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The galaxy of Pakistani scientists

During the last 60 years the Land of the Pure has not turned out the way it was expected by its founders. Evils like poverty, corruption, dishonesty and racism have caused grave harm to the country. Fortunately, we can still boast of having produced great scientists, sportsmen and artists who have spectacularly raised their country’s flag in their respective fields. Let Us go through the galaxy of the great Pakistani scientists who have made Us all proud.
Eminent scientists in the field of Physics
Dr Abd-us-Salam
Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Science, Dr Abd-us-Salam was born on January 29, 1926 in District Jhang. It was his work in Electro-Weak Theory which brought him the coveted Noble Prize in 1979. The accuracy of his theory was determined through experiments carried out at the Super Proton Synchrotron facility at CERN in Geneva. Dr Salam served as Advisor to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and was also honoured with Smith Award from Cambridge University. As the acknowledgement of his legendary services, the Government of Pakistan issued a stamp with Dr Salam’s picture in 1998. He passed away at the age of 70.
The Great A.Q. Khan
AQ Khan is undoubtedly one person whom the entire nation is extremely proud of. He was born on April 11, 1936 in Bhopal. After partition Khan’s Family migrated to Pakistan in 1952. Dr Khan secured B.Sc. (with Physical Metallurgy as major), in 1960 from the University of Karachi and obtained engineering degree from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands in 1967. In 1972 he secured PhD in Metallurgical Engineering from Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.
The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) launched its programme on atomic energy in 1974. It was named Project-706. Dr AQ Khan joined the project in 1976. It was the outcome of his devoted work that Pakistan was able to successfully conduct its nuclear tests on May 28, 1998.
Dr Samar Mubarakmand
Credited with Sitar-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imitaz, Dr Samar Mubarakmand is one of the legendary scientists who worked day in and day out to make Pakistan one of the nuclear states of the world. Dr Mubarakmand, after receiving MS degree in Physics from Government College University, Lahore, in 1962, attained Ph.D in Experimental Nuclear Physics from the University of Oxford, England, in 1966. He has expertise in nuclear instrumentation, nuclear diagnostics, application of lasers, and fibre optics technology. He is one of the closest companions of Dr AQ Khan whose uphill struggles marked a new chapter in Pakistan’s history on May 28, 1998. Dr Samar vitally contributed in Pakistan’s missile series of Babar, Ghaznavi and Shaeen as well.
Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood
The inventor of SBM probe (instrument to check heavy water leaks in nuclear power plants which is still used world wide) and one of the key engineers of Pakistan nuclear programme, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood closely worked with Dr AQ Khan. He was the first Project Director of the Pakistan Nuclear Bomb Programme at Kahuta Research Labs.
Mahmood got his Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from Manchester. He has written over 15 books. He was awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz for his work.
Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy
UNESCO Award, Baker Award for Electronics (1968), Dr Abdul Salam Award (1984), Fulbright Award, and Faiz Ahmad Faiz Award is the introduction of Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy. Ph.D in nuclear Physics, Dr Pervez has been a faculty member of the Department of Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, since 1973. He has produced different documentaries on science and on critical educational issues. He has authored four books on science and religion. More than 20 US campuses including MIT, Princeton, University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University engaged him as speaker. Being an analyst, Dr Pervez has appeared on several TV and radio networks including BBC, CNN, NBS and Fox.
Azhar Iqbal
Azhar Iqbal is prominent for his work on Quantum Game Theory and for his efforts in evolutionary stability in quantum games. He won an ARC (Australian Research Council) Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2007 to carry out advance research on Quantum Game Theory at the University of Adelaide, Australia.
Ishfaq Ahmad
The recipient of the three highest official awards, Sitaral-e-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Imtiaz and the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Ashfaq Ahmad is the former chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. After completing M.Sc. (Physics) from University of the Punjab in 1951, Ahmad secured D.Sc. (Physics) from Canada.
Dr Ahmad remained Director at Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology Islamabad during 1971-1976. He also served Atomic Energy Center (AEC), Lahore as director during 1969-1971, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) as secretary during 1967-1969, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) as senior scientific officer during 1960-66 and GCU Lahore as lecturer during 1952-60.
Dr Raziuddin Siddiqui
Raziuddin Siddiqui is one of those providential students who have studied under the supervision of renowned physicist and Nobel Laureate Werner Karl Heisenberg. Siddiqui, after attaining his BA degree with distinction, was awarded a scholarship by the Government to pursue higher studies in England. In 1930, he did PhD from University of Berlin, Germany, where he was fortunate enough to be taught by Nobel Laureate W. K. Heisenberg. In those days the great scientist of the era, Albert Einstein, was also teaching at the same university.
Dr Raziuddin was the first Vice-Chancellor of Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. He was the first full-time Member of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and was responsible for the preparation of its charter. Dr Raziuddin Sidqui was awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Imtiaz.
Eminent scientists in the field of Chemistry
Professor Dr Atta ur Rehman
Ex-chairman of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and Director of H.E.J. (Hussain Ebrahim Jamal) Research Institute of Chemistry at University of Karachi, Dr Atta ur Rehman is another glittering star in the galaxy of Pakistani Scientists. After doing A’ levels in 1960, Dr Atta did B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry followed by M.Sc in Organic Chemistry from University of Karachi. For Ph.D in Organic Chemistry this gem of Pakistan won the Commonwealth Scholarship in 1965 and also did Ph.D from King’s College, Cambridge in 1968. Afterward, he was awarded Doctorate of Science by University of Cambridge in 1987 and Doctorate of Education by Coventry University, UK in 2007.
Dr Atta was the first Muslim scientist to receive the UNESCO Science Prize (1999). He has also been editor–in–chief of numerous international journals and editor of an encyclopedic series of books on natural product chemistry, being published since 1990. He remained Fellow at Kings College, Cambridge during 1969 to 1973. As an acknowledgment of his prestigious services in Organic Chemistry, Dr Attar ur Rehman was conferred Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in 2002, 1998, 1991 and 1983 respectively. Besides, he also has been bestowed Prime Minister’s Gold Medal and Pakistan Academy of Sciences-INFAQ Foundation Prize in Science in 1995.
Prof Dr Salim-uz-Zaman Siddiqui
The leading Pakistani scientist in natural products chemistry, Dr Salim was born in October 19, 1897. He is credited for pioneering the isolation of unique chemical compounds from the Neem (Azadirachta indica), Rauwolfia, and various other floras. The founder of H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, Dr Salim revolutionised the research on pharmacology of various South Asian domestic plants.
Siddiqui was also an elegant painter, poet, and a great connoisseur of music. His paintings were exhibited in Germany, India, and Pakistan. On account of his outstanding works he was honoured with Hilal-e-Imtiaz (1980), President of Pakistan’s Pride of Performance Medal (1966), Sitara-e-Imtiaz (1962), Gold Medal of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Tamgha-e-Pakistan (1958), D. Med. Honoris Causa from Frankfurt University (1958) and Foundation Fellow, Pakistan Academy of Sciences (1953).
Eminent scientist in the field of Computer Engineering
Dr Adnan Zaidi
Dual Ph.D from New York, Dr Zaidi was born in 1973. After receiving post-doctorate training and post-doctoral Award from Harvard University he is currently serving as a research scientist at an American University in Washington DC. Being a project director and associate for research and development at IBM, Microsoft, Boeing and Siemens, he has conducted various projects at these organisations. Dr Adnan has done extraordinarily well in cryptology (coding-decoding techniques), nanophotonics, power systems and power electronics research. He is the author of 34 papers and 19 articles. Owing to his tremendous achievements, this great scientist is renowned in the community of learned scholars and scientists in the United States, Europe and South Asia.
Eminent scientist in the field of Zoology
Dr Ahmed Mohiuddin
An eminent scientist, scholar and researcher of Pakistan, Dr Ahmed Mohiuddin was born on January 8, 1923 in Hyderabad Deccan (India). Having done M.Sc. in Biology from Osmania University and Ph.D in Zoology from University of London, Dr Ahmed migrated to Pakistan in November 1948. Few years after his arrival in Pakistan, he was appointed Chairman of the Zoology Department at Sindh University, Jamshoro. He also rendered his services at Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal Open University as Vice Chancellor. From 1986 to 1988 he served at East West University, Chicago as well.
He authored 37 books on science and research, and was the originator of the Pakistan Zoological Society. He was also awarded Fellowship from Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Royal Society of Tropical Medicine. He died on January 4, 1998 in Atlanta, USA.Eminent scientist in the field of Social Sciences
Saleem H. Ali
Pakistani American scholar Saleem H. Ali is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, where he has also served as Associate Dean for Graduate Education (2006-2008). For the academic year of 2008-09, Dr Ali is on sabbatical working on a sole-authored book pertaining to mineral resources and the environment. Dr Ali also teaches a course on Indigenous Environment and Development Conflicts at the United Nations University for Peace. Besides, he has been conducting peer reviews of research publications for the giant institutes like World Bank, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and several other scholarly journals.
Eminent scientist in the field of Engineering
Asad Ali Abidi
UCLA (University of California, Los Angles) HSSEAS Lockheed Martin Award, IEEE Donald O. Pederson Award, IEEE Third Millennium Medal, Contest Award at the Design Automation Conference, ISSCC Jack Raper Outstanding Technology Directions Paper Award, IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Award, Best Paper Award of the 21st European Solid State Circuits Conference and TRW Award for Innovative Teaching is the foreword for Asad Ali Abidi. Abidi is a Pakistani electrical engineer and scientist and dean of LUMS’ School of Science and Engineering. He received his B.Sc. degree from the Imperial College, London, U.K., in 1976, and M.S. and Ph.D degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1978 and 1981 respectively. He is an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, USA) Fellow and a member of the United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE).
All these achievements of our heroes revitalise our energies. In fact, in the present scenario when our country is going through a tumultuous period where we have rarely anything to be proud of, knowing about the accomplishments of these scientists give us hope. Their achievements encourage our young scientists to follow in the footsteps of the legends. As Allama Iqbal rightly says: “Zara num ho tou ya matee bohat zarqez hai saqee”
(Friday, 10 July 2009. Us Magazine, The News)

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