Dr. Abdus Salam: Islam and Science Concordance or Conflict?

By Dr Abdus Salam, Nobel Laureate in Physics

A semi-quantitative measure of this is given by George Sarton in his monumental History of Science. Sarton divides his story of the highest achievement in science into Ages, each Age lasting 50 years. With each, he associates one central figure: thus, 500-450 BC is the Age of Plato, followed by the Ages of Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes and so on. From 750 to 1100 CE, however, it is an unbroken succession of the Ages of Jabir, Khwarizmi, Razi, Masudi, Abu’I-Wafa, Biruni and Omar Khayam. In those 350 years, Arabs, Turks, Afghans and Persians chemists, algebraists, clinicians, geographers, mathematicians, physicists and astronomers of the commonwealth of Islam-held the world stage of sciences. Only after 1100 CE, in Sarton’s scheme, do the first Western names begin to appear; however, for another 250 years, they share the honors with men of Islam like Ibn Rushd, Nasir-ud-din Tusi and Ibn Nafis.

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About the author of the main article:

Mohammad Abdus Salam[4][5][6] NISPkKBE (/sæˈlæm/PunjabiUrduعبد السلام‎, pronounced [əbd̪ʊs səlaːm]; 29 January 1926 – 21 November 1996),[7] was a Pakistani theoretical physicist. He shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory.[8] He was the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize in science and the second from an Islamic country to receive any Nobel Prize (after Anwar Sadat of Egypt).[9]

Salam was science advisor to the Ministry of Science and Technology in Pakistan from 1960 to 1974, a position from which he was supposed to play a major and influential role in the development of the country’s science infrastructure.[9][10] Salam contributed to developments in theoretical and particle physics.[10] He was the founding director of the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), and responsible for the establishment of the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) in the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).[11] As Science Advisor, Salam played a role in Pakistan’s development of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and may have contributed as well to development of atomic bomb project of Pakistan in 1972;[12] for this, he is viewed as the “scientific father”[5][13] of this programme.[14][15][16] In 1974, Abdus Salam departed from his country, in protest, after the Parliament of Pakistanpassed unanimously a parliamentary bill declaring members of the Ahmadiyya movement to which Salam belonged non-Muslims. In 1998, following the country’s nuclear tests, the Government of Pakistan issued a commemorative stamp, as a part of “Scientists of Pakistan”, to honour the services of Salam.[17]

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