Reaching for the stars: 'Muslim countries must step up scientific research'

Published: October 9, 2013
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Dr Attaur Rehman stresses for greater investment in science education. PHOTO: FILE

Dr Attaur Rehman stresses for greater investment in science education. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Former federal minister and renowned scientist Dr Attaur Rehman has said that the Muslim world is spending a relatively small share of its resources on development in science and technology as compared to other countries.

Even India and Israel spare larger proportions of their GDP for study and research in science, he pointed out, adding that there was improvement in the funding, albeit, only at a negligible rate. Rehman was speaking at the inaugural session of the Second National Conference on Space Science organised by the Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics (Ispa), University of Karachi.

According to Rehman, Muslim countries had increased the spending on science and research from 0.2 per cent to 0.8 per cent of the GDP in recent years. “Though the current spending is still very low, it is a promising sign for the future,” said Dr Rehman.

Rehman revealed that some Muslim countries were more active in scientific research. According to statistics, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan were doing much better than their counterparts in this regard. He lamented, however, that Muslim countries, despite having a lot of talent, were not investing much in the field of science.

The inaugural session was followed by technical sessions in which renowned academics and scholars presented their papers. Ispa director Prof. Dr Muhammad Jawed Iqbal told The Express Tribune that this was the biggest event related to space science in the country and was held every two years.

Prof. Dr Intikhab Ulfat of the Department of Physics, University of Karachi, said that the conference provided a platform to the academia and students to exchange their views.

Prof. Dr Jawaid Qamar, who laid the foundation of Ipsa in 1994, was of the opinion that economic prosperity in the Muslim world and other developing countries was only possible through science education with space science being given its due importance. He said that space science had applications in multiple fields, such as surveillance, communication and disaster management.

Prof. Dr Zakaullah Khan of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology said that the conference had attracted space science enthusiasts from across the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • raj
    Oct 9, 2013 - 12:41AM

    it requires brains and skills not just money… muslim countries marry off cousins that reduces brain…… and pak has no brains and money … R&D is non existent in pak….too bad….but pak has good knowledge abt bomb making :D

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  • darbullah
    Oct 9, 2013 - 1:23AM

    Science is based on fact and fact matters little in some cultures. So this plan will fail even before it can start. If a man from this culture had traveled to moon, he would have been arrested on blasphemy charges.

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  • csmann
    Oct 9, 2013 - 2:39AM

    Our “big-bang theory” consists in “suicide bombs”.

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  • Ahmed
    Oct 9, 2013 - 2:41AM

    Well we have just one Nobel Prize winner amongst Muslims i.e. Ahmed Zawail. I think that speaks for itself.

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  • Mdified
    Oct 9, 2013 - 3:22AM

    Does Pakistan treat her scientists with respect ? Answer is a bog no. This is why there is no scientific zeal among Pakistanis. Have a look at this link which was published about a year back, talks of Dr Salam’s contribution towards Higgs Boson particle for which Nobel prize has been awarded this year;

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jul/08/higgs-boson-pakistan-scientist

    How many Pakistanis know that word “Boson” stands for Bose, another scientists from sub-continent. Problem is that Mullahs have hijacked everything in Muslim world. India was investing in science right from early 50s when there was hardly any money available.

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  • Bacchus Piggawala
    Oct 9, 2013 - 6:11AM

    @Ahmed:
    Wrong. We had another one, Dr. Abdus Salam, but we declared him Non Muslim. He kept asking to be recognized as a Pakistani hero, and we kept shunning him.

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  • Oct 9, 2013 - 6:37AM

    But isn’t it blasphemy to encourage thinking and reasoning in Pakistan? Would the pious ones allow such bidah as science?

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  • Randomstranger
    Oct 9, 2013 - 6:40AM

    @raj

    Your grammar gave me cancer. Apparently, the superior Indian education system forgot to give you basic grammar lessons.

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  • Truth_Prevails
    Oct 9, 2013 - 9:00AM

    @raj: What a ‘brainy’ comment. Keep it up Mr. Einstein. We definitely need people like you in India.

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  • GIndian
    Oct 9, 2013 - 9:04AM

    Raj,

    I know what your motive is. I have a counter argument. Cousin marriage used to be common and it still is in many parts of South India. South Indians produced few Nobel prize winners in science, a world chess champion, rocket scientists, nuclear Physicists, brilliant technologists, mathematicians etc. Pakistan,a country capable of producing nuclear weapons, is not intellectually deficient. They are in the present shape due to their priorities and policies.
    Scientific awarenes can definitely transform a society.

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  • Dayalan
    Oct 9, 2013 - 10:10AM

    @csmann:
    In fact the portable “Big-Bang Theory” is subject to the most scientific scrutiny in Pakistan. I am sure Dr.Rehman is aware of it.

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  • Human
    Nov 10, 2013 - 4:15AM

    To set the record straight, many of the Indian nobelists, mathematicians, world chess champion that @GIndian talks about come from a miniscule ethnic group of Tamil Brahmins (Iyers and Iyengars).

    The science nobelists Raman, Chandrasekhar, and Venkataraman, and chess champion Anand are all Iyers. And, perhaps the greatest mathematician of the past century, Ramanujan, is an Iyengar.

    The point is a very small forward-thinking educated population is all it takes to produce these superstars. And really having these superstars says nothing about the vast majority of other Indians who really don’t have much more world-class achievements than the Pakistanis or other muslim countries. Recommend

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