Abdus Salam

Abdus Salam, KBE ( Urdu عبد السلام, ʿ Abd as- DMG Salām; born January 29, 1926 in Jhang, Punjab, British India, now Pakistan, † November 21, 1996 in Oxford, England) was a Pakistani physicist and Nobel laureate. He was the first Muslim and so far only Pakistani Nobel laureate. He belonged to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat.

  • 3.1 honorary doctorates


Early years

At the age of only 14 Salam scored the highest ever grade point average for enrollment at the University of the Punjab. First Salam studied at the University of Punjab (Government of Punjab College, Lahore ) mathematics. As early as 1943 was his first release in which he stated an improved solution of a nonlinear algebraic equation system with which Ramanujan had already employed.

Beginning of the academic career

In 1946, he managed the Master's degree thanks to a scholarship. In the same year he received a scholarship to St John's College, Cambridge and shifted its focus here on the Field Physics. He succeeded in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics with a "Double First Class Honour ". After his successful graduation, he received his doctorate in 1952 in Nicholas Kemmer in theoretical physics. With Kemmers doctoral Paul Taunton Matthews, he worked from the late 1940s through renormalization closely together and accompanied him also in 1949 to Princeton University. After graduation, he returned to Pakistan, where he taught first at the State College of Lahore and then at the University of Punjab. Since he was there scientific isolation, but Salam decided to go back to Cambridge, where he was a lecturer. In 1957 he became professor of theoretical physics at Imperial College London. His PhD in Cambridge include John Moffat and Robert Shaw ( 1955), which was an independent discoverer of the Yang-Mills theory, and at Imperial College, the Israeli co-discoverer of quarks Yuval Neeman (Imperial College, London, 1961), the mathematical physicist Ray Streater (1960), Ali Chamseddine, Christopher Isham and Michael Duff.


Disappointed by his experiences in the Pakistani universities, founded in 1964, the Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics ( ICTP ) in Trieste (Italy ); his native Pakistan had shown no interest in such an academic institution. An important objective of this research is the better promotion of young scientists from developing countries. Salam was the director of this institution, and was from 1993 until his death honorary member of the line. Today, the center operates under the auspices of UNESCO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Death and commemoration

Abdus Salam died on 21 November 1996 at the age of 70 years in Oxford, England from Parkinson 's disease. He was - buried in Rabwah on the cemetery Bahishti Maqbara - without any official assessment. As a faithful member of the outlawed within Pakistan as non-Muslim Ahmadiyya community Salam 's been bestowed an honor as the first Nobel Laureate of the country only once, on the part of the Pakistani government: in 1979, when he by President Zia ul- Haq with the highest civilian government orders Nishan -i - Imtiaz Award. Its scientific influence, however, was pushed back in his home country of sectarian intolerance (1974 Exclusion of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community from the decision by the Pakistan National Assembly ) aware. On his grave stone was formerly "First Muslim Nobel Laureate " (first Muslim Nobel Laureate ) to read. Later, the term " Muslim " has been deleted, so that today "First Nobel Laureate " is on his grave stone on the initiative of a local politician.

In Pakistan, the Abdus Salam Centre of Mathematical Sciences is named at the Government College University in Lahore after him.


In the 1950s he worked on renormalization theory in quantum electrodynamics ( QED), where he scored from his time in Cambridge partly in collaboration with Matthews progress in the difficult problem of overlapping divergences in the Feynman diagrams, a problem that the case with Freeman Dyson in his proof renormalizability was left open. He also certain other field theories, this time for particles of the strong interaction ( Mesonenfeldtheorien ), which are modeled after the renormalizable QED. Since many of the proposed theories were non- renormalizable, then they sought other ways to a theory of strong interactions, for example, via dispersion relations, and also made ​​important contributions Salam.

Around the same time with Chen Ning Yang and Tsung- Dao Lee, he suggested the parity violation of the weak interaction, which he though initially by Wolfgang Pauli was ( as before by Rudolf Peierls in Birmingham) is an end of speaking, which is why Lee and Yang parity violation published first. He put the same on a VA theory of the interaction of neutrinos with electrons and muons before, as it was introduced more generally for the weak interaction of hadrons and shortly thereafter by Richard Feynman, Gell-Mann and Robert Marshak and Sudarshan. Even then, he developed ideas for a unified electroweak theory (which is already a Yang-Mills theory and heavy gauge bosons with spin 1 used ), although still the to the unresolved at that time before the invention of the Higgs mechanism contradiction of gauge invariance and the mass then vector gauge bosons failed. He collaborated with John Clive Ward. In 1963 he was involved in the development of theories of spontaneous symmetry breaking ( the co-inventor of the Higgs mechanism TWB Kibble was a colleague at Imperial College), for example, in a work with Jeffrey Goldstone and Steven Weinberg (who was a year at Imperial College), where they made the Goldstonetheorem proven: that such a spontaneous symmetry breaking is associated with the occurrence of massless particles. The final later SU (2) x U (1) theory of the electroweak interaction, for which he received the Nobel Prize, he developed independently in 1967 by Steven Weinberg. In 1979, the two scientists shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for this research with Sheldon Lee Glashow. Salam developed in 1974 with Jogesh Pati one of the first GOOD that should unite the electroweak with the strong interaction ( quantum chromodynamics ). In the cited work with Pati of 1974, he also introduced Präon models ( and the name Präon ), ie models in which quarks and leptons are composed of more fundamental fermions. With John Strathdee he introduced in 1974 as first the concept of superspace in supersymmetry one, a space not only with the usual commuting coordinates but also with anticommuting.

With Strathdee in 1969, he developed non-linear representations of the Poincaré group and treated solution method for field theories with nichtpolynomialer interaction.


Salam received numerous honorary degrees in his scientific career. He was a member of the Royal Society and the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (Islamabad ). In 1978 he received the Royal Medal of the Royal Society.

Honorary doctorates