Pakistani physicist linked to ‘God particle’ shunned at home

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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.

Written By: The Associated Press
continue to source article at cbc.ca

24 COMMENTS

  1. Originally “Goddamn Particle” due to it’s elusiveness.  Or so I read somewhere.  Abbreviated and Sanitized by Journalists, thus destroying it’s original meaning.

    They should have called it That Fucking Particle in the first place, that would have prevented unfortunate side-effects of abbreviation.  Oh, TFP I suppose would be ok.

  2. At least if they said 

    “or ‘God Particle’, as we stupid, scientifically-ignorant (and proud of it) journalists inexplicably insist on calling it to give our, otherwise bland and insipid, articles some ‘edge’”

    , then it wouldn’t be quite so annoying.

  3. Look how physicists, and science generally, and his prize sharer Weinberg, are treated in the west, vs Pakistan. It reminds me of Zamyatin who wrote “We” (inspiring Brave New World and 1984) in the early 1920′s, predicting that the Russian revolution would lead to an evil all-powerful government (ie Stalinism)… his book was available in translation in the west but it was basically deleted and unknown in the USSR.

    Governments, ideologically trying to control information, and science in particular, have my eternal contempt. Often I wonder if free inquiry, even after such a struggle to get where we are now, just isn’t actually doomed.

  4. God strikes again! More human lies about knowing a cosmic president! Politics and power by deliberate denial and clear truth towards children of the next generation: to abuse their coplete instruction in the human life per se; sanctioned child abuse to infect subsequent generations; a contemptible ill-willed foreknowledge tricked upon ones fellowman; a pretense not to know the perfectly well known tragedies such thoughts WILL poison the thoughts and emotions of large numbers of the unsuspecting; a cruel chaos inflicted upon large populations, knowing this will be a certain cruelty to the lifestyles of innocents absent any warning and , to the shame of those in power, often sanctioned with full commendations. It is a complete abuse of the human mind: by those who know better, towards those who do not! Shame on you, you who promote myth as love, utter shame on you! 

    You are a liar to the utmost sense of life you posses – your own – which you then inflict on others!

  5. God strikes again! More human lies about knowing a cosmic president! Politics and power by deliberate denial of clear truth towards children of the next generation: to abuse their complete rights to instruction in the human life per se; a sanctioned child abuse to infect subsequent generations; a contemptible ill-willed foreknowledge tricked upon ones fellowman; a pretense not to know the perfectly well known tragedies such thoughts WILL poison the thoughts and emotions of large numbers of the unsuspecting; a cruel chaos inflicted upon large populations, knowing this will be a certain cruelty to the lifestyles of innocents absent any warning and , to the shame of those in power, often sanctioned with full commendations. It is a complete abuse of the human mind: by those who know better, towards those who do not! Shame on you, you who promote myth as love, utter shame on you! You are a liar to the utmost sense of life you posses – your own – which you then inflict on others!

  6. The persecution of the Ahmadis was introduced by Bhutto’s government to gain favor and oil money from the Saudis.
    This is a good example of the original purpose of religion – a tool of the powerful for manipulation and oppression.

  7. Now had Salam been an illiterate brigand and a paedophile suffering from halucinations, islam would have viewed him in an altogether different light. Sadly he can only claim to have advanced knowledge and to be a revered in islam you have to have advanced delusional arch stupidity.

  8. A prime example of those with the best educations  (knowing their “god” is a complete myth), using it for ill gains: deliberately misleading the poor and naive into thinking those telling the truth (through science and honest information sharing) are in fact “strident” and “militant” and “uncaring”, when it is they who use each of these with “deception”, “grooming” and “seduction” to boot!. 

    What a reversal they orchestrate! 

    Message to the true believer:

     “I apologies deeply, in their behalf, that you have had your thoughts and emotions deceived into total support of their propaganda (god), even until your social and daily happiness is enslaved to its ideas. If there were some painless information I could give to you, I would be certain to do so. Sadly, this is their snare to you: the pain of clearing the past deceptions is made as great if not greater than the ones they have delivered you to repeating the lies of. They have all your feelings and associations “thought wired” to things that truly are false claims about any god that ever could possibly exist. Their claims to know the MOTIVES of the universe are absolute LIES. I give you this truth freely and with complete sincerity and hope it is of comfort to you at some distant moments form now.”

  9. Abu Hamed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazzali. 1055-1111. Is he the one who denounced learning, especially mathematics, as the devil’s work, ZenDruid?

    As Salam’s co-worker and Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg says “Science is gradually eating the lunch of religion.”

  10. What a coincidence. I just began reading “An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Atheism” by Daniel Harbour yesterday, and Abdus Salam is mentioned in the book. He is talked about in the chapter of “Religious science”.

  11. The stubborn, continued use of  “god particle” conCERNS me.  Seriously, it continues a pattern ~ galaxies are called “god’s cobwebs”, dark matter is “god’s glue”. Quit it!

  12. The media also perverted and abused the term “quantum leap”, by employing it to mean a huge change or movement, when in fact, of course, it means the very opposite, the tiniest.  

  13. Now everything is set to gleefully christen upcoming discoveries as ‘God Force’, ‘God Energy’, ‘God Theory’, ‘God Principle’… I mean, physicists have already demonstrated that they are know-nothings when they can’t take a hint from the bibles of the world and insist on childish things like experiments, evidence and 5 sigma… Religion worked for millenia with 0 sigma and see how well it did (and still is doing)?

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