Dr. Mahbub-ul-Haq

Mahbub-ul-Haq  February 24, 1934 – July 16, 1998; PhD, FPAS), was a game theorist, economist, and professor of Microeconomics at the University of Karachi. He was involved in the human development theory (HDP), and the founder of the Human Development Report (HDR). According to Haq’s 1996 book Reflections on Human Development his work also opened new avenues to policy proposals for human development paradigms, such as the 20:20 Global Compact and the setting up of the UN Economic Security Council that became the inspiration for the establishment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council

Childhood and education (His Teenage)

Mahbub-ul-Haq and muhammad zeeshan was very close friends and zeeshan was born in pre-partition Punjab state on February 24, 1934.[2] His teenage years saw the religious violence in India associated with the partition of the subcontinent in August 1947.[2] He and his family narrowly escaped from being butchered in one of the trains heading to Pakistan. The nature of the sectarian violence left a lasting impression on Mahbub-ul-Haq.[2] After reaching Lahore, Haq was given government-sponsored housing and decided to continue his education. In 1954, he applied and was accepted at the Punjab University where he enrolled in the social sciences department.[2]
In 1958 he earned BS in Economics and earned scholarship to resume his studies in Great Britain.[2] He went on to attend Cambridge University where he earned another BA in the same discipline.[2] At Cambridge, Haq gained his BA alongside Amartya Sen, with whom he formed a close, lifelong friendship.[2] After renewing his scholarship, Haq went to United States for his doctoral studies where American economics system would later influence him for his long advocacy for capitalism. He entered in doctoral programme of Yale University and earned PhD in Economics from Yale, which was followed by post-doctoral work at Harvard University.[2] After completing his post-doctoral studies, Haq returned to his country to join the government service.

Government work

Upon returning to Pakistan, Haq joined the Planning Commission and, while still in his 20s, he became chief economist of Planning Commission.[3] He maintained his ties with Finance Ministry and continued serving as economist advisor to the government of Pakistan.[3]By the 1960s he was delivering speeches all over the country. He supported the policies of President Ayub Khan.[4] Haq advocated capitalism as the economic base of the national economy and helped guide the government to apply free-market principles to boost the economy.[4] In a public press conference in 1965, Haq alleged that “22 industrial family groups had come to dominate the economic and financial life-cycle of Pakistan and that they controlled about two-thirds of industrial assets, 80% of banking and 79% of insurance assets in the industrial domain.”[4] The rapid economic development made Haq’s team doubt the long-term viability of such a pattern of growth. While the international community was applauding Pakistan as a model of development, Haq reserved the concerns and raises questions that all was not well with the distribution of benefits of growth.[4]
 It came as a surprise to Haq that the strong oligarchy of 22 families had control of the national economy and the private sector.[4] While supporting add taxation of the powerful oligarch families, Haq left the country in 1971, just before the 1971 war that led the secession of East-Pakistan into Bangladesh.[5]While in the United Kingdom, Haq was called by Bhutto to join the Ministry of Finance, but ultimately refused as he had strong opposing views on socialist economics. Bhutto, in response, began to attack the powerful oligarch families in a programme of nationalization.[5] In 1973 Bhutto again asked Mahbub to return to Pakistan and join his administration in devising a strategy that would lift a large number of Pakistanis out of poverty and stagflation, but ideological differences persuaded Haq not to return.[5]In 1982 Haq returned at the request of General Zia-ul-Haq, and assumed charge of the Ministry of Finance. He became associated with the Ministry of Defence, where he would go onto play an important role. He was the first chairman of the Executive Committee of the Space Research Commission and assisted in the nuclear weapon policy of the country with Munir Ahmad Khan.

Professional career

Haq also served as the World Bank‘s Director of Policy Planning (1970–1982) and headed Pakistan’s Finance Ministry as its minister of finance and planning (1982–1988). In 1989, he was appointed as Special Advisor to the UNDP Administrator, where he led a team of international scholars to produce the first Human Development Report.[6]

World Bank (1970-1982)

During his tenure at the World Bank (1970–82), Haq influenced the Bank’s development philosophy and lending policies, steering more attention towards poverty alleviation programmes and increased allocations for small farm production, nutrition, education, water supply and other social sectors. He wrote a study[7] that served as a precursor to the basic needs and human development approaches of the 1980s.

Minister of Finance, Pakistan (1982-1988)

Serving as Pakistan’s Minister of Finance, Planning and Commerce (1982–88), Dr. Haq is credited with significant tax reforms, deregulation of the economy, increased emphasis on human development and several initiatives for poverty alleviation. According to Parvez Hasan ‘under Mahbub’s direction, the Planning Commission became once again a lively place and began to exert powerful influence on social sector issues, including education and family planning, much neglected in earlier Zia years – as Finance Minister, Mahbub piloted a major acceleration in social spending‘.[8]

Advisor to united nations development programme(UNDP) (1989-1995)

In his capacity as Special Advisor to UNDP Administrator, Haq initiated the concept of Human Development and the Human Development Report as its Project Director. He gathered Paul Streeten, Inge Kaul, Frances Stewart, Amartya Sen, and Richard Jolly to prepare annual Human Development Reports.

Establishment of Human Development Center (1996)

In 1996, Haq founded the Human Development Center in Islamabad, Pakistan-a policy research institute committed to organizing professional research, policy studies and seminars in the area of human development, with a special focus on the South Asian region.


Haq originated the Human Development Index, which has become one of the most influential and widely used indices to measure human development across countries. The HDI has been used since 1990 by the United Nations Development Programme for its annual Human Development Reports. He also gave 5 year plan to South Korea which helped South Korea to progress rapidly.


Haq died on July 16, 1998 in New York, leaving behind his wife Khadija Haq, son Farhan, and daughter Toneema. In acknowledgement of his contributions, the Human Development Centre, Islamabad was officially renamed the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre on December 13, 1998, with Mrs. Khadija Haq as president.

Tributes from UN

  • ‘Mahbub ul Haq’s untimely death is a loss to the world …’, Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General.
  • ‘… probably more than anyone else, (Mahbub) provided the intellectual impetus for the Bank’s commitment to poverty reduction in the early 1970s.[…]His unique contributions were trend setters for the world and focused attention on the South Asian social realities, urging all of us to look at the dark corners of our social milieus’. James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank.

The Mahbub ul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development

In honour of Haq, UNDP established this award that alternates between recognizing political and civil society leaders. Recipients include:[9]

Selected works

  • The Strategy of Economic Planning (1963)
  • The Poverty Curtain: Choices for the Third World (1976). Columbia University Press. 247 pages. ISBN 0-231-04062-8
  • The Myth of the Friendly Markets (1992)
  • Reflections on Human Development (1996) Oxford University Press. 1st edition (1996): 288 pages, ISBN 0-19-510193-6. 2nd edition (1999): 324 pages, ISBN 0-19-564598-7
  • The UN And The Bretton Woods Institutions : New Challenges For The Twenty-First Century / Edited By Mahbub Ul Haq … [Et Al.] (1995)
  • The Vision and the Reality (1995)
  • The Third World and the international economic order (1976)
  • New Imperatives of Human Security (1995)
  • A New Framework for Development Cooperation (1995)
  • Humanizing Global Institutions (1998).[1] 
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Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus  is a Bangladeshi banker, economist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. As a professor of economics, he developed the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. These loans are given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. In 2006 Yunus and Grameen Bank received the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts through microcredit to create economic and social development from below”.[2] Yunus has received several other national and international honours. He was awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal in 2010, and presented with it at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on 17 April 2013.[3]In 2008, he was rated #2 in Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers’.[4]In February 2011, Yunus together with Saskia Bruysten, Sophie Eisenmann and Hans Reitz co-founded Yunus Social Business – Global Initiatives (YSB).
YSB creates and empowers social businesses to address and solve social problems around the world. As the international implementation arm for Yunus’ vision of a new, humane capitalism, YSB manges Incubator Funds for social businesses in developing countries and providing advisory services to companies, governments, foundations and NGOs. In 2012, he became Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland.[5][6] He is a member of the advisory board at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. Previously, he was a professor of economics at Chittagong University in Bangladesh. He published several books related to his finance work. He is a founding board member of Grameen America and Grameen Foundation, which support microcredit. Yunus also serves on the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation, a public charity created in 1998 by American philanthropist Ted Turner’s $1 billion gift to support UN causes.[7]In March 2011, the Bangladesh government fired Yunus from his position at Grameen Bank, citing legal violations and an age limit on his position.[8] Bangladesh’s High Court affirmed the removal on 8 March. Yunus and Grameen Bank are appealing the decision, claiming Yunus’ removal was politically motivated.

Early years

The third of nine children,[9] Yunus was born on 28 June 1940 to a Muslim family in the village of Bathua, by the Boxirhat Road in Hathazari, Chittagong, in the British Raj (modern Bangladesh).[10][11] His father was Hazi Dula Mia Shoudagar, a jeweler, and his mother was Sufia Khatun. His early childhood was spent in the village. In 1944, his family moved to the city of Chittagong, and he moved from his village school to Lamabazar Primary School.[10][12] By 1949, his mother was afflicted with psychological illness.[11] Later, he passed the matriculation examination from Chittagong Collegiate School ranking 16th of 39,000 students in East Pakistan.[12] During his school years, he was an active Boy Scout, and travelled to West Pakistan and India in 1952, and to Canada in 1955 to attend Jamborees.[12] Later while Yunus studied at Chittagong College, he became active in cultural activities and won awards for drama.[12] In 1957, he enrolled in the Department of Economics at Dhaka University and completed his BA in 1960 and MA in 1961.

After graduation

After his graduation, Yunus joined the Bureau of Economics as a research assistant to the economics researches of Professor Nurul Islam and Rehman Sobhan.[12] Later, he was appointed lecturer in economics in Chittagong College in 1961.[12] During that time, he also set up a profitable packaging factory on the side.[11] in 1965, he received a Fulbright scholarship to study in the United States. He obtained his PhD in economics from the Vanderbilt University Graduate Program in Economic Development (GPED) in 1971.[13] From 1969 to 1972, Yunus was assistant professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.
During the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Yunus founded a citizen’s committee and ran the Bangladesh Information Center, with other Bangladeshis in the United States, to raise support for liberation.[12] He also published the Bangladesh Newsletter from his home in Nashville. After the War, he returned to Bangladesh and was appointed to the government’s Planning Commission headed by Nurul Islam. However, he found the job boring and resigned to join Chittagong University as head of the Economics department.[14] After observing the famine of 1974, he became involved in poverty reduction and established a rural economic program as a research project. In 1975, he developed a Nabajug (New Era) Tebhaga Khamar (three share farm) which the government adopted as the Packaged Input Programme.[12] In order to make the project more effective, Yunus and his associates proposed the Gram Sarkar (the village government) programme.[15] Introduced by president Ziaur Rahman in the late 1970s, the Government formed 40,392 village governments as a fourth layer of government in 2003. On 2 August 2005, in response to a petition by Bangladesh Legal Aids and Services Trust (BLAST) the High Court had declared village governments illegal and unconstitutional.[16]

Early career

In 1976, during visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University, Yunus discovered that very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person. Village women who made bamboo furniture had to take usurious loans to buy bamboo, and repay their profits to the lenders. Traditional banks did not want to make tiny loans at reasonable interest to the poor due to high risk of default.[17] But Yunus believed that, given the chance, the poor will repay the money and hence microcredit was a viable business model.[18] Yunus lent US$27 of his money to 42 women in the village, who made a profit of BDT 0.50 (US$0.02) each on the loan. Thus Yunus is credited with the idea of microcredit alongside Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan, founder of the Pakistan Academy for Rural Development (now Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development), whom Yunus greatly admired.[19]
In December 1976, Yunus finally secured a loan from the government Janata Bank to lend to the poor in Jobra. The institution continued to operate, securing loans from other banks for its projects. By 1982, it had 28,000 members. On 1 October 1983, the pilot project began operation as a full-fledged bank for poor Bangladeshis and was renamed Grameen Bank (“Village Bank”). Yunus and his colleagues encountered everything from violent radical leftists to conservative clergy who told women that they would be denied a Muslim burial if they borrowed money from Grameen.[11] By July 2007, Grameen had issued US$6.38 billion to 7.4 million borrowers.[20] To ensure repayment, the bank uses a system of “solidarity groups”. These small informal groups apply together for loans and its members act as co-guarantors of repayment and support one another’s efforts at economic self-advancement.[15]
In the late 1980s, Grameen started to diversify by attending to underutilized fishing ponds and irrigation pumps like deep tube wells.[21] In 1989, these diversified interests started growing into separate organizations. The fisheries project became Grameen Motsho (“Grameen Fisheries Foundation”) and the irrigation project became Grameen Krishi (“Grameen Agriculture Foundation”).[21] In time, the Grameen initiative grew into a multi-faceted group of profitable and non-profit ventures, including major projects like Grameen Trust and Grameen Fund, which runs equity projects like Grameen Software Limited, Grameen CyberNet Limited, and Grameen Knitwear Limited,[22] as well as Grameen Telecom, which has a stake in Grameenphone (GP), the biggest private phone company in Bangladesh.[23] From its start in March 1997 to 2007, GP’s Village Phone (Polli Phone) project had brought cell-phone ownership to 260,000 rural poor in over 50,000 villages.[24]
The success of the Grameen microfinance model inspired similar efforts in about 100 developing countries and even in developed countries including the United States.[25] Many microcredit projects retain Grameen’s emphasis of lending to women. More than 94% of Grameen loans have gone to women, who suffer disproportionately from poverty and who are more likely than men to devote their earnings to their families.[26]For his work with Grameen, Yunus was named an Ashoka: Innovators for the Public Global Academy Member in 2001.[27] In the book[28] Grameen Social Business Model, [4] Rashidul Bari shows how Grameen’s social business model (GSBM)- has gone from being theory to an inspiring practice adopted by leading universities (e.g., Glasgow), entrepreneurs (e.g., Franck Riboud) and corporations (e.g., Danone) across the globe. Through Grameen Bank, Rashidul Bari claims [5] that Yunus demonstrated how Grameen Social Business Model can harness the entrepreneurial spirit to empower poor women and alleviate their poverty. One conclusion from Yunus’ concepts is that the poor are like a “bonsai tree”, and they can do big things if they get access to the social business that holds potential to empower them to become self-sufficient.


Muhammad Yunus was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Grameen Bank, for their efforts to create economic and social development. In the prize announcement The Norwegian Nobel Committee mentioned:[2]
Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries. Loans to poor people without any financial security had appeared to be an impossible idea. From modest beginnings three decades ago, Yunus has, first and foremost through Grameen Bank, developed micro-credit into an ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty.
Muhammad Yunus was the first Bangladeshi to ever get a Nobel Prize. After receiving the news of the important award, Yunus announced that he would use part of his share of the $1.4 million award money to create a company to make low-cost, high-nutrition food for the poor; while the rest would go toward setting up an eye hospital for the poor in Bangladesh.[29]Former U.S. president Bill Clinton was a vocal advocate for the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Muhammed Yunus. He expressed this in Rolling Stone magazine[30] as well as in his autobiography My Life.[31] In a speech given at University of California, Berkeley in 2002, President Clinton described Dr. Yunus as “a man who long ago should have won the Nobel Prize [and] I’ll keep saying that until they finally give it to him.”[32] Conversely, The Economist stated explicitly that Yunus was a poor choice for the award, stating: “…the Nobel committee could have made a braver, more difficult, choice by declaring that there would be no recipient at all.”[33]
He is one of only seven persons to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom,[34] and the Congressional Gold Medal.[35] Other notable awards include the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1984,[36] the World Food Prize,[37] the International Simon Bolivar Prize (1996),[38] the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord[39] and the Sydney Peace Prize in 1998,[40] and the Seoul Peace Prize in 2006. Additionally, Dr. Yunus has been awarded 50 honorary doctorate degrees from universities across 20 countries, and 113 international awards from 26 different countries including state honours from 10 countries.[41] Bangladesh government brought out a commemorative stamp to honour his Nobel Award.[42]
Professor Yunus was named by Fortune Magazine in March 2012 as one of 12 greatest entrepreneurs of the current era.[43] In its citation, Fortune Magazine said ″Yunus’ idea inspired countless numbers of young people to devote themselves to social causes all over the world.″In January 2012, Professor Yunus featured in “Transformative Entrepreneurs: How Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Muhammad Yunus and Other Innovators Succeeded” a book by Jeffrey Harris[disambiguation needed].[44]Professor Yunus was named “Nobel-Laureate-in-Residence” at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia) on 15 July 2011.[45]
Professor Yunus delivered the Seventh Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.[46]In January 2008, Houston, Texas declared 14 January as “Muhammad Yunus Day”.[47]On 15 May 2010, Yunus gave the commencement speech at Rice University for the graduating class of 2010. On 16 May 2010, Yunus gave the commencement speech at Duke University for the graduating class of 2010. During this ceremony, he was also awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters. Professor Yunus was invited and gave the Wharton School of Business commencement address on 17 May 2009,[48] the MIT commencement address on 6 June 2008,[49] Adam Smith Lecture at Glasgow University on 1 December 2008[50] and Oxford’s Romanes Lecture on 2 December 2008.[51]
He received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service from the Eisenhower Fellowships at a ceremony in Philadelphia on 21 May 2009. He was also voted 2nd in Prospect Magazines 2008 global poll of the world’s top 100 intellectuals.[52]Yunus was named among the most desired thinkers the world should listen to by the FP 100 (world’s most influential elite) in the December 2009 issue of Foreign Policy magazine.[53] On 1 March 2010, Yunus was awarded the prestigious Presidential Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. This is the highest honour available from the University.
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Piri Reis

Piri Reis (full name Hacı Ahmed Muhiddin PiriHajji Ahmed Muhiddin Piri, Ahmed ibn-i el-Hac Mehmed El Karamani; Reis was a Turkish military rank akin to that of captain) was an Ottoman admiral, geographer and cartographer born between 1465 and 1470. He died in 1553.[1]He is primarily known today for his maps and charts collected in his Kitab-ı Bahriye (Book of Navigation), a book that contains detailed information on navigation, as well as very accurate charts (for their time) describing the important ports and cities of the Mediterranean Sea. He gained fame as a cartographer when a small part of his first world map (prepared in 1513) was discovered in 1929 at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. His world map is the oldest known Turkish atlas showing the New World, and one of the oldest maps of America still in existence anywhere (the oldest known map of America that is still in existence is the map drawn by Juan de la Cosa in 1500). Piri Reis’ map is centered on the Sahara at the latitude of the Tropic of Cancer.[2]
In 1528 Piri Reis drew a second world map, of which a small fragment (showing Greenland and North America from Labrador and Newfoundland in the north to Florida, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and parts of Central America in the south) still survives. For many years, little was known about the identity of Piri Reis. His name, roughly translated, means Captain Piri.[4] Today, based on the Ottoman archives, we know that his full name was “Hadji Ahmed Muhiddin Piri”[5] and that he was born either in Gelibolu (Gallipoli) on the European part of the Ottoman Empire (in present-day Turkish Thrace),[6][7] or in Karaman (his father’s birthplace) in central Anatolia,[8] then the capital of the Beylik of Karaman (annexed by the Ottoman Empire in 1487). The exact date of his birth is unknown. The honorary and informal Islamic title Hadji (Turkish: Hacı) in Piri’s (Hadji Ahmed Muhiddin Piri) and his father’s (Hadji Mehmed Piri) names indicate that they had completed the Hajj (Islamic pilgrimage) by going to Mecca during the dedicated period of Hadjj and fulfilling the required rituals.
He was the son of Hadji Mehmed Piri, and began engaging in government-supported privateering (a common practice in the Mediterranean Sea among both the Muslim and Christian states of the 15th and 16th centuries) when he was young, in 1481, following his uncle Kemal Reis,[9] a well-known corsair and seafarer of the time, who later became a famous admiral of the Ottoman Navy.[6] During this period, together with his uncle, he took part in many naval wars of the Ottoman Empire against Spain, the Republic of Genoa and the Republic of Venice, including the First Battle of Lepanto (Battle of Zonchio) in 1499 and Second Battle of Lepanto (Battle of Modon) in 1500. When his uncle Kemal Reis died in 1511 (his ship was wrecked by a storm in the Mediterranean Sea, while he was heading to Egypt), Piri returned to Gelibolu, where he started working on his studies about navigation.
By 1516, he was again at sea as a ship’s captain in the Ottoman fleet. He took part in the 1516–17 Ottoman conquest of Egypt. In 1522 he participated in the Siege of Rhodes against the Knights of St. John, which ended with the island’s surrender to the Ottomans on 25 December 1522 and the permanent departure of the Knights from Rhodes on 1 January 1523 (the Knights relocated briefly to Sicily and later permanently to Malta). In 1524 he captained the ship that took the Ottoman Grand Vizier Pargalı İbrahim Pasha to Egypt.
In 1547, Piri had risen to the rank of Reis (admiral) as the Commander of the Ottoman Fleet in the Indian Ocean and Admiral of the Fleet in Egypt, headquartered in Suez. On 26 February 1548 he recaptured Aden from the Portuguese, followed in 1552 by the capture of Muscat, which Portugal had occupied since 1507, and the strategically important island of Kish. Turning further east, Piri Reis captured the island of Hormuz in the Strait of Hormuz, at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. When the Portuguese turned their attention to the Persian Gulf, Piri Reis occupied the Qatar peninsula and the island of Bahrain to deprive the Portuguese of suitable bases on the Arabian coast. He then returned to Egypt, an old man approaching the age of 90. When he refused to support the Ottoman Vali (Governor) of Basra, Kubad Pasha, in another campaign against the Portuguese in the northern Persian Gulf, Piri Reis was beheaded in 1553. Several warships and submarines of the Turkish Navy have been named after Piri Reis.

Kitab-ı Bahriye (Book of Navigation): 1521 and 1525

The second section is entirely composed of portolan charts and cruise guides. Each topic contains the map of an island or coastline. In the first book (1521), this section has a total of 132 portolan charts, while the second book (1525) has a total of 210 portolan charts. The second section starts with the description of the Dardanelles Strait and continues with the islands and coastlines of the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, Adriatic Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Ligurian Sea, the French Riviera, the Balearic Islands, the coasts of Spain, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, the coasts of North Africa, Egypt and the River Nile, the Levant and the coastline of Anatolia. This section also includes descriptions and drawings of the famous monuments and buildings in every city, as well as biographic information about Piri Reis who also explains the reasons why he preferred to collect these charts in a book instead of drawing a single map, which would not be able to contain so much information and detail.
A century after Piri’s death and during the second half of the 17th century, a third version of his book was produced, which left the text of the second version unaffected while enriching the cartographical part of the manuscript. It included additional new large-scale maps, mostly copies of the Italian (from Battista Agnese and Jacopo Gastaldi) and Dutch (Abraham Ortelius) works of the previous century. These maps were much more accurate and depict the Black Sea, which was not included in the original.[18]
Copies of the Kitab-ı Bahriye are found in many libraries and museums around the world: Copies of the first edition (1521) are found in the Topkapı Palace, the Nuruosmaniye Library and the Süleymaniye Library in Istanbul, the Library of the University of Bologna, the National Library of Vienna, the State Library of Dresden, the National Library of France in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Bodleian Library in Oxford and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Copies of the second edition (1525) are found in the Topkapı Palace, the Köprülüzade Fazıl Ahmed Paşa Library, the Süleymaniye Library and the National Library of France.

In popular culture

  • The Piri Reis maps are mentioned in Erich von Däniken‘s 1968 bestseller Chariots of the Gods?, Unsolved Mysteries of the Past.
  • Piri Reis features in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. In the video game set in 1511 AD, he has taken leave from the Sultan’s Navy to work on chart and map making at Constantinople. He is portrayed as a member of the Assassin Order; his greatest contribution to the game is teaching the main character Ezio Auditore how to better use Ottoman bombs.[19]
  • Piri Reis’ maps are referenced in the novel The Space Vampires, in which it states that Reis used extraterrestrial information to increase the accuracy of his maps.
  • Piri Reis appears in Koei’s Uncharted Waters: New Horizons video game. He is a recruitable NPC of Turkish Loyalty and wanders in Turkish ports until either recruited by a player or begins to command a battle fleet for the Turkish navy. His name is spelled Pilly Reis however. He is the highest level and therefore hardest NPC to recruit.. 
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Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood

Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood   born 1940;[1] (alternative spellings: Sultan Bashir-ud-Din Mehmood; SI), is a Pakistani nuclear engineer and Islamic scholar educated in Lahore, Pakistan and Manchester, United Kingdom. Bashiruddin Mahmood is widely popular in Pakistan’s scientific and religious circles for his scientific interpretation and its relation to Quran.[1] He played a vital role in the development and expansion of the country’s nuclear industry during its formative years.[1]
After a distinguish scientific career at the PAEC, he formed a right-wing organization, UTN, to promote reconstruction and political development in Afghanistan in 1999. Having being active in Afghanistan for reconstruction, he was arrested by the FIA on suspicion of having sympathy and contacts with the Talibans, as an aftermath of September 11 attacks in the United States. Released and cleared from 53-days long debriefing, he has been out of the public eye and is currently living a quiet life in Islamabad, writing books on the relationships between Islam and science. Mahmood has authored more than 15 books, both in English and Urdu, on the relationship between Islam and science

Life and education

Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood was born in Amritsar, Eastern region of British Punjab State, sometime in either 1940 or 1939.[1] After the Indian partition and the establishment of Pakistan in 1947, his parents escaped from pogroms and genocide in India[citation needed] and migrated to Pakistan and settled in a village named ‘Lagar’ near Lahore. Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood’s father, Chaudhry Sharif Khan, was a local village leader (lit. Numberdar) and put all his income to educate his eldest son who stood first in his High school and took 3rd position in the Punjab Matric Board.[1]
The government awarded him a scholarship due to which his father sent him to Government College University (GCU) where he was enrolled in Department of Pre-Engineering in 1958.[1] He stood 3rd in the higher secondary school certificate examination pre-engineering group and got admission at the University of Engineering and Technology of Lahore (UET Lahore).[1] At UET, Mahmood enrolled in College of Engineering, with majors in Electrical engineering. Mahmood studied together with Parvez Butt at UET, and in 1962, Mahmood graduated with BSc with Honors in Electrical Engineering from UET Lahore.[1]
After graduation Mahmood got a job in WAPDA which he left after one year and joined the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) as an electrical engineer in 1964.[1] He was sent to Electronics Division (ED) and was one of the pioneering member there.[2] While in PAEC, Mahmood went to Army Recruiting Center (ARC) to join the Pakistan Army, and volunteered to participate in Indo-Pakistan 1965 September war, but by the time he was to be sent to the front lines the war ended and also Dr. I. H. Usmani, the then Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, used his influence in the Government that prevented Mahmood to join the war.[1] Instead, Usmani sent Mahmood to join the Nuclear Physics Group.[2]In 1967, he went to the United Kingdom on a PAEC scholarship, and attended the University of Manchester, where he studied for his double masters degree in Nuclear Engineering and Control System Engineering. In 1969, he completed his double M.Sc. in control system engineering and nuclear engineering from the University of Manchester.[1]

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission

In late 1969, Mahmood came back to Pakistan and rejoined PAEC.[2] Before joining Pakistan’s nuclear energy programme, Mahmood was trained at the Nuclear Engineering Division of the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH). He was a distinguished member of Nuclear Physics Group (NPG) at PINSTECH, where he along with Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Hafeez Qureshi and Dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan, studied and researched in the field of Nuclear Technology.[2] During his master studies, Mahmood had read scientific reports of the “Manhattan Project” while receiving his training at the Birmingham University, where he also had an opportunity to discuss enrichment technology with scientists from South Africa, who were then exploring the jet-nozzel aerodynamic process of enrichment.[3] During this time, South Africa was clandestinely building its nuclear programme, and South-Africa was in favour to use the aerodynamic nozzle enrichment techniques to produce weapons-grade material.[3]
As Mahmood was also interested in the process, a discussion was held on how to advance this process and make it more effective in order to make better and efficient weaponised-fuel, suitable for the nuclear device.[3]He specialised in reactor technology from the United Kingdom when he was offered post-graduate research by the Manchester University, and did extensive research at British nuclear industry.[1] In 1970, Mahmood was promoted as Chief Engineer (CE) at the KANUPP-I, country’s first commercial nuclear power plant, in Karachi.[1] Mahmood working in the KANUPP-I where he had developed a scientific instrument, the SBM probe to detect leaks in steam pipes, a problem that was affecting nuclear plants all over the world and is still used worldwide.[1] At KANUPP-I, he also set up a laboratory to manufacture spare parts for the plant.[4] According to his son, Mahmood, along with other scientists and engineers, after the Indo-Pak War of 1971, and had locked himself in his room where he cried for two days over the loss of East Pakistan.[1]
Although, a junior scientist at KANUP, he was delegated at the winter seminar, known as Multan meeting on January 1972 where he personally met with Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and delivered a speech on atomic science.[1] In 1974 Munir Ahmad Khan, the then Chairman of PAEC appointed him as the director of the uranium project and began his calculations on the uranium enrichment.[1] The uranium program, although a secondary route for the atomic bomb, began its scientific research and mathematical calculations on uranium diffusion, gas-centrifuge, jet-nozzle and laser enrichment processes; he advocated the centrifuge process, as it was faster and economical.[1] A report, marked as PC-1 finalised, on the centrifuge projects was handwritten by him to maintain the secrecy and feasibility.[1] Immediately, he submitted his report to PAEC and the program was thereafter started with Mahmood being its uranium program’s director in 1974, a move that irked Qadeer Khan, who had coveted the job for himself.[3]
As early as in 1975, he collaborated with another theorist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan on conducting mathematical calculations on centrifuges, as his deputy but both developed differences.[3] His relations with Dr. A.Q. Khan remains tense, and often pictured him as “egomaniac”.[5] With the backing of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in mid 1976 Qadeer Khan had him ejected from the ERL and uranium enrichment projects. Later, Munir Ahmad Khan appointed had secured the directorship of the Directorate of Industrial Liaison (DIL) at PAEC which was created to encourage indigenization in development of nuclear-mechanical parts used in the nuclear reactors.[1]
During 1980s, he was named as the project manager of the Khushab-I; he served as the designer of the Khushab reactor, near Mianwali— a heavy water reactor that produces plutonium and Tritium.[1] Prior to 1991, he also designed and set up a nuclear fuel facility at the Punjab province. In 1988, he was promoted and became Director-General of the Directorate for the Nuclear Power (DGNP).[1] He held his position till 1999 until his resignation from PAEC due to his opposition to Pakistan’s planned signing of CTBT. After the reactor went critical in April 1998, Mahmood in an interview had said: “This reactor (can produce enough plutonium for two to three nuclear weapons per year) Pakistan had “acquired the capability to produce…. boosted thermonuclear weapons and hydrogen bombs.”[1] In 1998, following the country’s nuclear tests (See Chagai-I and Chagai-II), Mahmood was awarded the civilian decoration, the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, in a colourful ceremony by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif.[1].[1]
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Dr. Omar M. Yaghi

Dr. Omar M. Yaghi (born 1965, Amman, Jordan) is a Jordanian-American chemist, currently the James and Neeltje Tretter Chair Professor of Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley. He and his research laboratories design and produce classes of compounds now known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs),[1][2] zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs), and covalent organic frameworks (COFs). Among MOFs, there are substances with extremely high surface areas (5,640 m2/g for MOF-177)[3] and with very low crystalline densities (0.17 g·cm−3 for COF-108).[4] He has successfully developed these materials from basic science to applications in clean energy technologies including hydrogen and methane storage, and carbon dioxide capture and storage.


Yaghi received his PhD in 1990 from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He was an National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University (1990–1992) with Professor Richard H. Holm. He was on the faculties of Arizona State University (1992–1998), the University of Michigan (1999–2006), and the University of California, Los Angeles (2007-2012). His early accomplishments in the design and synthesis of new materials have been honored by the Solid State Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society and Exxon Co. (1998) and the Sacconi Medal of the Italian Chemical Society (1999). His work on hydrogen storage was recognized by Popular Science which listed him among the ‘Brilliant 10’ scientists and engineers in the United States in 2006,[5] and the US Department of Energy Hydrogen Program Award for outstanding contributions to hydrogen storage (2007). He was the sole recipient of the Materials Research Society Medal for pioneering work in the theory, design, synthesis and applications of metal-organic frameworks[6] and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Newcomb Cleveland Prize for the best paper published in Science (2007).[7] He is the recipient of the American Chemical Society Chemistry of Materials Award (2009). He is listed among the top ten most highly cited chemists worldwide (1998–2008).[citation needed]
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Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman

Atta-ur-Rahman, FRS, D.Phil., TI, SI HI, NI, is a leading scientist and scholar in the field of organic chemistry from Pakistan, especially renowned for his research in the various areas relating to natural product chemistry. With over 909 publications in the field of his expertise including 116 books largely published by leading publishers in Europe and USA and 27 patents, he is also credited for reviving the higher education and research practices in Pakistan


Atta-ur-Rahman has had a prominent record in Cambridge Overseas School Certificate in 1958, and ‘A’ Levels in 1960 from the Karachi Grammar School. In 1963, he received B.Sc (Hons.) in Chemistry, followed by M.Sc in Organic Chemistry from Karachi University. He received Commonwealth Scholarship in 1965 to study for Ph.D in Organic Chemistry under supervision of Dr. J. Harley Mason and received Ph.D at Kings College, Cambridge in 1968. With more than 900 international publications, including 116 books and 25 international patents, he has the distinction of being the only scientist to be elected Fellow of Royal Society (London) in 2006 in recognition of research contributions carried out within a country in the Islamic world. He is also the only scientist from the Muslim world to have been awarded the UNESCO Science Prize (1999).
He was awarded an Honorary Life Fellowship by Kings College, University of Cambridge in 2007, an honorary Doctorate of Science by University of Cambridge in 1987, a Doctorate of Education by Coventry University in 2007,[2] a Doctorate of Science by Bradford University in 2010, a Doctor of Philosophy by Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand in 2010 and honorary Doctor of Scıence by University of Technology MARA. Malaysıa.[3] A number of other universities have also granted honorary doctorate degrees to Atta-ur-Rahman including University of Karachi, Sir Syed University and Gomal University.

Academic career

Atta ur Rahman started his career in 1964 as a Lecturer at University of Karachi. He remained Fellow at Kings College, Cambridge between 1969 to 1973, and is presently Honorary Life Fellow at Kings College, University of Cambridge, UK. In 1977, he became Co-Director of Husein Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry at University of Karachi to become Director in 1990. He has over 909 international publications in several fields of organic chemistry including 701 research publications, 27 patents, 116 books and 65 chapters in books published by major U.S. and European presses. Seventy-six students have completed their Ph.D. degrees under his supervision.

HAARP Research

In 2010 Atta ur-Rahman, published his views that the United States government had financed a science research project in Alaska which could affect weather.[4][5] This sparked off a debate when Pervez Hoodbhoy lamented the decline of academic standards in Pakistan.[5][6] The views of Pervez Hoodbhoy have been strongly refuted by neutral international authorities, Fred Hayward (US consultant to USAID),[7] Wolfgang Voelter (Tübingen University)[8] and Michael Rode (Innsbruck University, Chairman of UN Commission on Science, Technology & Development) [9] who have praised the remarkable transformation of the higher education sector in Pakistan under the leadership of Atta-ur-Rahman.[10] A number of major international prizes and awards have also been won by Atta-ur-Rahman in recognition of these contributions [10] Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman has subsequently clarified that he did not state that HAARP could cause earthquakes but he did refer to the European Union resolution that condemned the US funded research on HAARP which could potentially alter weather patterns and on which 12 US patents had been obtained [4]

Positions held

Prizes, honours and awards

Prof Rahman is the most decorated scientist of Pakistan having won four civil awards by successive governments including the highest national Civil Award of Nishan-i-Imtiaz.Prof. Rahman was elected as Fellow of Royal Society (London) in July 2006 thereby becoming one of the 4 scientists from the Muslim world to have ever won this honor in the last 350 years when the Royal Society was established, and the only scıentıst to be so recognısed for researches carrıed out wıthın a Islamıc country. He is also the only scientist from the Muslim world to have been conferred the UNESCO Science Prize in 1999.[11] He has been conferred honorary doctorate degrees by many universities including the degree of Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) by the Cambridge University (UK) (1987) and an Honorary degree of Doctor of Education by Coventry University UK in November 2007.
He was elected Honorary Life Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University, UK in 2007. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman was conferred the TWAS Prize for Institution Building in Durban, South Africa in October 2009 in recognition of his contributions for bringing about revolutionary changes in the higher education sector in Pakistan.He was awarded the Engro Excellence Award in Science & Technology 2011 with a prize of Rs. 5 million (US $ 59,000) for meritorious contributions. He then proceeded to use the money in addition to funds from his private finances to establish a research center on Genomics in Karachi University named after his father Jamil-ur-Rahman, and to start a TWAS Prize in Chemistry for deserving young researchers from developing countries that has been instituted by TWAS Academy of Science for Developing World, Trieste, Italy.[12]
He is President of Network of Academies of Sciences of Islamic Countries (NASIC) and the Vice-President (Central & South Asia) of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) Council, and Foreign Fellow of Korean Academy of Sciences. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman was the President of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (2003–06), and was again elected President of Pakistan Academy of Sciences in January 2011. He was the Federal Minister for Science and Technology (14 March 2000 – 20 November 2002), Federal Minister of Education (2002) and Chairman of the Higher Education Commission with the status of a Federal Minister from 2002-2008. The Austrian government also honoured him with its highest civil award (“Das Große Goldene Ehrenzeichen am Bande”, 2007) in recognition of his eminent contributions.
Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman was the Coordinator General of COMSTECH, an OIC Ministerial Committee comprising the 57 Ministers of Science & Technology from 57 OIC member countries during 1996-2012. He is also the Patron of International Centre of Chemical and Biological Sciences (which comprises a number of institutes, including the Hussain Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry and the Dr. Panjwani Center of Molecular Medicine and Drug Development) at Karachi University.[13]In recognition of the eminent contributions of Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman, a number of institutions have been named after him within and outside Pakistan. These include a natural product chemistry institute (Atta-ur-Rahman Research Institute of Natural Product Discovery, RiND) at the University of Technology Mara in Malaysia,[14] Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences at National University of Science & Technology in Islamabad,[15] and Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman Building at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi [16] The Academy of Sciences in the Developing World (TWAS) based in Trieste, Italy has introduced a Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman Prize in Chemistry to a scientist from the developing world each year. The Prize carries a cash award of $ 5,000 and a Certificate.[17][1]
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Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan

Abdul Qadeer Khan  born 1 April 1936), also known by some in Pakistan as Mohsin-e-Pakistan (Urdu: محسن پاکِستان‎, lit. “Benefactor of Pakistan”), more popularly known as Dr. A. Q. Khan, is a Pakistani nuclear scientist and a metallurgical engineer, colloquially regarded as the founder of HEU based Gas-centrifuge uranium enrichment program for Pakistan’s integrated atomic bomb project.[2] Khan founded and established the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) in 1976, being both its senior scientist and the director-general until his retirement in 2001, and he was an early and vital figure in other science projects. Apart from participating in Pakistan’s atomic bomb project, he made major contributions in molecular morphology, physical martensite, and its integrated applications in condensed and material physics.
Abdul Qadeer Khan was one of Pakistan’s top scientists,[3] and was involved in the country’s various scientific programs until his dismissal.[3] In January 2004, Khan was officially summoned for a debriefing on his suspicious activities in other countries after the United States provided evidence to the Pakistan Government, and confessed it a month later.[3] Some have alleged that these activities were sanctioned by the authorities, though the Pakistan government sharply dismissed the claims.[4][5] After years of nominal house arrest, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on 6 February 2009 declared Abdul Qadeer Khan to be a free citizen of Pakistan, allowing him free movement inside the country. The verdict was rendered by Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Aslam.[6] In September 2009, expressing concerns over the Islamabad High Court‘s decision to end all security restrictions on Khan, the United States warned that Khan still remains a “serious proliferation risk”

Early life

Khan was born in Bhopal, India (then British Indian Empire) into a Urdu-speaking Pathan[8] family in 1936. His father Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Khan was an academic who served in the Education ministry of the British Indian Government and after retirement in 1935, settled permanently in Bhopal State.[9] After the partition in 1947, the family emigrated from India to Pakistan, and settled in Karachi, West Pakistan.[10] Khan studied in Saint Anthony’s High School of Lahore, and then enrolled at the D.J. Science College of Karachi to study physics and mathematics.[10] After making a transfer in 1956, he attended Karachi University, obtaining BSc in Metallurgy in 1960; subsequently he got the internship at the Siemens Engineering.[10]
After the internship, he was employed by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and worked as an city inspector of weight and measures in Karachi.[10] In 1961, he went to West Berlin to study Metallurgical engineering at the Technical University Berlin.[10] Qadeer Khan obtained an engineer’s degree in technology from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and a doctorate engineering in Metallurgical engineering under the supervision of Martin Brabers from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, in 1972.[10] Qadeer Khan’s doctoral dissertations were written in German.[10] His doctoral thesis dealt and contained fundamental work on martensite, and its extended industrial applications to the field of morphology, a field that studies the shape, size, texture and phase distribution of physical objects.[10][11]

Research in Europe 

In 1972, the year he received his doctorate, Abdul Qadeer Khan through a former university classmate, and a recommendation from his old professor and mentor, Martin J. Brabers, joined the senior staff of the Physics Dynamics Research Laboratory in Amsterdam.[12] There, he began his studies on the high-strength metals to be used for the development of gas centrifuges.[13] The gas centrifuges were first studied by Jesse Beams during the Manhattan Project in 1940s but research was discontinued in 1944. The Physics Laboratory was a subcontractor for URENCO Group, the uranium enrichment research facility at Almelo, Netherlands, which was established in 1970 by the Netherlands to assure a supply of enriched uranium for nuclear power plants in the Netherlands.[12] Soon when the URENCO Group offered him to join the senior scientific staff there, Qadeer Khan left the Physics Laboratories.[12] There, he was tasked to perform physics experiments on uranium metallurgy,[12] to produce commercial-grade uranium metals usable for light water reactors.[12] In the meantime, the URENCO Group handed him the drawings of centrifuges for the mathematical solution of the physics problems in the gas centrifuges.[12]
Uranium enrichment is a difficult physical process, as 235U exists in natural uranium at a concentration of only 0.7%; URENCO used Zippe-type centrifuges for that purpose to separate the isotopes 235U from non-fissile 238U by spinning UF6 gas at up to 100,000RPM.[12] Abdul Qadeer Khan’s academic and leading-edge research in metallurgy brought laurels to the URENCO Group.[12] URENCO enjoyed a good academic relationship with him, and had him as one of its most senior scientists at the facility where he researched and studied.[12] At URENCO, Abdul Qadeer Khan pioneering research to improve the efficiency of the centrifuges greatly contributed to the technological advancement of the Zippe centrifuges, a method that was developed by mechanical engineer Gernot Zippe in the Soviet Union during the 1940s.[12] URENCO granted Qadeer Khan access to the most restricted areas of its facility as well as to highly classified documentation on gas centrifuge technology.[12] After it was revealed in 1979 that Pakistan through Mr Khan gained access to Urenco UC technology, a formal investigation was launched by the Dutch govt into the matter. Mr Khan was busy in Pakistan with the nuclear program and stayed absent from the trial. He was found guilty and in 1985 the Dutch court sentenced him to 4 years of imprisonment in his absence.

1971 war and return to Pakistan 

The clandestine and highly secretive atomic bomb project of Pakistan was given a start on 20 January 1972, when President (later Prime minister) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto chaired a secret meeting of academic scientists at Multan.[citation needed] The winter planning seminar known as Multan meeting, the atomic bomb project was launched under the administrative control of Bhutto, and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (or PAEC) under its chairman, Munir Ahmad Khan.[citation needed] Earlier efforts were directed towards the implosion-type bomb with exploration of the Plutonium route.[citation needed] Prior to 1974, Khan had no knowledge of existence of country’s integrated atomic development, a controversy that highly doubts Abdul Qadeer Khan’s “father-of” claim. It was only on 18 May 1974, when he was alerted after India surprised the world with its first nuclear test (codename: Smiling Buddha), near Pakistan’s eastern border under the secret directives of Indian Premier Indira Gandhi.[citation needed] Conducted by the Indian Army, it was only three years since Pakistan’s humiliating defeat in the 1971 Winter war and the outcomes of the war had put Pakistan’s strategic position in great danger.[14]
The nuclear test greatly alarmed the Government of Pakistan and the people.[citation needed] Prime minister Zulfikar Bhutto squeezed the time limit of the atomic bomb project from five years to three years, in a vision to evolve and derived the country’s scientific atomic project as from the “atomic capability to sustainable nuclear power”.[citation needed] Sensing the importance of this test, Munir Ahmad Khan secretly launched the Project-706, a codename of a secret uranium enrichment program under the domain of the atomic project.[citation needed]Following the news about Pakistan, Khan wanted to contribute to the post-war military posture and approached the Pakistan government officials, offering to assist in Pakistan’s secret atomic bomb project through his knowledge acquired at URENCO.[15] He insisted in joining the atomic bomb project[16] but was disuated by the military scientists who considered as “hard to find” a job in PAEC as a “metallurgist”.[15]
Undaunted, he wrote to Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, highlighting his specific experience and encouraged Prime Minister Bhutto to work on an atomic bomb using uranium.[15] According to Kuldip Nayyar, although the letter was received by Prime minister Secretariat, Qadeer Khan was still unknown to the Government, leading Bhutto to ask the ISI to run a complete background check on Khan and prepare an assessment report on him.[17] The ISI declared him as “incompetent” in the field of nuclear technology based on his academic discipline.[17] Unsatisfied with ISI’s report, Bhutto was eager to know more about him, and asked Munir Ahmad Khan to dispatch a team of PAEC’s scientists to meet him.[18] The PAEC team including Sultan Mahmood travelled to Amsterdam and arrived at his family home at night. Discussions were held until the next day.[18] After the team’s return to Pakistan, Bhutto decided to meet with Khan, and directed a confidential letter to him. Soon after, Abdul Qadeer Khan took a leave from URENCO Group, and departed for Pakistan in 1974.[18]

Initiation and atomic bomb project

In December 1974, Abdul Qadeer Khan went to Pakistan and took a taxi straight to the Prime minister Secretariat.[19] The session with Bhutto was held at midnight and remained under extreme secrecy.[19] There, Qadeer Khan met with Zulfikar Bhutto, Munir Khan, and Dr. Mübaschir Hassan, government Science Adviser.[19] At this session, he enlightened the importance of uranium as opposed to plutonium, but Bhutto remain unconvinced to adopt uranium instead of plutonium for the development of an atomic bomb.[19] Although Bhutto ended the session quickly he remarked to his friends that: “He seems to make sense.”[19] Early morning the next day another session was held where he focussed the discussion on uranium against plutonium, with other PAEC officials presented.[16] Even though he explained to Bhutto why he thought the idea of “plutonium” would not work, Qadeer Khan was fascinated by the possibility of atomic bomb.[16]
Many of the theorists at that time, including Munir Khan maintained that “plutonium and the nuclear fuel cycle has its significance”,[14] and Munir Khan insisted that with the “French extraction plant in the offing, Pakistan should stick with its original plan.”[14] Bhutto did not disagree, but saw the advantage of mounting a parallel effort toward acquiring HEU fuel.[14][20] At the last session with Zulfikar Bhutto, Khan also advocated for the development of a fused design to compress the single fission element in the metalized gun-type atomic device, which many of his fellow theorists said would be unlikely to work.[16]
Finally in 1976, he joined the atomic bomb project, and became a member of the enrichment division at PAEC.[19] Calculations performed by him were valuable contributions to centrifuges and vital link to nuclear weapon research.[citation needed] He continued to push his ideas for uranium methods even though they had a low priority, with most efforts still aimed to produce military-grade plutonium.[19] Because of his interest in uranium, and his frustration at having been passed over for director of the uranium division (the job was instead given to Bashiruddin Mahmood), Qadeer Khan refused to engage in further research and caused tensions with other researchers.[19] He became highly unsatisfied and bored with the research led by Mahmood; finally, he submitted a critical report to Bhutto, in which he explained that the “enrichment program” was nowhere near success.[19]

Kahuta Research Laboratories

Bhutto sensed great danger as the scientists were split between uranium and plutonium routes.[19] Therefore, he called Khan for a meeting, which was held at the prime minister secretariat. With the backing of Bhutto, Qadeer Khan took over the enrichment program and renamed the project to Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL).[19] Abdul Qadeer Khan insisted to work with the Corps of Engineers to lead the construction of the suitable operational enrichment site, which was granted. The E-in-C directed Brigadier Zahid Ali Akbar of Corps of Engineers to work with Qadeer Khan in Project-706.[19] The Corps of Engineers and Brigadier Akbar quickly acquired the lands of the village of Kahuta for the project.[21]
The military realized the dangers of atomic experiments being performed in populated areas and thus remote Kahuta was considered an ideal location for research.[21] Bhutto would subsequently promote Brigadier Zahid Akbar to Major-General and handed over the directorship of the Project-706, with Qadeer Khan being its senior scientist.[citation needed]On the other hand, the PAEC did not forgo the electromagnetic isotope separation research and a parallel program was conducted by theoretical physicist Dr. G.D. Allam at Air Research Laboratories (ARL) located at Chaklala PAF base, though G.D. Allam had not seen a centrifuge, but only had a rudimentary knowledge of the Manhattan Project.[22]
At first, the ERL suffered many setbacks, and relied heavily on the knowledge from URENCO brought by Qadeer Khan.[22] Meanwhile in April 1976, theorist Ghulam Dastigar Alam accomplished a great feat by successfully rotating the first generation centrifuges to ~30,000 RPM.[22] When the news reached Qadeer Khan, he immediately requested to Bhutto for G.D. Alam’s assistance which was granted by the PAEC, dispatching a team of scientists including G.D. Alam to ERL.[22] At ERL, Qadeer Khan joined the team of theoretical physicists headed by theorist dr. GD Allam, working on the physics problems involving the differential equations in the centripetal forces and angular momentum calculations in the ultra-centrifuges.[22] On 4 June 1978, the enrichment program became fully functional after Dr. G.D. Alam succeeded in separated the 235U and 238U isotopes in an important experiment in which Dr. A.Q Khan also took part.[22][23] Contrary to his expectation, the military approved to the appointment of Major-General Zahid Ali as the scientific director of entire uranium division.[22].[7]
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Ahmed Zewail

Ahmed Hassan Zewail   born February 26, 1946) is an Egyptian scientist, known as the “father of femtochemistry“, he won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on femtochemistry and became the first Egyptian scientist who won Nobel Prize in a scientific field. He is the Linus Pauling Chair Professor Chemistry, Professor of Physics and the director of the Physical Biology Centre for the Ultrafast Science and Technology (UST)[1] at the California Institute of Technology.

Birth and education

Ahmed Hassan Zewail, was born on February 26, 1946 in Damanhour, Egypt and was raised in Alexandria. His father Hassan assembled bicycles and motorcycles and later became a government official. His parents remained married for 50 years, until Hassan died on October 22, 1992.[2]He received a bachelor’s and an MS degree from the University of Alexandria before moving from Egypt to the United States to complete his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania with advisor Robin Hochstrasser. While at the University of Alexandria he met his wife, Mervat. She accompanied him to the University of Pennsylvania. At the university, Ahmed completed his Ph.D. and they had their first child.[2] He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley with advisor Charles B. Harris.[3]

Academic career

After some post doctorate work at UC-Berkeley, he was awarded a faculty appointment at Caltech in 1976, where he has remained since, and in 1990, he was made the first Linus Pauling Chair in Chemical Physics.[3] He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1982. Zewail has been nominated and will participate in President Barack Obama’s Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers to advise the President and Vice President and formulate policy in the areas of science, technology, and innovation.[4]


Zewail’s key work has been as a pioneer of femtochemistry—i.e. the study of chemical reactions across femtoseconds. Using a rapid ultrafast laser technique (consisting of ultrashort laser flashes), the technique allows the description of reactions on very short time scales – short enough to analyse transition states in selected chemical reactions.[5]His work started with the question, how fast did the energy within an isolated large molecule like naphthalene redistribute among all the atomic motions? They had to build an apparatus with a vacuum chamber for molecules coming out of the source as a collimated beam at supersonic speed. The challenge was to build an ultrafast laser to be used with the molecular beam. The beam and the picosecond laser system were interfaced. The goal of the project began as wanting to directly measure the rate of vibrational-energy redistribution for an isolated molecule using the picosecond laser.
They wanted to see the process from birth to death of a molecule. In this experiment the isolated anthracene molecule was unexpected and contrary to popular wisdom. During redistribution the population was oscillating coherently back and forth. There was no decay, but there was rebirth and all molecules moved coherently in a phase. In a large molecule, each vibrational motion is like a pendulum, but there are many motions because a molecules has many atoms. If the motions were not coherent, the observation would have been much different. The results of this experiment revealed the significance of coherence and its existence in complex molecular systems. The finding of coherence were significant because it showed that through the expected chaotic motions in molecules, ordered motion can be found, despite the presence of a “heat sink”, which can destroy coherence and drain energy. Coherence in molecules had not been observed before not because of a lack of coherence, but because of a lack of proper probes. In the anthracene experiments, time and energy resolutions were introduced and correlated.
Though Zewail continued studies on vibrational-energy redistributions, he started new studies on shorter time resolutions for molecules showing different chemical processes and rotational motions.[2]
In 1999, Zewail became the third Egyptian national to receive the Nobel Prize, following Egyptian president Anwar Al-Sadat (1978 in Peace), Naguib Mahfouz (1988 in Literature). Mohamed ElBaradei followed him (2005 in peace). Other international awards include the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (1993) awarded to him by the Wolf Foundation, the Tolman Medal (1997), the Robert A. Welch Award (1997), the Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society and Davy Medal from the Royal Society in 2011.[6][7] In 1999, he received Egypt’s highest state honor, the Grand Collar of the Nile.
Zewail was awarded an honorary doctorate by Lund University in Sweden in May 2003 and is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Cambridge University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science in 2006. In October 2006, Zewail received the Albert Einstein World Award of Science for his pioneering development of the new field femtoscience and for his seminal contributions to the revolutionary discipline of physical biology, creating new ways for better understanding the functional behavior of biological systems by directly visualizing them in the four dimensions of space and time.[8] In May 2008, Zewail received an honorary doctorate from Complutense University of Madrid. In February, 2009, Zewail was awarded an honorary doctorate in arts and sciences by the University of Jordan.[9] In May 2010, he received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Southwestern University. in October/2011 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Glasgow, UK [10] His students include scientists like Martin Gruebele
Zewail is married, and has four children. He also has won the King Faisal award in 1989.

Political work

In June 4, 2009 speech at Cairo University, US President Barack Obama announced a new Science Envoy program as part of a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” In January 2010, Ahmed Zewail, Elias Zerhouni, and Bruce Alberts became the first US science envoys to Islam, visiting Muslim-majority countries from North Africa to Southeast Asia.[11]
When asked about rumors that he might contest the 2011 Egyptian presidential election, Ahmed Zewail said: “I am a frank man… I have no political ambition, as I have stressed repeatedly that I only want to serve Egypt in the field of science and die as a scientist.”[12]During the 2011 Egyptian protests he announced his return to the country. Zewail said that he would join a committee for constitutional reform alongside Ayman Nour, Mubarak’s rival at the 2005 presidential elections and a leading lawyer.[13] Zewail was later mentioned as a respected figure working as an intermediary between the military regime ruling after Mubarak’s resignation, and revolutionary youth groups such as the April 6 Youth Movement and young supporters of Mohamed ElBaradei.[14]


  • Advances in Laser Spectroscopy I, ed. A. H. Zewail, SPIE, Bellingham, 1977
  • Advances in Laser Chemistry, ed. A. H. Zewail, Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 1978
  • Photochemistry and Photobiology, Vols. 1 and 2, ed. A. H. Zewail, Harwood Academic, London, 1983
  • Ultrafast Phenomena VII, eds. C. B. Harris, E. P. Ippen, G. A. Mourou and A. H. Zewail, Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 1990
  • The Chemical Bond: Structure and Dynamics, ed. A. H. Zewail, Academic Press, Boston, 1992
  • Ultrafast Phenomena VIII, eds. J.-L. Martin, A. Migus, G. A. Mourou, and A. H. Zewail, Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 1993
  • Ultrafast Phenomena IX, eds.
  • Age of Science (autobiography)
  • Physical Biology: From Atoms to Medicine, ed. A. H. Zewail, Imperial College Press, London, 2008
  • 4D Electron Microscopy, ed. A. H. Zewail, Imperial College Press, London, 2009
  • Voyage Through Time, ed. Ahmed Zewail, 2002
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