Every child in developing countries should be told the story of the life of Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam, speakers at a seminar held at the Government College University (GCU) on Wednesday said.
“It is a story of a boy from a village near Jhang who became a big name in physics,” they said.
The seminar was organised by the university’s Jones Physics Society, Salam Chair and the Pakistan Physical Society to pay tribute to the country’s only Nobel laureate in physics for his contribution to Unified Field Theory.
In his keynote address, GCU’s Professor Ghulam Murtaza said the story should be told to inspire young people and encourage them to pursue studies in natural sciences.
He said that the Nobel award was not Salam’s only achievement.
“At the age of 33, he became a fellow of the Royal Society London. He was the first Pakistani to achieve that distinction. At the age of 38, he was appointed director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. He set up the centre amidst great resistance. He encouraged scientists from developing countries and helped them conduct research in physics and mathematics. The centre represents his dedication.”
Murtaza said Salam had received the Atoms for Peace Medal and Award for his efforts for promotion of international collaboration between scientists.
“He was a member of more than 30 academic societies around the world and was awarded DSc Honoris Causa by more than 40 universities. There is a long list of his achievements, honours and awards,” Murtaza said.
Murtaza, a student of Salam’s at Imperial College London, also spoke about his humble ways and strong character.
GCU Vice Chancellor Hassan Amir Shah said, “It is remarkable how the Italians have honoured Salam. The International Centre for Theoretical Physics has preserved his papers, awards, souvenirs and his personal book collection. They even have his chair and hookah in a room called Salam Room at the library of the centre.”
He said it was a matter of pride for the GCU that Salam had studied and taught at the varsity. Faisal Akram from the Centre for High Energy Physics spoke on Salam’s work and its implications in contemporary studies.
“Salam believed that science was as important for the development of a country as an army for its defence.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2016.