Mohammad Abdus Salam, was a theoretical physicist who, received the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to electroweak unification, became the first and the only Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize and the first Muslim to win a Nobel Prize in science.
Born in Santokdas in Sahiwal District and raised in Jhang Salam was a science advisor to the Government of Pakistan from 1960 to 1974, a position from which he played a major and influential role in Pakistan’s science infrastructure.
Salam was responsible for not only major development and contribution in theoretical and particle physics, but as well as promoting scientific research at maximum level in his Pakistan.
Salam was the founding director of Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), and responsible for the establishment of the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) in Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).
As Science Advisor, Salam played an integral role in Pakistan’s development of peaceful use of nuclear energy, and directed the research on development of atomic bomb project of Pakistan in 1972; for this, he is viewed as the “scientific father”of this program in the views of the scientists who researched under his scientific umbrella.
Salam’s major and notable achievements include the Pati–Salam model, magnetic photon, vector meson, Grand Unified Theory, work on super symmetry and, most importantly, electroweak theory, for which he was awarded the most prestigious award in Physics – the Nobel Prize.
Even until his death, Salam continued to contribute to physics and tirelessly advocated for the development of science in Third-World countries.
Salam’s primary focus was research on the physics of elementary particles. His particular contributions included:
· Two-component neutrino theory and the prediction of the inevitable parity violation in weak interaction.
· Gauge unification of weak and electromagnetic interactions, the unified force is called the “Electroweak” force, a name given to it by Salam, and which forms the basis of the Standard Model in particle physics.
· Predicted existence of weak neutral currents and W particles and Z particles before their experimental discovery.
· Symmetry properties of elementary particles; unitary symmetry.
· Renormalization of meson theories.
· Gravity theory and its role in particle physics; two tensor theory of gravity and strong interaction physics.
· Unification of electroweak with strong nuclear forces, grand unification theory.
· Related prediction of proton-decay.
· Pati-Salam model, a grand unification theory.
· Super symmetry theory, in particular formulation of Super space and formalism of super fields in 1974.
· The theory of super manifolds, as a geometrical framework for understanding super symmetry, in 1974.
· Supergeometry, the geometric basis for super symmetry, in 1974.
· Application of the Higgs mechanism to the electroweak symmetry breaking.
· Prediction of the magnetic photon in 1966.
Abdus Salam died peacefully on 21 November 1996 at the age of 70 in Oxford, England, from Progressive supranuclear palsy. Approximately 30,000 people attended his funeral prayers.