With the announcement of the Higgs boson last week, it’s appropriate to look at one of the men who predicted its existence.

With the announcement of the Higgs boson last week, it’s appropriate to look at one of the men who predicted its existence.

Abdus Salam received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his work on the theory of fundamental physical forces. He and Stephen Weinberg, with whom he shared the Prize, predicted a particle like the Higgs.

But Salam was unwelcome in his own country, Pakistan, because he belonged to the wrong religion. Although Salam was born in Pakistan and wanted to return to teach and found a school of research after being educated at Cambridge University, he could not stay because of persecution of the Ahmadi sect of Islam, to which he belonged. In 1974, Pakistan’s Parliament declared Ahmadis not to be Muslim.

He continued his research and teaching at Cambridge, and in 1964 founded the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, in Trieste, Italy. The Center’s mission is to train students from the developing world in physics so that they can return to their countries for research and teaching.

The Daily Times of Pakistan printed a brave editorial in 2006 urging that Salam be recognized in his home country. The discovery of the Higgs boson seems to have brought no coverage of Salam in Pakistan.

 

AP article: Pakistan shuns physicist linked to ‘God particle’

Nobel Prize biography

Nobel Lecture

Photo from Nobel biography

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