Samar Mubarakmand

Samar Mubarakmand, NI, HI, SI, FPAS  born 17 September 1942), is a Pakistani nuclear physicist known for his research in gamma spectroscopy and experimental development of the linear accelerator.[citation needed]He came to public attention as the director of the team responsible for the performing the country’s first and successful atomic tests (see Chagai-I and Chagai-II) in the Chagai weapon testing laboratories, located in the Balochistan Province of Pakistan.[1] Prior to that, he was the project director of the integrated missile programme and supervised the development of first Shaheen-I missile program in 1995. He was also the founding chairman of Nescom from 2001 until 2007. He was subsequently appointed by the government to assist the Thar coalfield project


Samar Mubarakmand was born in Rawalpindi, Punjab Province of the British Indian Empire, on 17 September 1942.[2] He earned his education from Lahore and matriculated from the St. Anthony’s High School in 1956.[2] After passing the university entrance exams, he enrolled at the Physics Department of Government College University where he studied physics under RM Chaudhry. He earned his undergraduate, B.Sc. degree, in Physics in 1958, and entered in the post-graduate school of Government College University. He conducted his research at the High Tension Laboratory (HTL), and his master’s thesis contained the detail work on the construction and development of the Gamma ray spectrometer.[citation needed] His master’s thesis was supervised under the close collaboration of RM Chaudhry and subsequently awarded the M.Sc. in Nuclear physics in 1962 from Government College University.[citation needed]
In 1962, he won a doctoral scholarship and commenced doctoral research at Oxford University. At Oxford, he studied Compton scattering and the dynamical theory of Gamma spectroscopy with Shaukat Hameed Khan. After his long doctoral research, he submitted his doctoral thesis on experimental nuclear physics and was awarded his PhD in experimental nuclear physics from the University of Oxford in 1966 under the renowned nuclear physicist D. H. Wilkinson.[3] During his time in Oxford, Mubarakmand closely collaborated and studied with Shaukat Hameed Khan at the Physics Department, learning about the Linear accelerators, and after returning to Pakistan he built one.[4] At Oxford, he was part of the team that commissioned a 22 million volt atomic accelerator.[4] After returning to Pakistan, Mubarakmand was posted by the government at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in 1966.[4]

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)

1971 war and atomic bomb project

In January 1972, Mubarakmand was assigned to Ishfaq Ahmad‘s Nuclear Physics Division where he immersed himself in work on the project’s physics calculations in implosion method, and mathematical multiplication involved in nuclear fission.[citation needed] In 1974, on the advise of Abdus Salam, the PAEC had formed the Fast Neutron Physics Group, and had impressed Ahmad enough to be made a group’s founding director.[5] As a junior physicist, he was the greater part of his work was to conclude the calculation of neutron energy‘s distributive ranges and power produced by the neutrons, after the detonation process.[citation needed] In September 1973, Mubarakmand then began the work on simultaneity, key calculations involving to investigate detonation of the weapon from several points at the same time, but the calculations were distributed among the Mathematics group under Asghar Qadir, and the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) under Abdus Salam and Riazuddin as it felt that the calculations would be better off, as it involved complex mathematical and physics applications of Einstein‘s Special and General relativity.[citation needed] Later, Mubarakmand assisted in developing the first high performance supercomputing programs at the PAEC.[citation needed]
In 1978, Mubarakmand led the construction of a nuclear and particle linear accelerator, and the neutron generator at the secret Pinstech Laboratory. In 1980, Mubaramand was elevated as the director of the diagnostic group that was charged with the test teams, and was made responsible for the countdown for the detonation of the weapon.[citation needed] On March 11 of 1983, Mubarakmand was one of the few scientists that were invited to eye-witnessed the cold test of theoretically designed weapon, codename Kirana-I.[citation needed] Mubarakmand led the countdown of the weapon while TPG and MPG calculated the yield.[citation needed] In 1987, Mubarakmand was transferred to the Directorate for Technical Development(DTD) — a secret directorate to develop explosive lenses and triggering mechanism for the fission weapon.[citation needed] There, along with Hafeez Qureshi, Mubarakmand provided the technical assistance to the engineers there. At Pinstech Laboratory, Mubarakmand built another nuclear accelerator to conduct studies of an explosion process in a fission weapon. For his own role in the project and DTD, Mubarakmand later concluded: “Engineer people (referring to Hafeez Qureshi and Zaman Sheikh), at DTD, were really smart. They were trained very thoroughly in the development of a weapon’s necessary materials at very low cost.”[citation needed]
Mubarakmand first visited in Chagai Hills in 1981, along with Ishfaq Ahmad and other scientists from different divisions.[6] In 1998, in the absence of Ishfaq Ahmad, Mubarakmand had briefly directed then-Prime minister Nawaz Sharif as he was first responsible for the preparations of tests. However, after Ishfaq Ahmad arrived, Mubarakmand was made responsible for the preparations of the tests.[6] In May 28, 1998, Mubarakmand led the countdown of tests — codename Chagai-I — in Ras Koh Hills of Chagai region.[6] On May 30, Ishfaq Ahmad received permission from the Prime minister, and Mubarakmand led the a very small team of academic scientists that supervised the country’s plutonium fission weapon — codename Chagai-II.[6] In the 1990s, he served as the Director General of National Defence Complex, another Pakistani organization shrouded in secrecy.[citation needed] On a day when Mubarakmand was interviewed by Pakistani media host Hamid Mir on his program Capital Talk, Mubarakmand eulogized his memories and said:
I visited the first weapon-testing laboratories (WTL) at (Chagai District) for the first time in 1981…. When the science experiments were to be conducted, our science teams went there on 20th May, and again on 28th May, in the early morning, the WTL iron-steel tunnels were (electronically) plugged in and the preparation for the tests’ experiments were complete, and on 28th May, around 15:15hrs, was the time selected for testings. So, at that time, at around 14:45hrs, some of our high profiled guests arrived to witness the (science) experiments that were soon to be tests, and Qadeer Khan was also one of them…. It was the first visit of his life to any of Chagai’s Weapon-testing laboratories. (Abdul Qadeer) came at the invitation of the Chairman of the PAEC, Ishfaq Ahmad, and (Abdul Qadeer) arrived 15 minutes prior to the (science) experiments that were to be conducted…
—Samar Mubarakmand, commenting on Abdul Qadeer Khan’s role in atomic bomb project[6]
Recalling Munir Ahmad Khan and PAEC’s role and its relation to the famous atomic bomb project priority dispute, Mubarakmand later said that:
As many as nineteen steps were involved in the making of a nuclear weapon ranging from exploration of uranium to the finished device and its trigger mechanism.The technological and manpower infrastructure for eighteen out of these nineteen steps were provided by the PAEC under the leadership of Munir Ahmad Khan who led it for nearly two decades from 1972 to 1991. Today all the major key scientific organizations linked to the country’s security like the PAEC, the Kahuta Research Labs and the strategic production complex were run and operated by Pakistani professionals produced by the policies of the PAEC both under him and Usmani of producing indigenous trained manpower. Pakistan’s nuclear capability was confirmed the day in 1983 when the PAEC carried out cold nuclear tests under the guidance and stewardship of late Munir Ahmad Khan. The tests however, were not publicly announced because of the international environment of stiff sanctions against countries, which sought to acquire nuclear capability….
—Samar Mubarakmand, Eulogizing Munir Khan’s and PAEC’s role on the development of the atomic bomb project[7]

Space programme

After his active role in Pakistan’s integrated atomic bomb project, Mubarakmand took personal initiatives in the development of the space program where he largely contributed his research in computational fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and fluid physics. In Pakistan’s scientific circle, he is known as father of Pakistan’s missile program where he has reportedly been present at the flight test facilities of Pakistan.[8] In 1987, Ministry of Defence, jointly collaborating with Ministry of Science, initiated the integrated missile program, an equivalent program to India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). The government assigned the projects to be jointly led under the leadership of Samar Mubarakmand and Abdul Qadeer Khan.
In 1995, Mubarakmand became chief project coordinator of Shaheen program, and the following year, Mubarakmand was made director of the missile program. Mubarakmand’s team successfully developed the solid boosters and solid engine for Shaheen-I program. This was later followed by developing the Shaheen-II, Shaheen-III, Babur missile, and the Ghaznavi missile system.[9]
As a “Science and Technology” member at the Planning Commission of Pakistan, he has been staunch supporter of rocket science in the country. Talking to the media on August 18, 2009, Mubarakmand has Pakistan would launch its own satellite in April 2011 it made some things seem all to obvious to analyst familiar with the subject.[10]He described the satellite as being able to monitor agricultural programs, minerals programs and weather conditions and that it was funded by the Pakistani Planning Commission. He went on to say there were sufficient funds for the defense, nuclear and space programs. Whether this will be a less than 100 kg first test satellite or a much heavier satellite remains to be seen.[11].[2][dead link]
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