Higgs boson: Pakistan’s contribution to a major breakthrough

At least some in Pakistan have the good grace to recognise Dr. Salam’s contribution in the field of science.

Few Pakistanis know what the Higgs boson is and even fewer realise that some of the earliest theoretical groundwork that led to this discovery was laid by Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate, Dr Abdus Salam.

The Higgs boson is a subatomic particle whose existence was confirmed by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (known by its French acronym, CERN) on July 4. The discovery of the particle provides the last remaining bit of empirical evidence necessary for the Standard Model of physics, which seeks to explain the existence of all forces in the universe except gravity.

In the 1950s, physicists were aware of four different types of forces in the universe: gravity, electromagnetic force, the force that attracts an electron towards the nucleus of an atom (weak nuclear force), and the force that keeps the nucleus of the atom together (strong nuclear force). The Standard Model can offer an integrated explanation for the latter three of those forces. Its origins lay in the discovery in 1960 by American physicist Sheldon Glashow of the fact that the weak nuclear force and electromagnetic force are the same thing.  

It was for this body of work that Salam, along with Weinberg and Glashow, was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1979.

A Pakistani was at the fore of this frontier of discovery in the 1960s and 1970s. But rather than encourage and celebrate his magnificent achievement, he was maligned and sidelined for his faith. An ironic fact: most physicists are staunch atheists but Salam was one of the few firm believers in God.

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Categories: Asia, Europe, Pakistan, UK

1 reply

  1. Maligned and sidelined for his faith. It’s the otherway around, people who still dont believe that we all should be grateful to the Creator for our existence, for the wonderful sensations we feel every day in eating, loving, picking flowers and grapes, those people are sidelined. Being grateful to the creator, worshiping and calling for it’s blessing is what makes anything in life worthwhile, even scientific research as Abdus Salam and others did. So the sidelined are the ungrateful who feel void and missing a vital organ, faith and worship of the onness of God is a vital human organ. Abdus Salam surely felt the most fulfilled among his colleagues and his energy blessed by the Creator in its wonderful universe. Cruelty on earth is manmade, the wonderful things in life are God made and it doesnt finish after death.

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