Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

Abdus Salam

Abdus Salam

Legend and Proponent of South-South Cooperation

The Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) was the brainchild of the Nobel Laureate Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam, who being cognizant of the widening gap of scientific knowledge and economic development between the global North and the global South urged the Governments of the South to come together under one platform and catalyze development by attaining excellence in science and technology. Due to his effective advocacy, untiring efforts, as well as support from the Government of Pakistan, agreement to establish COMSATS was reached in 1994 by the representatives of founding Member States. Prof. Salam has also immensely contributed in establishing various other scientific forums and research organizations, including the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Italy; Third World Academy of Sciences (now The World Academy of Sciences – TWAS), Italy; Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), Pakistan; the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPPARCO), Pakistan, Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Institute EBASI), Italy.

Brief Profile

Abdus Salam was born in Jhang, Pakistan, in 1926. He was educated at Punjab University, Lahore, St. John’s College, Cambridge, as well as Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1952.

He then returned to Pakistan where he served as Professor at Government College, Lahore, and University of the Punjab. In 1957, he was appointed as Full Professor of Theoretical Physics at Imperial College and returned to England. He was Director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy, from 1964 to December 1993. He shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg.

During his time at Imperial College London, Prof. Salam set up Theoretical Physics department, with the late Prof. Paul T. Matthews, also laying foundation for the Theoretical Physics Research Group that now covers a wide range of research areas bound together by the theme of fundamental questions in cosmology, gravity, particle physics, and quantum theory. 

Recently (June 2023), the Imperial’s administration decided to name its Central library after Prof. Salam honoring and recognizing his contributions to the field of science, as well as to inspire students. Prof. Salam and Weinberg had identified all the properties of the Higgs boson (1967-1968), the God Particle, except its mass, in their electroweak theory. 

After a long illness, Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam passed away on November 21, 1996, in Oxford, UK.