Life Sketch of Nobel Prize Winner, Pakistani Scientist Dr. Salam

The young Pakistani scientist Abdus Salam solved the Meson theory equations and make them easy to understand for his PhD thesis in just 3 months, but due to the rules at Cambridge University, he had to wait a full three years for his PhD.

Life Sketch of Nobel Prize Winner, Pakistani Scientist Dr. Salam

Professor Dr. Abdus Salam is the only Pakistani scientist to have won the Nobel Prize. He was born in Jhang on January 29, 1926, and went to high school in the same city. In his matriculation examination, he secured the first position in undivided Punjab. He received first place in his MA in Mathematics from the Government College in Lahore.

Dr. Abdus Salam’s good fortune was that in the same year he was given a scholarship by the British government, and he went to the UK for further higher education. There he enrolled in St. John’s College, Cambridge, where at that time the “Try Pass” (BA Hons) was completed in three years. But Abdus Salam completed the course in just two years with a first-class grade and also got the rank of “Wrangler” under the Cambridge system. In 1949, he entered Cambridge University to pursue his Ph.D.

It should be noted that it was the early period of quantum mechanics when efforts were underway to solve advanced problems of particle physics and understand the nature of matter and energy using advanced and complex mathematical techniques. But the problem was that while solving many equations of quantum mechanics, some strange figures (indeterminate quantities) were found that were very difficult to eliminate and make the results understandable. The same problem was with the equations of “Meson’s theory.”

The young Pakistani scientist Abdus Salam chose the same topic for his PhD and set out to solve the Meson theory equations and make them easy to understand. He solved this problem in just 3 months using a technique called “renormalization”, but due to the rules at Cambridge University, he had to wait a full three years for his PhD; And finally in 1952 he got his Ph.D.

In 1951, he received a fellowship at the newly established Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, USA, where the world’s greatest scientists, including Albert Einstein, came to give lectures.

After completing his PhD, Dr. Abdus Salam returned to Pakistan and joined the Department of Mathematics at Government College, Lahore, first as a professor and later as the head of the department. But he did not like the environment here, and after a series of unpleasant incidents, he resigned from this job in 1954.

Now he has once again moved to Cambridge and got a job as a lecturer there. At Cambridge, Dr. Abdus Salam enjoyed the company of Paul Dirac, Max Born, Wolfgang Pauli, and other great physicists like them, who guided him a lot in his later life. In 1957, Dr. Abdus Salam introduced the course of theoretical physics for the first time at Imperial College, London, and was included among the teachers teaching this course until 1993.

Dr. Abdus Salam was only 33 years old when he was selected as a fellow of the world-famous and prestigious scientific organization “The Royal Society,” and thus he became the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society. It should be noted that the age of scientists passes before they get this honor, and very few scientists in the world get the fellowship of the Royal Society.

In 1961, President Ayub Khan named Dr. Abdus Salam Special Adviser on Science. He was also one of the experts who set up “SUPARCO,” or the “Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission,” which is Pakistan’s most important place for space science research.

Optical physics (theoretical physics) was Dr. Abdus Salam’s passion, and in 1960, during an international meeting, he expressed his wish that there should be a center where young students of optical physics, especially from the Third World, could meet with old and practicing scientists. The Pakistani bureaucracy rejected this proposal as “a wish for a five-star hotel for scientists,” but Italy accepted the hosting of the center, and in 1964, the “International Center for Theoretical Physics” (ICTP) was established in Trieste. After the passing of Dr. Abdus Salam, this center was named after him.

In 1968, Pakistani scientist Dr. Abdus Salam and Americans Sheldon Lee Glashow and Steven Weinberg worked on the unification of fundamental forces and presented a new concept called “Electroweak Unification,” under which not only the electromagnetic force (electromagnetic force) and the weak nuclear force (weak nuclear force) but also two new fundamental particles, the omega boson and the Z boson, were predicted.

It was this scientific achievement that led to the Nobel Prize in Physics being jointly awarded to Glashow, Weinberg, and Abdus Salam in 1979. Thus, Dr. Abdul Salam became the first and, so far, only Pakistani scientist to win the Nobel Prize in Science. Later, the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics was given to Simon van der Meer and Carlo Rubia of the European Center for Particle Physics (CERN) for finding the omega and z boson particles.

In the last years of his life, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, due to which he moved to Oxford, United Kingdom, in 1994 and died there on November 21, 1996.