Unifying forces: Celebrating Professor Abdus Salam’s legacy of science and solidarity at Imperial College London

The university renames its central library to ‘Abdus Salam Library’ in honour of Nobel laureate

Staff Writer, Al Hakam
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Image: mattbuck via WikiMedia

On Monday, 29 January 2024, Imperial College London orchestrated an illustrious event to celebrate the legacy of Nobel Laureate Professor Mohammad Abdus Salam, a towering figure in the annals of theoretical physics and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The event featured two lectures and an exhibition that vividly brought to life Professor Salam’s monumental contributions to the field of physics.

Guests were welcomed in the afternoon by Professor Michele Dougherty, Head of the Physics Department, who expressed her delight at the event marking the renaming of the college’s central library in honour of Professor Abdus Salam. This meaningful act reflects Imperial College London’s dedication to honouring the significant contributions of its esteemed alumni. The central library, now named the Abdus Salam Library, stands as a tribute to Professor Salam’s influential work in physics and his commitment to science education worldwide.

The provost of Imperial College, Ian Walmsley, opened the evening with a warm welcome to attendees, both present in person and joining virtually from around the globe. He highlighted the importance of the occasion in honouring Professor Salam’s work and the unveiling of the newly-named Abdus Salam Library, alongside an exhibition showcasing artefacts from his life and career. Walmsley’s remarks underscored Professor Salam’s multifaceted legacy, not only in advancing our understanding of the fundamental forces of nature but also in fostering international collaboration and inclusivity within the scientific community.

The event’s lectures illuminated various facets of Professor Salam’s work and its ongoing impact. Professor Atish Dabholkar, director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) founded by Professor Salam, spoke on “joining forces” to unify nature and unite the world—a theme resonant with Professor Salam’s vision of science as a bridge across cultural and national divides. Dabholkar’s lecture delved into Professor Salam’s contributions to theoretical physics, including his work on the unification of fundamental forces, and the ICTP’s role in embodying Professor Salam’s commitment to global scientific cooperation.

Professor Brian Cox, renowned for his ability to make complex scientific concepts accessible, focused on the essence of Professor Salam’s contributions to the standard model of particle physics and the principle of symmetry in nature.

The event drew to a thought-provoking close with an engaging question-and-answer session, where attendees delved deeper into the themes of the evening alongside the distinguished professors.

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