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By: Maxu Masood

Abdus Science

Pages: 490 Ratings:
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Abdus Salam, the subject of the book was a Pakistani scientist who shared the Physics Nobel Prize in 1979. Born in a remote, rural sunburnt country town in the outback of colonial Punjab, he made it to the forefront of theoretical physics. Abdus Salam compartmentalised his studies of physics, politics, religion, and family.

Although his life in physics has been sufficiently covered, few have extensively studied his life and engagement in other fields. He served military regimes and was closely associated with the birth of nuclear expertise in Pakistan where his membership of the schismatic Ahmadiyah community marginalised him. His working life was divided between London’s Imperial College and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.

His fans perceive him as a victim of religious bigotry but, on his part, he did not seem to exercise scientific detachment in religion. Abdus Salam had two wives. His second wife, Louise Johnson (1940-2012), was a leading Molecular Biologist who served as Professor Emeritus in Oxford University; and it remains an awkward question as to how the two managed bigamy in Europe. Abdus Salam validated the Judaic-Muslim prohibition of pig meat and went as far as judging people who consumed pork as ‘shameless’ like the beast itself. A substantial amount of information provided in the book is supported by direct one-to-one interviews the author of the book conducted with Abdus Salam in 1984.

Born in the ancient town of Sialkot, in Punjab, Maxu Masood obtained a master’s in Pakistan Studies and then worked as a journalist in Islamabad and London. He co-authored The Khalistan Riddle with a Canadian social scientist, Dr Peter Stockdale. Set against the background of military operation in the Golden Temple of Amritsar and the subsequent assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the book offered valuable insight into the rise of Sikh separatism in India. From 1987 to 1996, Maxu served as Political Assistant to the Australian High Commission in Islamabad. Functionally, the position aimed at watching, from a closer range, the march of current political affairs in the region at a time when the Soviet Union pulled out of Afghanistan and the Taliban took control of Kabul; there was militancy in Kashmir and Pakistan hurried to acquire nuclear capability. While Maxu toyed with the idea of returning back to journalism, his wife, a Molecular Geneticist, aspired to seek environment conducive to her career in scientific teaching and research. With their son, the couple migrated to Australia towards the end of 1996. Arrival and settlement in Sydney turned out to be an amazing voyage from the world defined by the coarseness of religious fervour into that of utter racism concealed beneath elegance of courtesy. Maxu survived the test by serving a spate of low-key unglamorous positions in public and private sectors.

Maxu Masood is contactable at

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