Dr. Amer Iqbal awarded the Abdus Salam Prize

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dr. Amer Iqbal, Associate Professor, LUMS Department of Physics has been awarded the "Abdus Salam Prize for Achievements in Science for Young Pakistani Scientists for Physics 2009". The award was announced by the Salam Prize committee, constituted by the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. Dr. Iqbal has been cited for his ground-breaking contributions to superstring theory and its relationship with supersymmetry and gauge theories. String theory is an active area of research, the objective of which is to combine the apparently disparate realms of general relativity and quantum mechanics.

Dr. Amer Iqbal, a PhD from MIT, has led the LUMS Department of Physics in its formative years. His research interests are at the cutting-edge frontiers of the small and large-scale structure of the universe. Interestingly, knots, the very knots in shoelaces and hair-braids, are also mathematical objects that interest him.

The Salam Prize or the Abdus Salam Prize is amongst the most prestigious awards given annually to Pakistani scientists in the fields of chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology, below 35 years of age.  The award is given on the basis of the collected research and/or a technical essay written specially for the Salam Prize. It comprises a certificate giving a citation and a cash award of US$1,000. The award was set up by Dr. Abdus Salam in 1980 from the proceeds of his Nobel Prize of 1979. The idea for the Award was presented to Professor Abdus Salam by his students Dr. Riazuddin, Dr. Fayyazuddin and Dr. Asghar Qadir. Dr. Salam approved of the idea wholeheartedly as he felt that he should use the Prize money to further his mission of Development of Science in the Third World. In line with this mission, he specially put aside funds to help Pakistan and Pakistani students. His students, Dr. Fayyazuddin and Dr. Asghar Qadir were given the task of formulating the rules and procedures for a Prize to be awarded to young Pakistani scientists for their research in the basic sciences. Consequently the Salam Prize was established.

Dr. Sabieh Anwar, Chair Department of Physics, expressed his pride at Dr. Iqbal’s achievement. “This is a well-deserved accolade for Dr. Amer Iqbal. He is one of the few persons in the country working on string physics and a mathematically inspired structure of the universe at large. We are proud that the Salam Prize awarded in legacy of Pakistan's only Nobel Laureate, has now come to LUMS and speaks of our commitment to physics education and research”, he says.

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy also expressed his delight at the award. He said, “As Pakistan's most sophisticated mathematical physicist, Dr. Amer Iqbal deserves recognition even beyond what he has already received. His work is at the forefront of modern theoretical physics: string theory, quantum foams, knot theory, and topological field theories. His papers have received a good deal of attention worldwide. As a graduate student at MIT's Centre for Theoretical Physics, Dr. Iqbal was considered outstanding by the faculty. Subsequently, Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize winner in physics and a living legend, invited him to work at the University of Texas (Austin). He has published jointly with Cumrun Vafa at Harvard, considered a giant in the field. Dr. Iqbal is an inspiration for the students at LUMS and an invaluable asset.”