdus Salam, the research in physics reached at its maximum point that prompted the worldwide recognition of Pakistani physicists.[5]

From 1950s, Salam had tirelessly tried for establishing a high-powered research institutes in Pakistan, though he was unable to do it. Salam moved PAEC Headquarters in a bigger building, and established research laboratories all over the country.[51] On the advice of Abdus Salam, Ishrat Hussain Usmani sat up plutonium and uranium exploration committees throughout the country. In October 1961, Salam traveled to United States and signed an space-cooperation agreement with United States. And, on November 1961, NASA had built a space facility — Flight Test Range — in Balochistan in which Salam served its first technical director.

Abdus Salam 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.[52] The same year, Salam joined Munir Ahmad Khan — Salam's life-long friend and former student at Government College University. Munir Ahmad Khan was the first person that Abdus 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 sat up of which Salam was its first director. At IAEA, Salam had tirelessly advocated of the importance of nuclear power plants in his country.[53] 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 sat up the nuclear power plant near at the Karachi.[54] In 1965, with the efforts led by Salam, United States and Pakistan signed an agreement in which United States provided a small research reactor. Abdus Salam had a long dream to established a research institute in Pakistan, for which he had advocated on many different occasions. In 1965, Abdus Salam and Edward Durrell Stone signed a contract to led the establishment of research institute at Nilore, Islamabad.[55]

Space Programme

Abdus 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, Abdus Salam approach to President Field Marshal Ayub Khan to led the foundation of country's first executive agency to coordinate space reserach.[49] On 16 September of 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.[49] Salam immediately traveled to United States, where he successfully signed an 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.[56] 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, Abdus Salam visited at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and met with nuclear engineers Salim Mehmud and Tariq Mustafa.[57] Abdus Salam signed an another agreement with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in which NASA launched a programme to provide training to the Pakistan's scientists and engineers.[57] Both nuclear engineers returned to Pakistan in few months and were inducted in Suparco.[49]

Involvement in Nuclear Weapons Programme

See also: Project-706 § Organization

Abdus Salam knew the importance of nuclear technology in Pakistan. And, from the starting of the programme, Salam was a central figure in Pakistan's nuclear weapons program.[58] In 1965, Abdus Salam led the establishing the prominent nuclear research institute—Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology.[59] In 1965, the plutonium reactor Pakistan Atomic Research Reactor went critical under the leadership of Dr. Salam.[58] 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.[60] In 1971, Abdus Salam had traveled to United States and returned, with loaded history books on Manhattan Project, to Pakistan.[61] In 1972, Government of Pakistan learned about the India's nuclear weapon program, and Bhutto orchestrated to developed the programme. Former Prime minister, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, formed a group of academic scientists and engineers, initially headed by Abdus Salam.[62] In 1972, Salam, as Science advisor to the President, had arranged a secret meeting of nuclear scientists to meet Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in Multan, which came to known as the "Multan Meeting".[63][64] Few months after the meeting, Salam, along with Munir Ahmad Khan and Riazuddin, met with Bhutto in his residence where the scientists have had briefed Bhutto about the nuclear weapons program.[65] After the meeting, Salam and Munir Ahmad Khan were made the head of the nuclear weapons programme. Salam also had done the groundbreaking work of the "Theoretical Physics Group", which was initially headed by Salam until 1974.[66][67]

An office was sat up for Abdus Salam in Prime minister Secretariat by the order of Bhutto.[64] Salam immediately started to gravitate scientists around him where scientists began their research and started to report him directly.[64] In December 1972, two theoretical physicists working at the ICTP were asked by Salam to report to noted Pakistani nuclear engineer, Munir Ahmad Khan (late), then-PAEC chairman.[68] This marked the beginning of the “Theoretical Physics Group" or TPG. The TPG, in PAEC, was assigned to develop the theoretical designs of Pakistan's nuclear weapon devices.[69] The TPG team under the leadership of Riazuddin, who was also Salam's student, completed work on the theoretical design of the nuclear weapon device by 1977.[70] Abdus Salam had led the groundbreaking work in the development of the programme, with Munir Ahmad Khan. In 1974, Munir Ahmad Khan had called for a meeting to initiate the work on atomic bomb, which was attended by Abdus Salam.[65] The word "bomb" was never used, instead academic scientists preferred to use the scientific research rationale.[71] The Theoretical Physics Group began its research and directly reported to Abdus Salam.[72] On the advise of Abdus Salam, PAEC scientists formed many groups that took charge in calculations and development. On March 1974, Abdus Salam also established the Wah Group Scientist and the Directorate for Technical Development (DTD). These groups were charged with the material and triggering mechanism development of the weapon.[73] Abdus Salam remained associated with the nuclear weapons programme until 1974, when he left the country in protest.[74] Although, he had left the country, Abdus Salam did not hesitate to advise the the PAEC and TPG on important scientific matters, and kept his close association with TPG and PAEC.[75]

Advocacy for Science

In 1964, Salam founded International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, in the North-East of Italy, which he served its director until 1993.[76] In 1974, he founded International Nathiagali Summer College (INSC) to promote science in his country.[77] The INSC is an annual meeting of scientists from all over the world to come to Pakistan, and held discussions on different aspect in physics and science.[77] Even today, the INSC is holding the annual meeting, and Salam's pupil student Riazuddin is its director since its inception.[78]

In 1997, the scientists at ICPT commemorated Salam and renamed to 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.[23] 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.[79]

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.[80] Salam was a firm believer that "scientific thought is the common heritage of mankind," and that developing nations needed to help themselves and invest into 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.[81]

Although Salam had departure from Pakistan, Salam did not terminate his connection to Pakistan.[82] Abdus Salam continued inviting Pakistan's scientists to ICTP, and maintained a research programme for the Pakistani scientists.[83] Many prominent scientists, which includes, 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


Abdus Salam was a devout Muslim, and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,[84] who saw his religion as integral to his scientific work. The 1974 bill heavily effected Salam's life, Salam had grew up the beard, and became more closer to God (Allah) and the religion Islam. 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."[23]

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.[85]

In 1974, Pakistan Parliament passed a controversial bill declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims, he left Pakistan for London in protest. Even after his departure, Salam did not completely terminated his connection to Pakistan, and kept his close association with Theoretical Physics Group as well as academic scientists from Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).[80] Leaving Pakistan in protest was one of Salam's greatest regrets.[86] 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 Abdus Salam, and stayed with him until 1990.[87]


The defaced grave of Abdus Salam in Rabwah

Salam died peacefully on 21st November of 1996 at the age of 70 in Oxford, England, after a long illness.[88] 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"[89]. Under Ordinance XX, Ahmadis are considered non-Muslims[90].


File:Munir Ahmad Khan with Abdus Salam.jpg
Abdus Salam with his pupil student Riazuddin (right) and PAEC Chair Munir Ahmad Khan (Left).

Abdus 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 Abdus Salam as part of its "Scientists of Pakistan" series.[8] However, with Ordinance XX declaring Ahmadis non-Muslims, the government came under pressure and had it removed from circulation.[91]

Abdus 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, Lahore has said:

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".[92]

Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, former PAEC chairman and a life long friend of Salam who previously served as a former professor of nuclear physics at the Quaid-i-Azam University, recalls:

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

In August 1996, former chairmen of PAEC and lifelong friends, Munir Ahmad Khan and dr. Ishfaq Ahmad met with Salam in Oxford, United Kingdom. Munir Ahmad Khan (late), former PAEC chairman who headed the nuclear weapons and power program, 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.[92]"

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.[93] In 2011, a second movie is planned by pilgrimfilms which will lighten the personal life of Abdus Salam. The film is set to scheduale to be released in 2011.[94]


In 1997, scientists at ICTP renamed the institute as The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in the honour of Abdus Salam.[95] Salam's services have been recognized in Pakistan, as his students had openly speak 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.[96] 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.[97] In 2011, GCU's Salam Chair in Physics held a one day long conference that was attributed to Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam.[96] Salam's student. 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.[96]

In 1998, the Edward A. Bouchet-ICTP Institute was renamed as Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Institute.[98] In 2003, Government of Punjab created the institute of excellence for the Mathematical Sciences, Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences, in Salam's Alma mater — Government College University.[99]

In 2008, in an opinion, Daily Times called Abdus Salam as "one of the greatest scientist Pakistan has ever produced".[100] 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".[101]


In 1979, Abdus Salam was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Glashow and Weinber, 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.[102] 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.[102] The National Center for Physics (NCP) contains a Abdus Salam Museum dedicated to the life of Abdus Salam and his work as he discovered and formulated the Electroweak Theory.[5] Below is the list of awards that were conferred to Abdus Salam in his lifetime.

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.[103] In 1979, Riazuddin, Fayyazuddin and Asghar Qadir met with Abdus Salam, and presented the idea of to setting an award to appreciate the scientists, resident in Pakistan, in their respective fields.[103] Abdus Salam had donated the money he had won as he felt that he had no rightly use of the prize money.[87] It was endowed by Asghar Qadir, Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin in 1983, and it was first awarded in 1984. The winners are selected by by a committee (consisted of Aghar Qadir, Fayyazuddin, Riazuddin, and others) of the Center for Advanced Mathematics and Physics (CAMP), which administers the award.[87]

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.[104]


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

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. ^ 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: 386–401. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1998.0025. Retrieved 2008-01-05. ((cite journal)): Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. ^ a b c d "1979 Nobel Prize in Physics". Nobel Prize.
  5. ^ a b c d e Riazuddin (1998-11-21). "Physics in Pakistan". ICTP. Retrieved 2011. ((cite web)): Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 75–76)
  7. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 10–101)
  8. ^ a b Philately (1998-11-21). "Scientists of Pakistan". Pakistan Post Office Department. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
  9. ^ Abdus Salam, As I Know him: Riazuddin, NCP
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