Abdus Salam and his International Influences

Resources with Additional Information

Abdus Salam was born in Jhang, a small town in Pakistan in 1926. At the age of 14 he gained the highest marks ever for the Matriculation Examination at the University of Punjab which earned him a scholarship to the Government College there. In 1946 he won another scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge where he distinguished himself with a double First in mathematics and physics in 1949 as well as the Smith’s Prize for the most outstanding pre-doctoral contribution to physics in 1950. By the time he received his doctorate in Theoretical Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory in 1951, his work in the field of quantum electrodynamics was already internationally acknowledged. …

[Salam] took up a chair at Imperial College in 1957 where he set up the Theoretical Physics Group with Paul Matthews. They were joined by Steven Weinberg, … [and others], and together they formed one of the most important and prestigious research groups. In 1959 at the young age of 33, Salam was elected a member of the Royal Society. His fellowship at Princeton University that year, led to a link with J. Robert Oppenheimer and discussions on neutrinos and electrodynamics.

His scientific output in the field of theoretical elementary particle physics was prodigious and he had either been the originator or collaborator of important discoveries in this field. Salam’s most noteworthy achievements include the magnetic photon, vector meson, the Pati-Salam model as well as the Grand Unified Theory and supersymmetry. In 1979 he won the biggest prize in physics, the Nobel Prize, for his work on electroweak theory. This was shared with Steven Weinberg and Sheldon Glashow. The Nobel Prize Foundation honoured them with this statement “ For their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current”.

The International Centre for Theoretical Physics, (ICTP), was created by Salam in 1964 with the goals of training scientists from developing countries as well as the pursuit of cutting edge research. When he was presented with the Atoms for Peace Medal and Award, the prize money was used to finance visits to the ICTP by young Pakistani physicists.  His generosity and zeal for scientific research and education also led him to use his share of the Nobel Prize towards these aims. The ICTP, now known as ‘The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics’ in Trieste is a major force in establishing scientific and technological education as well as research in the developing world via its alumni. It is ‘An institute run by scientists for scientists’.

He also founded the Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Institute in 1988. Edward Bouchet was the first African American to earn a PhD, ( physics ), at Yale in 1876. The objective of the Institute is to foster scientific and technical collaborations between African and American physical  scientists, engineers and technologists and to enhance sustainable development in African countries.

1Edited excerpts from Abdus Salam KBE FRS 1959

Top

Resources with Additional Information

Additional information about Abdus Salam and his research is available in full-text documents and on the Web.

Documents:

Top

Additional Web Pages:

Top


Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.