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Pakistan To Rename Physics Center After Nobel Laureate Who Emigrated In Protest

A portrait of Pakistan's only Nobel laureate Professor Abdus Salam at the state-run school where he received his early education in the town of Jhang (file).

Pakistan's prime minister has given approval "in principle" to renaming a physics research center in Islamabad after pioneering physicist Abdus Salam, the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize in a scientific discipline.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office said on December 5 that he had asked the Education Ministry to submit formal paperwork to redesignate the National Center for Physics at Quaid-i-Azam University for President Mamnoon Hussain’s approval.

It would be called the Professor Abdus Salam Center for Physics.

The prime minister cited the "great contributions" of the winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics as "a major figure in...20th century theoretical physics."

Salam was also a senior science adviser to the Pakistani government from 1960 to 1974, and played a pivotal role in the development of nuclear energy and the atomic-bomb project in Pakistan.

But he left his homeland in 1974 to protest the Pakistani parliament's declaration that he and fellow members of the Ahmadiyya religious minority were non-Muslims.

Salam never returned to live in Paksitan but continued to engage with and advise academics from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

He died in 1996.