STAFF REPORT ISLAMABAD: Pakistans academic circles as well as science and physics sector have received a major blow with the sudden demise of Prof. Dr. Riazuddin, a classified Pakistani theoretical physicist and an eminent scientist, specialized in high-energy physics and nuclear physics.
Prof. Dr. Riazuddin, who died on September 9, was majorly known for his prominent and leading role as theoretical physicist in Pakistan. He was widely credited as one of the early pioneers of the countrys nuclear weapons development where he, along with his mentor and fatherlike teacher, Dr. Abdus Salam, had formed Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). At the TPG, he was credited for designing the theoretical and mathematical design of Pakistans nuclear weapons. That is why he was called as “Edward Teller of Pakistan” even though he did not care for the title.
He carried out his international and leading-edge research from International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), PAEC, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and Daresbury Laboratory where he published important papers in mathematics and physics.
He started his scientific research in physics in 1958. In 1959 he was awarded a PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics from Cambridge University, UK.
Dr. Riazuddin was ranked as one of the early pioneers of Pakistans atomic deterrence development when he was the director of the Theoretical Physics Department of the PAEC from 1974 till 1984.
Besides, his major contribution in the science field research, he devised the track for national education. He authored 13 scientific books on different topics of physics including particle physics, quantum mechanics and need of contemporary physics.
He had a wider international exposure both as an academician and science researcher. He remained associated with a number of international universities including King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Sudia Arabia, University of Iowa, VPI and State University Blacksburg, USA, International Center for Theroetical Physics, Italy, PAEC, and Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory, UK.
In 1979, Prof. Dr. Riazuddin was awarded Gold Medal jointly with Fayyazuddin of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences for outstanding research work in Physical Sciences. In 1980, 1990 and 1999 he was also conferred Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and the Hilal-i-Imtiaz by the government of Pakistan. He was the winner of the 13 Khawarizmi International Award (First Prize) in 2000 besides the UNESCO Albort Einstein Gold Medal for Fundamental Science.
Academicians, scholars, researchers and scientists hold high esteem for Dr. Riazuddin terming his demise as an irreparable loss for the countrys academic as well as research fields.
“With the death of Prof. Riazuddin, a glorious chapter of Pakistans excellence in physical sciences has been closed,” said Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, the Executive Director COMSATS.
He said that Dr. Riazuddin was the most well-known physicist of Pakistan after Abdus Salam, under whose supervision he had earned Ph.D degree from Cambridge University in 1959. He dominated the scientific scene in Pakistan for over 40 years, leaving behind a rich legacy of world-class teaching and research, publications of high quality text books and building of institutions, Dr. Imtinan maintained.
In his remarks, Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation, Dr. Manzoor Soomro, termed Prof. Riazuddin the beacon of light for academicians as well as researchers in Pakistan mainly due to his leading contributions. “Dr. Riazuddin throughout his professional life worked selflessly and devised the track for research especially in science,” said Dr. Soomro.
“Dr. Riazuddin spent an academically dynamic life and remained active in research throughout his professional life,” remarked Dr. Hamid Saleem adding his loss will be mourned in the scientific circles of the world and remembered as the end of an era of Pakistans scientific and technical achievements.