Pakistan Ignores Legacy of Physicist Linked to Higgs Boson Research

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The world of physics has been agog in recent weeks over something called the Higgs Boson particle, also known as the “God particle.” One of the scientists who laid the groundwork for these recent breakthroughs was physicist Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s only Nobel Laureate. His work on what’s called the Standard Model of particle physics provided the theoretical framework for today’s most exciting physics research.

However, Salam's legacy remains largely ignored in Pakistan. In 1974 the Pakistani parliament amended the constitution to declare that members of the Ahamdi sect — including Salam — were not considered Muslims. Salam left the country and his name was stricken from Pakistani textbooks.

Pervez Hoodbhoy, a Pakistani physicist who worked with Salam, looks back on his country's fraught relationship with his colleague.