LAHORE: Professor Abdus Salam, the Nobel laureate and an old Ravian, breathed his last 21 years ago on Thursday, November 21, 1996, after a protracted illness. With his sad demise, not only Pakistan but also the entire third world lost a highly able scientist and humble human being.
A seminar was organised on Tuesday at his alma mater, Lahore Government College University (GCU), to pay glowing tributes for his contributions in the fields of mathematics and physics, and for the role he played for the development of science in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Hassan Amir Shah proudly shared that GCU housed the original Noble Prize certificate of Dr Abdus Salam. “It was our most cherished possession to-date,” he said. He added that it was remarkable how the Italians had owned Professor Salam and honoured him.
The Italy International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) has preserved all his documents, awards, shields, souvenirs and his personal collection of books including his Hukka, etc. in a separate room called Salam Room in the library of the centre.
Talking about his love for Pakistan, the VC said that Dr Salam never accepted any other nationality despite offers. He also talked about his personal interactions with Salam, saying he was a hardworking man throughout his life.
Punjab University former vice-chancellor Professor Dr Mujahid Kamran shed light on the academic achievements of Dr Salam and his interest in literature.
In his keynote address, GCU Professor Salam Chair Dr Ghulam Murtaza said that the story of Dr Salam, a village boy from Jhang, was an inspiration for young people since it portrays that one may come from anywhere in the world and make a career in science or any other profession dominated by the rich countries.
He said that Dr Salam’s achievements were not confined to the Nobel Prize. He was a fellow of more than 30 academies/societies of the world and was awarded an honorary doctorate by more than 40 universities across the globe.
He died on November 21, 1996, at the age of 70 in Oxford, England. His body was brought to Pakistan and is buried in Chenab Nagar where his parents and wife lay to rest. Dr Ghulam, who himself was taught by Dr Salam at the Imperial College London, touched on the humble upbringing, strong character and virtues of the great scientist.