One of the most important discoveries in Physics since Einstein's Theory of Relativity has possibly just been made at CERN and dozens of Pakistani scientists have contributed to it.
Scientists at CERN claim that they have discovered the Higgs field, also nicknamed the "God particle" that travels faster than light, thereby proving Einstein wrong, according to the Associated Press reports.
"The feeling that most people have is this can't be right, this can't be real," the AP story quotes James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
The most high-profile effort to find "God Particle" is taking place about 300 ft below ground in a tunnel at the French-Swiss border. Buried there is a massive particle accelerator and super collider called LHC (Large Hadron Collider) run by the Swiss lab CERN (European Organization of Nuclear Research), which has two beams of particles racing at nearly the speed of light in opposite directions and the resulting particles produced from collisions are being detected by massive detectors in the hope of experimentally finding the fundamental particle of which everything in the universe is built from: God Particle.
Among the world scientists working at CERN on LHC project is Professor Hafeez Hoorani of Pakistan's Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. He is one of 27 Pakistani scientists at CERN.CERN is the most highly respected research lab in Switzerland responsible for LHC. He acknowledges that Pakistan government's support for Pakistani scientists' serious involvement at CERN materialized only after 1999, the year former President Musharraf's government assumed power. He also gives credit to Dr. Abdus Salam, Pakistan's only Nobel Laureate, for inspiring him and his colleagues to pursue serious scientific research. Here's what Professor Hoorani says about Pakistan's involvement in LHC and CERN:
When I first came to CERN, I was mainly working on technical things but became increasingly involved in political issues. In 1999, I went back to Pakistan to set up a group working on different aspects of the LHC project. There I had to convince my people and my government to collaborate with CERN, which was rather difficult, since nobody associated science with Switzerland. It is known as a place for tourism, for its watches, and nice places to visit.
However, Pakistan already had an early connection to CERN through the late Abdus Salam, the sole Nobel laureate from Pakistan in science and one of the fathers of the electroweak theory. CERN has been known to the scientific community of Pakistan since 1973 through the discovery of neutral currents which eventually led to the Nobel Prize for Salam. We are contributing much more now because of the students who worked with Salam, who know his theories and CERN, and who are now placed at highly influential positions within the government of Pakistan. They have helped and pushed Pakistan towards a very meaningful scientific collaboration with CERN. People now know that there is an organization called CERN. It took a long time to explain what CERN is about, and I brought many people here to show them, because they did not imagine CERN this way. Many people support us now which gives us hope…”
In addition to the 27 scientists, Pakistan has made material contributions to the tune of $10m. Pakistan signed an agreement with CERN which doubled the Pakistani contribution from one to two million Swiss francs. And with this new agreement Pakistan started construction of the resistive plate chambers required for the CMS muon system. While more recently, a protocol has been signed enhancing Pakistan’s total contribution to the LHC program to $10 million.
CERN is a pan-European effort and all of its member states are European. Pakistan, with all of its contributions to LHC project, is hoping to join the ranks of India, Israel, Japan, Russia, Turkey and United States as an observer state at CERN.
Pakistan has contributed the LHC in numerous ways including some of the following in particular:
1. Detector construction
2. Detector simulation
3. Physics analysis
4. Grid computing
5. Computational software development
6. Manufacturing of mechanical equipment
7. Alignment of the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) tracker using lasers
8. Testing of electronic equipment
9. Barrel Yoke: 35 Ton each feet made in Pakistan
10. Assembly of CF (Carbon Fiber) Fins for the Silicon Tracker’s TOB (Tracker Outer Barrel).
11. 245 of the 300 CMS chambers required were made in Islamabad.
The Higgs boson, also known as "God Particle", is a hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. It is the only Standard Model particle not yet experimentally observed. An experimental observation of it would help to explain how otherwise massless elementary particles cause matter to have mass. More specifically, the Higgs boson would explain the difference between the massless photon and the relatively massive W and Z bosons. Elementary particle masses, and the differences between electromagnetism (caused by the photon) and the weak force (caused by the W and Z bosons), are critical to many aspects of the structure of microscopic (and hence macroscopic) matter; thus, if it exists, the Higgs boson is an integral and pervasive component of the material world.
The Standard Model of particle physics has its limits. It can't explain several big mysteries about the universe that have their roots in the minuscule world of particles and forces. If there's one truly extraordinary concept to emerge from the past century of inquiry, it's that the cosmos we see was once smaller than an atom. This is why particle physicists talk about cosmology and cosmologists talk about particle physics: Our existence, our entire universe, emerged from things that happened at the smallest imaginable scale. The big bang theory tells us that the known universe once had no dimensions at all—no up or down, no left or right, no passage of time, and laws of physics beyond our vision.
There have been many other efforts to build particle accelerators and supercolliders including SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator) and Fermi Collider, but none so ambitious and massive as the LHC. This discovery, if indeed confirmed, will advance human knowledge dramatically and eventually help treat diseases, improve the Internet, and open doors to travel through extra dimensions, according to the scientists associated with it.
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Hoorani, as you know, is a Karachi-born person who attended Karachi University. Your article should have pointed out this important fact.
My sister attended one class with him when he was at KU.
Very good news indeed!
I think you have confused the news about neutrinos travelling faster than light with the search for Higgs Boson.
AFAIK, there has been no news regarding the discovery of the Higgs boson.
Though the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has made enormous efforts to promote research work, Pakistan ranked 43rd in the world in terms of published scientific papers in the year 2010, according to Dawn newspaper.
According to the worldwide scientific journal ranking (SJR); Pakistan published 6,987 research documents in 2010. However, the same year United States was on top with 502,804 papers followed by China with 320,800 and United Kingdom with 139,683 research documents. On the other hand, India ranked ninth worldwide.
Among the Islamic countries, Pakistan trailed behind Turkey and Iran which published 30,594 and 27,510 research documents, respectively.
An official of the HEC requesting not to be named told this reporter that in 2007 Pakistan ranked 45th with 3,750 publications, in 2003 it was ranked 50th with 1,539 research papers and in 2000 54th with 1,174 papers. In 1996, the country was on 52nd position with 893 research papers.
The number of publications is directly proportional to the production of PhDs in the country.
“Pakistan gets over $10 billion every year through foreign remittances. On the other hand, due to financial crunch demand for foreign labour has been decreasing worldwide. Even in Saudi Arabia it has been decided to push out foreign labour force and adjust the locals in their places, because it is becoming difficult even for the oil-producing countries to address the problem of unemployment.”
The official claimed that in the West, population was decreasing and the new generation was more interested in the subjects of art and humanities rather than science, mathematics and research work.
Due to this, the official added, the demand for specialised persons would increase in the West and Pakistan can meet the requirement of these nations by producing specialised persons and earn huge foreign exchange.
Sources said most of the successive governments in Pakistan did not take future planning seriously and always tried to solve problems by makeshift arrangements. The government should focus on specialisation in different subjects because only specialised persons can earn foreign exchange to steer out the country from the financial problems.
Executive Director HEC Prof Dr S. Sohail H. Naqvi told Dawn that they had been trying to generate as many specialised persons as possible and for that reason were encouraging and facilitating universities. He said for increasing the number of PhDs, the commission required funds. “Hopefully, Pakistan will further improve its ranking regarding publication of
research papers,” he said.
Here's a SciDev report on Pakistan's Human Genome Project undertaken with Chinese collaboration at the University of Karachi:
A burgeoning genetics research collaboration between China and Pakistan has yielded its first result: the mapping of the genome of a Pakistani national.
The Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) and the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi, had agreed last year to work together on seven genomic projects, train Pakistani scientists, set up a genomics centre in Pakistan, and transfer state-of-the-art technology to Pakistan.
The first project involved sending genetic samples of the first volunteer, former science minister Atta-ur-Rahman, who is also ICCBS patron, to the BGI for mapping.
'Genome mapping' involves locating and identifying genes to create a map, akin to identifying towns and cities, to create a road map. Genome maps help scientists locate genes for human diseases, by tracking the complete genetic information of individuals and, families over generations.
Researchers at the Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), under the ICCBS, and BGI mapped Rahman’s genes in 10 months. ICCBS director Mohammad Iqbal Choudhary announced the results to the media last month (27 June). The results are yet to be published in a scientific journal.
This makes Pakistan the world's sixth and the first Islamic country to completely map a human genetic sequence, Choudhary said.
More projects are underway to gain insights into various population groups in Pakistan; genetic predisposition to disorders, including liver and heart disease; anaemia, diabetes, cancers, Alzheimer's disease and blood disorders, Choudhary told SciDev.Net.
It could lead to "significant advances in their diagnosis and treatment" Kamran Azim, assistant professor at the PCMD, said.
"It is going to take more than two years to complete the genome projects and come up with the final conclusions about different aspects of the country's different population groups," Choudhary said.
BGI scientists are interested in studying the genetic structure and physiology of Pakistan's diverse ethnic groups, particularly those along the Makran coast, Balochistan province, and Kalash Desh in northern Pakistan, Choudhary said.
Manzoor Hussain Soomro, chairman of the Pakistan Science Foundation, observed that the development could pave the way for better medical management and new drugs discovery.
But, he cautioned, such research could also raise ethical, legal and social concerns over confidentiality and misuse of genetic information by prospective employers, insurers, courts of law and family members.
Soomro said that though it is not yet clear who would safeguard the genome mapping data, it should logically be the responsibility of Pakistan's national bioethics committee under the Pakistan Council of Medical Research.
Here's an ANI report on gene mapping in Pakistan:
Karachi, June 28(ANI): Scientists at the Karachi University have mapped the genome of the first Pakistani man with the help of the Beijing Genomics Institute.
This has made Pakistan the first country in the Muslim world to map the genome of the first Muslim man.
The achievement places Pakistan in the ranks of the few countries- the United States, the United Kingdom, India, China and Japan- that have successfully sequenced the human genome as well.
"Our nation is a mix of a lot of races," said Professor Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, who heads the project. "Pakistanis are like a "melting pot" i.e. a mix of Mughals, Turks, Pashtuns, Afghans, Arabs, etc."
"According to the researchers, the newly sequenced Pakistani genome has uncovered a multitude of Pakistan-specific sites, which can now be used in the design of large-scale studies that are better suited for the Pakistani population," The Express Tribune quoted Dr Choudhary, who is the director of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences at Karachi University, as saying.
The first Pakistani genome has been mapped using a recently developed technology, ten years after the first human genome was discovered.
Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research at the University of Karachi took 10 months to accomplish the task. The individual who has been genetically mapped is a resident of Karachi. (ANI)
Here's a report in The News on Pakistan's growing life sciences and biotech sectors:
Pakistan is a growing market for life sciences and biotechnologies, and a country where they, as well as public health research and related fields, have great potentials for beneficial social, economic and health impacts. Multilateral cooperation of Pakistan with international partners such as European Union (EU) could significantly increase the footprint of this impact.
These views were expressed by Professor Maurizio Martellini, Secretary General of the Landau Network-Centro Volta and Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Insubria (Como, Italy), at an in-house talk, organised by the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) on the subject titled ‘Conceptualizing a future cooperation with Pakistan in Bio and Health sectors’.
Elaborating the prospects of cooperation, Prof. Maurizio took stock of Pakistan’s biotechnology and medical industry and said that research in academia is rapidly developing; publications by Pakistani research teams rose to four-folds in the last decade, and the majority of publications from major universities come from the life sciences.
He said that university departments in Pakistan dealing with life science research amount to over 200, with increasing numbers in general and particularly in the biotechnologies and applied science sectors. He was of the view that Pakistan’s biotechnology industry seems also to have been a priority for the government support and in 2010 the country boasted its first biotech plant.
Outlining his vision for cooperation, Prof Maurizio said that cooperation projects which are sustainable in both policy and financial terms should increase the S&T exchanges, favour socio-economical impacts of scientific and technological improvements, and implement improved safety and security good practices and standards, all with medium- and long-term strategies and objectives.
Dr Maria Sultan, Director General SASSI, in her remarks stated that the Pakistan will welcome the cooperation in the bio-safety and security field, however, it requires more broad-based understanding of global concerns and Pakistan’s requirements in this field. Highlighting issues of importance from the Pakistani side she said there is a need to develop a national framework which would encompass the entire scale of pathogens as well as possible gaps in the bio-safety and security area and development of a community of bio-safety in Pakistan for more societal awareness about the issue as well as to include all stakeholders especially the factors which are linked to the bio-economy in Pakistan. She said that the emphasis of cooperation should balance between research and development (R &D) sector in high-tech bio-sciences and bio-safety aspects for disease eradication and epidemic eradication programmes and capacity building in surveillance and equipment for the bio-security and safety mechanism in the country and the international collaborative programmes. She said Pakistani bio-engagement programmes if they are to be run have to rest on the policy of transparency and sustainability aimed at developing bio-economy in Pakistan and the region. Subsequent sanctions on its bio-technology sector could in the future retard or restrict the Pakistan’s capacity to fully utilise its immense potential. The international community should take this matter in account as well, she said.....
ICAC picks Pak scientist as researcher of the year, reports Dawn:
A Pakistan-based scientist has been honoured by the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), the body said in a statement released this week.
Dr Yusuf Zafar, who is the director general agriculture and biotechnology at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission was declared ‘Scientist of the Year-2012’ for his pioneering work in the cotton biotechnology sector.
Zafar has over 110 scientific papers (published in national and international journals) to his name. According to ICAC, “in cotton virology his group covers nearly 90 per cent of the global published literature.”
The Faisalabad-based scientist played a key role in bringing together the world’s major cotton groups, including Australia, China, UK and USA, for the purpose of conducting joint research.
Heading the National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering in Faisalabad, Zafar and his team have contributed helped produce nearly 100 M. Phil and 30 Ph. D Pakistan-based students, focussing on various aspects of research and development in cotton. He has, meanwhile, remained in the front line to establish Biosafety Protocols, Plant Breeder Rights, Intellectual Property Rights/Patents and ISO certification in Pakistan.
In 2001, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission awarded him Best Scientist of the Year Award. The President of Pakistan awarded him ‘Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Distinction) in 2004, the highest recognition for a researcher.
In other honours, Zafar has also won the Rockefeller Foundation and UNESCO Research Awards on Agri-Biotechnology, and is member of the USDA Cochran Fellow on Agriculture Biotechnology.
Apart from leading the Faisalabad institute, he is on the Board of Governors of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology-ICGEB (Italy), FAO country focal person on agriculture biotechnology and member of the Cotton Policy Committee of the government.
The ‘Scientist of the year -2012’ award was announced by ICAC late Wednesday. ICAC is an intergovernmental body with 54 members and provides services to Common Funds for Commodity (CFC), an organisation of UNCTAD-UN family.
Applications for the award are invited each year by the Washington DC-based institute and the selection committee comprises five anonymous judges outside the ICAC Secretariat.
Here's a National Geographic report on discovery of Higgs Boson:
..The long-sought particle may complete the standard model of physics by explaining why objects in our universe have mass—and in so doing, why galaxies, planets, and even humans have any right to exist.
"We have a discovery," Heuer said at the seminar. "We have observed a new particle consistent with a Higgs boson."
At the meeting were four theorists who helped develop the Higgs theory in the 1960s, including Peter Higgs himself, who could be seen wiping away tears as the announcement was made.
Although preliminary, the results show a so-called five-sigma of significance, which means that there is only a one in a million chance that the Higgs-like signal the teams observed is a statistical fluke.
"It's a tremendous and exciting time," said physicist Michael Tuts, who works with the ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) Experiment, one of the two Higgs-seeking LHC projects.
The Columbia University physicist had organized a wee-hours gathering of physicists and students in the U.S. to watch the announcement, which took place at 9 a.m., Geneva time.
"This is the payoff. This is what you do it for."
The two LHC teams searching for the Higgs—the other being the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) project—did so independently. Neither one knew what the other would present this morning.
"It was interesting that the competing experiment essentially had the same result," said physicist Ryszard Stroynowski, an ATLAS team member based at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "It provides additional confirmation."
CERN head Heuer called today's announcement a "historic milestone" but cautioned that much work lies ahead as physicists attempt to confirm the newfound particle's identity and further probe its properties.
For example, though the teams are certain the new particle has the proper mass for the predicted Higgs boson, they still need to determine whether it behaves as the God particle is thought to behave—and therefore what its role in the creation and maintenance of the universe is.
"I think we can all be proud ... but it's a beginning," Heuer said.
Higgs Boson Results Exceeded Expectations
The five-sigma results from both the ATLAS and CMS experiments exceeded the expectations of many physicists, including David Evans, leader of the U.K. team that works on the LHC-based ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) Collaboration.
Evans had predicted Tuesday the teams would announce a four-sigma result—just short of the rigorous standard traditionally required for a new-particle observation to officially count as a true discovery and not a fluke.
"It's even better than I expected," said Evans, of the University of Birmingham in the U.K. "I think we can say the Higgs is here. It exists."
Evans attributed the stronger-than-expected results to "a mixture of the LHC doing a fantastic job" and "ATLAS and CMS doing a fantastic job of improving their analysis since December," when the two teams announced a two-sigma observation of signs of a Higgs-like particle.
"So even with the same data, they can get more significance."
ATLAS spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti also had high praise for the LHC, a multibillion-dollar machine that had suffered numerous mishaps and setbacks in its early days. (Related: "Electrical Glitch Delays Large Hadron Collider."
Here's an ET piece on Dr. Salam's contribution to Higgs Boson:
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.
Of the many discoveries that later solidified the Standard Model of physics was work done in 1967 by Dr Abdus Salam and American physicist Steven Weinberg in unifying the Higgs mechanism to Glashow’s theory, giving the “electroweak theory” its current form. But Dr Salam’s contributions to particle physics do not end there. Collaborating with Indian physicist Jogesh Pati, he proposed the Pati-Salam model in 1974, which further moved forward the theoretical underpinnings of the Standard Model.
It was for this body of work that Salam, along with Weinberg and Glashow, was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1979.
While this work in theoretical physics may seem obscure and with little practical application, the tools created by physicists engaged in this research are ones we all live with today. For instance, in order to assist the thousands of physicists around the world collaborating on this project, European scientists helped develop the internet. The need to crunch massive amounts of data led to the development of what is now known as cloud computing....
It is a myth that Salam was persecuted in Pakistan. He was appointed Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Pakistan and served in that post from 1960 to 1974 (15 years) and was awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s highest civilian honour as well as the Sitara-e-Pakistan. He was one of the co-founding directors of Pakistan’s Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and set up the Theoretical Physics Group at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). He also played an importand role in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. He also co-founded PINSTECH. Salam had an office in the Prime Minister’s office during the time of the development of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. It was Salam who advised Bhutto to call Dr. A.Q. Khan from Holland.
Bose was an Indian and India should be acknowledged for Higgs Boson.
Some Indians are claiming credit for Higgs Boson because of Bose.
The fact is that Bose had nothing to with the higgs boson work directly. Higgs built the theory based on work of Bose but Bose was never involved in that work. This work was done by 5 other theorists namely R. Brout, F. Englert, G. S. Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, and T. W. B. Kibble . Bose’s work with Einstein is extremely important but he had NOTHING to do with the higgs boson itself. All bosons are directly named after Bose but that doesnt mean he is responsible for each of their discovery. Its more of an honor for Bose than a direct contribution.
Please try not to say things over here that you know nothing about because you mislead people with your ignorance!
Here's an Express Tribune story on Pakistan becoming associate member of CERN:
Pakistan on Friday moved a step closer to becoming associate member of European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.
According to scientists at the National Centre for Physics (NCP) which has been collaborating with CERN since 2000, the CERN Council unanimously approved in principle Pakistan’s name for the process of achieving associate membership, at a meeting on September 17.
The final approval for associate membership depends upon the report of a CERN “fact-finding mission” which will visit Pakistan in February 2014, said Dr Hafeez Hoorani, who is the Director Research at NCP.
The Council’s approval marks the culmination of a process that was initiated by Pakistani scientists in 2008 and has witnessed scientific lobbying, political delays and even a diplomatic campaign by the Pakistani Foreign Office. It also signals the beginning of a process that could potentially lead to Pakistan’s associate membership by the end of 2014.
Located on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland, CERN conducts some of the most complex scientific experiments of all-time in a bid to understand the structure of the universe. It is the birthplace of the World Wide Web and is home to the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Pakistan is already contributing to CERN projects including designing detection technology and providing personnel support for the LHC’s maintenance. Associate membership could take the level of collaboration up a notch....
The CERN Council consists of 20 member states — all European countries — which are represented by two members each, a scientist and a diplomat. According to NCP scientists, the diplomats were reluctant when Pakistan’s associate membership application came up this year.
CERN has three associate members at present: Serbia, Israel and Ukraine. Responding to a question, Hoorani said Pakistan has also beaten regional neighbour India to the membership process.
Following the approval from the Council, a four-member CERN team led by Director for Research and Computing, Sergio Bertolluci, will visit Pakistan in 2014, he said.
Here's a report on US Aid funding for HEC in Pakistan:
Islamabad, April 7(ANI): The US Embassy in Islamabad has refuted media reports that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has put its 250-million-dollar project in Pakistan on hold in the wake of the issue of devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Accord to a media report attributed to sources, the USAID was supposed to provide the first instalment for the project “Financial Assistant and Development Programme”, which has been put on hold, and the rest of the funding has also been frozen till the situation is not cleared about the role of the HEC in future.
“These reports are inaccurate.USAID has not put any funding for the HEC on hold, nor does it have any plans to do so at this time,” the US Embassy said in a statement.
“The United States through USAID already has provided all of its planned funding to the HEC for 2010, which amounted to $45 million. Funding for any future USAID programs will be determined later this year, when the U.S. Congress approves funding for 2011,” it added.
The statement notified that the USAID had been working closely with the HEC to strengthen the capacity of Pakistani universities, and that this collaboration aimed to assist Pakistan in developing a cadre of world-class experts who can play an active role in Pakistan’s economic and social development.
“In addition, USAID provides merit-and-need-based scholarships through the HEC for in-country higher education,” it added.
The statement said that separately, the USAID provides 20 million dollars every year to support the world’s largest Fulbright scholarship program, which is implemented by the US Department of State in partnership with the HEC. “The Science and Technology partnership with Pakistan also is implemented through the HEC,” it added. (ANI)
#MIT #technology review to be published in #Pakistan. https://shar.es/17UNoT via @SciDevNet_SA
The launch of a Pakistani edition of the MIT Technology Review is expected to boost peer-reviewed research on science and technology as well as entrepreneurship in this country.
“Pakistan needs a credible publication for science and technology — one that talks about real technology issues, publishes actual science and informs tech-savvy youth in Pakistan about the latest technology trends and innovations around the world,” says Umar Saif, vice chancellor of the Information Technology University (ITU), Lahore.
Saif, a former alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge USA, was instrumental in winning affiliation for the Pakistan edition that was officially launched on 19 September by ITU, the publisher.
Saif says he expects the publication to help discourage false claims such as the one made by a Pakistani scientist in 2012 that he had invented a car capable of running on water — which had officials lauding it as something that had ‘brought about a revolution in the world of science.’
“I felt it was my responsibility to give Pakistan a credible forum to talk about real science. I immediately took steps to get in conversation with MIT Technology Review – it took a couple of years to get here…”
The launching team hopes the publication will benefit researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs of Pakistan who needed a credible, internationally recognised forum to showcase their work to a broader audience.
“The main areas of focus are energy, ICT4D, and entrepreneurship, however, these are to begin with…we will diversify as we go steadily in print and build our team’s capacity to focus on more areas that concern Pakistan,” explains Saif.
The inaugural edition highlights Pakistan’s energy woes of Pakistan in a cover story by leading journalist Jawwad Rizvi. “We are hoping the project becomes self-sustainable within a couple of years of its operation (via ads and subscription fee) and is no longer dependent on research grants,” Saif says.
Prof. Sarmad Hussain, who heads the Centre of Language Engineering, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, says that apart from providing credibility to creative work done in the country and encouraging researchers to showcase their work, the new publication will help the “formation of linkages with international research organisations.”
Nergis Mavalvala: #Pakistani #American #MIT prof from #Karachi, only woman in #LIGO that detects #gravitationalwaves http://www.dawn.com/news/1239270
Mavalvala did her BA at Wellesley College in Physics and Astronomy in 1990 and a Ph.D in physics in 1997 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Before that, she was a postdoctoral associate and then a research scientist at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), working on the Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO).
She has been involved with LIGO since her early years in graduate school at MIT and her primary research has been in instrument development for interferometric gravitational-wave detectors.
She also received the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Award in 2010.
Mavalvala received her early education from the Convent of Jesus and Mary school in Karachi, an administration official from the educational institute confirmed to Dawn.com.
She later moved to the United States as a teenager to attend Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she is said to have a natural gift for being comfortable in her own skin, according to an article published on the sciencemag.org website.
“Even when Nergis was a freshman, she struck me as fearless, with a refreshing can-do attitude,” says Robert Berg, a professor of physics at Wellesley.
"I used to borrow tools and parts from the bike-repair man across the street to fix my bike,” Mavalvala says.
In an earlier report, Mavalvala's colleague observed that while many professors would like to treat students as colleagues, most students don’t respond as equals. From the first day, Mavalvala acted and worked like an equal. She helped Berg, who at the time was new to the faculty, set up a laser and transform an empty room into a lab. Before she graduated in 1990, Berg and Mavalvala had co-authored a paper in Physical Review B: Condensed Matter.
Her parents encouraged academic excellence. She was by temperament very hands-on. “I used to borrow tools and parts from the bike-repair man across the street to fix my bike,” she says. Her mother objected to the grease stains, “but my parents never said such skills were off-limits to me or my sister.”
So she grew up without stereotypical gender roles. Once in the United States, she did not feel bound by US social norms, she recalls.
Her practical skills stood her in good stead in 1991, when she was scouting for a research group to join after her first year as a graduate student at MIT. Her adviser was moving to Chicago and Mavalvala had decided not to follow him, so she needed a new adviser. She met Rainer Weiss, who worked down the hallway.
“What do you know?” Weiss asked her. She began to list the classes she had taken at the institute—but the renowned experimentalist interrupted with, “What do you know how to do?” Mavalvala ticked off her practical skills and accomplishments: machining, electronic circuitry, building a laser. Weiss took her on right away.
Mavalvala says that although it may not be immediately apparent, she is a product of good mentoring.
From the chemistry teacher in Pakistan who let her play with reagents in the lab after school to the head of the physics department at MIT, who supported her work when she joined the faculty in 2002, she has encountered several encouraging people on her journey.
Although the discovery of gravitational waves, that opens a new window for studying the cosmos, was made in September 2015, it took scientists months to confirm their data.
The researchers said they detected gravitational waves coming from two black holes - extraordinarily dense objects whose existence also was foreseen by Einstein - that orbited one another, spiraled inward and smashed together. They said the waves were the product of a collision between two black holes 30 times as massive as the Sun, located 1.3 billion light years from Earth.
Inside the life of #Pakistan’s first female string theorist. #Physics #Science #MIT
Tasneem Zehra Husain, Pakistan’s first female string theorist at the mere age of 26, recently published her new book Only the Longest Threads, which fictionalises major breakthroughs in physics through the minds of the people who lived in those periods of discovery, reports the MIT Technology Review Pakistan.
Husain is an eminent scientist, writer and educator who obtained her bachelor of science in mathematics and physics from Kinnaird College and a masters degree in physics from the Quaid-i-Azam University.
She was awarded a scholarship by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) to study in the field of High-Energy Physics in Trieste, Italy. Husain obtained her PhD in theoretical physics from Stockholm University, and then went on to do her post-doctoral research at Harvard University. While still a post-doc, she helped found the Lahore University of Managment Sciences (LUMS) School of Science and Engineering in Lahore, where she later taught as a faculty member.
Husain has represented Pakistan at the meeting of nobel laureates in Lindau, Germany. She has written extensively for several magazines and newspapers, including the award winning blog.
Tasneem Zehra Husain sat down with MIT Technology Review Pakistan to talk about her life, research and her aspirations for the field of theoretical Physics in the country, here is what she had to say.
A childhood surrounded by love, laughter and books
My parents were very supportive and involved in their children’s upbringing. My father is very hands-on so he would get involved in projects with us. My mother read to us since before we could even speak.
Growing up in the 80’s in Pakistan, there weren’t a lot of bookstores. There were maybe three or four like Anees book store or Iqbal book corner. They didn’t have a range of interesting things to read; only textbooks or classics were available. However, my parent’s had an extensive personal library of books at home and later my mother started the Alif Laila lending library when my brother and I were only one or two years old, so we grew up with books all around us.
Our parents would have to frequently bring home books to catalogue, so we saw them all the time and everywhere. We were encouraged to read voraciously and I think that was the main turning point for all of us.
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