10th death anniversary of Prof Abdus Salam – Pakistani Nobel laureate

This is no ordinary day. It is the 10th death anniversary of Prof. Abdus Salam, the only Nobel laureate of Pakistani citizenship. Prof. Salam received the Nobel prize in 1979 for his “contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including inter alla the prediction of the weak neutral current”. Prof. Salam was more than just a towering figure in Science. His life, his history from humble beginnings, and his love and passion for his country and faith, provide guiding principles to scientists like myself acros the globe. He is more than just an ideal, he is someody we need to enshrine, somebody we can use to cast a light of ponderence on ourselves as a society and learn all that we have done wrong.

I have written about Salam before, and Adil has just posted a terrific piece on pakistaniat.com on Salam’s 10th death anniversary. Below, I reproduce the speech that Salam gave at the banquet in honor of his Nobel Prize. His Nobel lecture can be seen here. It is said that when Salam went to India to meet his old high school Mathematics teacher, who was still alive at that time, he took off his Nobel prize and put it aroundhis teacher. The thought of that humility, that respect, and that realization of the real success in this world and hereafter, brings tears to my eyes. I wish I had met him, just to know I had seen into those eyes and known for sure that a better Pakistan can exist as long as better pakistanis exist.

Banquet Speech

Abdus Salam’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1979

Your Majesties, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of my colleagues, Professor Glashow and Weinberg, I thank the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Academy of Sciences for the great honour and the courtesies extended to us, including the courtesy to me of being addressed in my language Urdu.

Pakistan is deeply indebted to you for this.

The creation of Physics is the shared heritage of all mankind. East and West, North and South have equally participated in it. In the Holy Book of Islam, Allah says

“Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.”

This in effect is, the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze.

I am saying this, not only to remind those here tonight of this, but also for those in the Third World, who feel they have lost out in the pursuit of scientific knowledge, for lack of opportunity and resource.

Alfred Nobel stipulated that no distinction of race or colour will determine who received of his generosity. On this occasion, let me say this to those, whom God has given His Bounty. Let us strive to provide equal opportunities to all so that they can engage in the creation of Physics and science for the benefit of all mankind. This would exactly be in the spirit of Alfred Nobel and the ideals which permeated his life. Bless You!

From Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1979, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1980

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1979

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8 Responses to 10th death anniversary of Prof Abdus Salam – Pakistani Nobel laureate

  1. zamanov says:

    Hi Bilal,

    I had looked at the same speech Dr Salam made at the Nobel banquet and was struck by his patriotism and humility in accepting the award. The great man actually thanked the committee on behalf of Pakistan, the same country that was almost ashamed of him! I think we owe it to his name and his family to tell our current generation about the achievements of this giant of science not for bragging rights but as a motivation to study science and technology use it to better Pakistan.
    His papers should be required reading for all science courses starting in high school. The curriculum at all science and engineering university/college should have mandatory courses on the various aspects of his research.
    At the least we should start with our own family and make sure all the kids know who he was, what he did and what he meant for our country.

    Thanks for posting this…I hope to keep coming back here.

  2. Alex Montwill says:

    Dear Mr Zamanov. With a colleague at University College Dublin I am writing a Physics textbook entitled ‘Let there be Light’. I notice a very nice colour photo of Abdus Salam speking at Nobel Banquet. If you have the copyright for that picture, I should like to ask you for permission to use it with proper acknowledgement, Alex Montwill Emeritus Prof, of Physics UCD

  3. Formerly Yahya says:

    Dear Alex

    Copyrights of the noble banquet pictures are handled by media agencies contracted by noble foundation. Probably best to contact novel foundation for contact details of the relevant agency.

    Regards

  4. Meesna02 says:

    Salam + 50
    A series of public talks marking the 50th anniversary of the arrival at Imperial College London of the late Nobel Laureate Professor Abdus Salam

    URL: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/physics/conferences/salam50/

    Speakers

    Sir Richard Sykes, Rector
    Imperial College

    Professor Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel Laureate
    University of Utrecht

    Dr Mahleeha Lodhi
    Pakistani High Commissioner, UK

    Professor Faheem Hussain
    Lahore University of Management Sciences,
    formerly Head of Office of External Activities, Abdus Salam ICTP, Trieste

    Professor Tom Kibble, FRS
    Imperial College

    Dr Gordon Fraser
    Salam Biographer

  5. Sohaib Ahmad says:

    Assalamoaleikum w. w. !

    Beeing an ahmadi iam very proud that the first muslim nobel laureate Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam showed how science and religon can go hand in hand. His love for pakistan and the ahmadiyya coumminity shows that how devoted his life to Pakistan and Ahmadiyyat was.

    In his last message on March 1996 he says: “If i leave you with a final request than it its that we now build a better pakistan”. He also says: “Dont doubt your abiliites to produce the best in the world, but remember that the best will not come out without hard work and total dedication”

    Now it is up to us. We as Ahmadis have to show that we are the true successors of Abdus Salam. We can never forget what Pakistan has done with his greatest scientist, perhaps the greatest in the islamic world in the 20th century.
    God bless you!

  6. S A Satti says:

    Prof Salam was, no doubt a great Muslim Scientist. Please don’t stick the word ”Ahmadya” with him. A scientist is always for the whole humanity not only for a particular sect or a caste. I don;t mean there is anything wrong with the Ahmadyas but just saying keeping in view the vast vision of the great Prof.
    The world admires his dedications and devotions towards Science and particularly in Physics.
    He worked for the humanity in this world and will definitly be rewarded in the HEAVEN
    May Allah rest his soul in peace.

  7. S A Satti says:

    Prof Salam was, no doubt a great Muslim Scientist. Please don’t stick the word ”Ahmadya” with him. A scientist is always for the whole humanity not only for a particular sect or a caste. I don;t mean there is anything wrong with the Ahmadyas but just saying keeping in view the vast vision of the great Prof.
    The world admires his dedications and devotions towards Science and particularly in Physics.
    He worked for the humanity in this world and will definitly be rewarded in the HEAVEN
    May his soul rest in peace.

  8. Ahmee says:

    I Hail from the same Place Jhang, I follow the same sect Ahmediyyat, being a family friend i had always been close. while thinking why this GIANT amongst men was so special, I can put piles of words here but let me say this speech of his say’s it all. His love for GOD,Humanity, His Country, Science made him the greatest amongst the great yet we Pakistanis betrayed him all the way through.

    We have not given him due respect and honor when he was living and we did the same after his death by subduing his achievements, by hiding his success by forgetting his ideas.

    History has his own ways and greatness needs no attestations from others. It speaks for itself and defying truth will only bring inevitable destruction and wrath.

    Its our duty to give him due respect honor his ideas and follow his dedication and strive for working hard to achieve greatness.

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