JUBAIL, SAUDI ARABIA: Some Indians have raised a valid concern over ignorance and negligence on the part of the Indian government and media when it comes to honouring national heroes such as Indian physicist, Satyendra Nath Bose, for his work with Albert Einstein in the 1920s. However, their brethren across the border are no different. How many people in today’s Pakistan are aware that it was a Pakistani physicist, Dr Abdus Salam, who was at the forefront of theorising the Higgs Boson particle in the 1960s and 1970s, which is known as the final piece in the standard model of particle physics — a theoretical model that explains the fundamental particles and forces that control our universe. Dr Salam, the only Pakistani to ever receive the Nobel Prize, pioneered a number of projects in his homeland, which over the years have proved their immense worth. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Sciences and Technology and the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission are part of his legacy. He founded the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, which in 1979, was renamed after him. A lot of work on the Higgs Boson particle was carried out at this centre.
A road is named after Dr Salam in CERN, Geneva where the Higgs Boson particle was eventually discovered. This shows the respect for him in the scientific community. It is sad that we have forgotten our real heroes and it seems that for parts of our population, people like OBL, Mullah Omar and Baitullah Mehsud are now heroes. American president, Calvin Coolidge, once said: “A nation that forgets its heroes will itself soon be forgotten.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012.