Islamabad - The National Centre for Physics (NCP) yesterday organised a memorial meeting titled “Celebrations of 90th Birthday of Dr Abdus Salam-The Nobel Laureate” here at the COMSTECH Auditorium in collaboration with COMSTECH and Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS). The eminent scientists, physicists and research students attended the meeting to pay tribute to the great scientist.

Welcome Address was delivered by Dr Shaukat Hameed Khan, Coordinator General COMSTECH followed by presentations by Dr M. Aslam Baig, NCP Distinguished Scientist, Dr N.M. Butt, Chairman, PINSAT, Dr Fayyazuddin, NCP Distinguished Scientist, Muhammad Naeem, Chairman PAEC and Dr Ishfaq Ahmad, Chairman BoG, NCP and Vote of Thanks by Dr Anwar Nasim, President PAS.

Prof. Dr Abdus Salam (29 January, 1926 to 21 November, 1996) was the first Pakistani to receive the Nobel Prize (Physics) in 1979 in recognition of his work on electroweak unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces. He still remains the first and the only Pakistani scientist to win this highest prize in Science. The Physics Community of the World organized scientific meetings and conferences to highlight the scientific contributions of Prof Abdus Salam on his 90th Birthday.

Dr Abdus Salam was born in Jhang, Pakistan. He was educated at University of the Punjab, Lahore, St. John’s College, Cambridge and Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1952. He then returned to Pakistan where he served as Professor at Government College, Lahore, and University of the Punjab. In 1957, he returned to England and joined the Imperial College as Full Professor of Theoretical Physics at the age of 30 only.

Salam’s scientific contributions mainly encompass the area of particle physics. Looking for unity and symmetry in Nature has been the guiding force throughout his scientific endeavors. His most important work was in unifying two fundamental forces – the so called the weak nuclear force of very short range and the familiar electromagnetic force of infinite range – for which he shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Glashow and Weinberg. He was a remarkable scientist whose other achievements include being an influential academician at institutes like Imperial College London and awards like Royal Medal, Hopkins Prize, Maxwell Prize and Einstein award by UNESCO.

Although, Dr Salam was a theoretical physicist and master in his field but he also served on a number of United Nations Committees concerning science and technology for the developing countries. He was the founding Director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy where he kept a special place for the students from the developing countries with limited resources. The establishment of International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy is an immaculate example of his efforts in the development of science. Therefore, in 1997, the scientists at ICTP renamed the Centre as “The Abdus Salam - International Centre for Theoretical Physics (AS-ICTP)” in commemoration of his valuable services to the world science community.

Dr. Salam always worked for the promotion of high caliber scientific research in Pakistan. He served as a top level Science Advisor to the Government of Pakistan from 1960 to 1974, a position from which he played a major and influential role in the development of science infrastructure in Pakistan.

As Science Advisor, he played a key role in development of the peaceful use of nuclear energy in this country. He was the founding Director of the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and responsible for the establishment of the Theoretical Physics work in the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).

Throughout his life, Dr Abdus Salam advocated for development of Science in the third world countries. It was Prof. Salam who gave the idea to collaborate with CERN. His dreams have come true as with the efforts of many top ranking scientists in Pakistan, the country has finally become an Associate Member of CERN in 2015. The establishment of National Centre for Physics (NCP) in Pakistan is based on the inspiration from Prof. Salam’s ideas.

In recognition of his valuable contributions in science, the Government of Pakistan conferred upon him the highest Civil Award of “Nishan-i-Imtiaz”. Dr Salam died in 1996 at the age of 70 in Oxford, England. Shining in the history of Pakistan, Dr. Salam will always remain a source of superlative pride and remembered as our national hero in science.