No one could have believed that the son of a schoolmaster who lived in an old house in Jhang would become Pakistan’s first Nobel Prize winner. Today, on his 22nd death anniversary, everyone knows the name of Dr Abdus Salam.
Born on January 29, 1926 in Jhang, Punjab, Dr Salam studied at Government College, University of the Punjab where he obtained his MA in 1946. In the same year he was awarded a scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge where he received a BA (honours) with a double first in mathematics and physics in 1949.
In 1950 he received the Smith’s Prize from Cambridge University for the most outstanding pre-doctoral contribution to physics. He also obtained a PhD in theoretical physics at Cambridge; his thesis, published in 1951, contained fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics which had already gained him an international reputation.
He also established the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy in 1964
He went on to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979. Dr Salam has been awarded honorary doctorates by 36 universities. The government of Pakistan has also conferred upon him the Nishan-e-Imtiaz and Sitara-e-Pakistan.
He passed away in London on November 21, 1996. Today (Wednesday) is his 22nd death anniversary.