This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Pakistani physicist linked to 'God particle' shunned at home

Thanks to Qu Quine and MichalB for the link


The pioneering work of Abdus Salam, Pakistan's only Nobel laureate, helped lead to the apparent discovery of the subatomic Higgs boson, or "God particle," last week, but the late physicist is no hero at home, where his name has been stricken from school textbooks.

Praise within Pakistan for Salam, who also guided the early stages of the country's nuclear program, faded decades ago as Muslim fundamentalists gained power. He belonged to the Ahmadi sect, which has been persecuted by the government and targeted by Taliban militants who view its members as heretics.

Their plight — along with that of Pakistan's other religious minorities, such as Shiite Muslims, Christians and Hindus — has deepened in recent years as hardline interpretations of Islam have gained ground and militants have stepped up attacks against groups they oppose. Most Pakistanis are Sunni Muslims.

Salam, a child prodigy born in 1926 in what was to become Pakistan after the partition of British-controlled India, won more than a dozen international prizes and honours. In 1979, he was co-winner of the Nobel Prize for his work on the so-called Standard Model of particle physics, which theorizes how fundamental forces govern the overall dynamics of the universe. He died in 1996.

Salam and Steven Weinberg, with whom he shared the Nobel Prize, independently predicted the existence of a subatomic particle now called the Higgs boson, named after a British physicist who theorized that it endowed other particles with mass, said Pervez Hoodbhoy, a Pakistani physicist who once worked with Salam. It is also known as the "God particle" because its existence is vitally important toward understanding the early evolution of the universe.

Physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, near Geneva, stoked worldwide excitement Wednesday when they announced they have all but proven the particle's existence. The work was done using the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest atom smasher .

"This would be a great vindication of Salam's work and the Standard Model as a whole," said Khurshid Hasanain, chairman of the physics department at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad.

Read more


Read this article on the new RDF beta site

TAGGED: GENERAL INTEREST, SCIENCE


RELATED CONTENT

Nasa's Curiosity rover zaps Mars rock

Jonathan Amos - BBC News Comments

Pew pew pew pew

Sun Is Roundest Natural Object Known

Dave Mosher - National Geographic Comments

The sun is the roundest natural object ever precisely measured, astronomers say.

Book written in DNA code

Geraint Jones - The Guardian Comments

Scientists who encoded the book say it could soon be cheaper to store information in DNA than in conventional digital devices

Prisoners pitch in to save endangered...

Ed Yong - Nature News Comments

Under the supervision of guards and graduate students, a small group of prisoners is breeding the beautiful orange-and-white insects in a greenhouse outside the prison. They have even carried out research to show what plants the butterfly prefers to lay its eggs on.

U.S. Should Adopt Higher Standards for...

- - Scientific American Comments

Teachers, scientists and policymakers have drafted ambitious new education standards. All 50 states should adopt them

17-year-old girl builds artificial...

John Roach - NBC News Comments

An artificial “brain” built by a 17-year-old whiz kid from Florida is able to accurately assess tissue samples for signs of breast cancer, providing more confidence to a minimally invasive procedure.

MORE

MORE BY AP

Mississippi church refuses to marry...

AP - CBC News Comments

A Mississippi couple says the church where they planned to get married turned them away because they are black.

Complex thinking goes beyond primates

AP - Washington Post Comments

Jehovah’s Witnesses Told to Pay in...

AP - New York Times Comments

Jehovah's Witness organization found responsible for paying 40% of damages awarded to abuse victim

Evolution skeptics will soon be...

AP - CBC News 81 Comments

Richard Leakey predicts skepticism over evolution will soon be history.

Palestinian arrested for insulting...

AP - The Jerusalem Post 63 Comments

Oregon couple convicted in...

AP - CBS News 58 Comments

MORE

Comments

Please Login to RDFRS to Comment

Sign in to RDF

blog comments powered by Disqus