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Salam Spirit Awardees Announced

Four recipients honored for dedication to Abdus Salam’s vision

ICTP founder Abdus Salam
ICTP founder Abdus Salam

29/01/2017 - Trieste

The family of ICTP founder and Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam has revealed the winners of the 2017 Spirit of Abdus Salam Award. Announced annually on 29 January—Abdus Salam’s birthday—the award recognizes those who, like Salam himself, have worked tirelessly to promote the development of science and technology in disadvantaged parts of the world.

Abdus Salam’s son Ahmad Salam, who coordinates the awards on behalf of the Salam family, congratulated this year’s winners for their humanitarian achievements.  “The awardees reflect the spirit of Abdus Salam: the desire to serve humanity in the best possible way for however long they can, and in whatever way they can,” he said. He encouraged the ICTP community to continue recognizing those who embody and reflect Abdus Salam’s vision by nominating them for the award.

This year’s Spirit of Abdus Salam Award recipients are:

Professor Imrana Ashraf Zahid
Spirit _ImranaProfessor Zahid is well known at ICTP and in the world of optics. In addition to being the first woman in Pakistan to earn a PhD in quantum optics, in 2004 she became one of the first women to win the ICO/ICTP Prize for her significant scientific contributions to optics and photonics. She has been a regular tutor at the annual Winter College on Optics, providing, at her own initiative, after-hours tutorials to any participants who found themselves struggling to follow the material presented in lectures. In Pakistan, she has promoted the education of young women by organizing hands-on, scientific activities.

“Imrana, through her efforts in teaching and promoting science not only at ICTP but in my father's and her own country, has very strongly contributed to ICTP's mission and we consider her an extremely important role model for women scientists from developing countries,” said Ahmad Salam, adding, “Imrana has repeatedly shown her commitment to teach and educate others well beyond the call of duty: I know she has put in the hours willingly and like my father, always practiced an open door policy for the benefit of her students.  Abdus Salam would also have wholly approved of her advocacy of women in science.”

Professor Daniel Gómez
Spirit _GomezProfessor Gómez has been a long-time ICTP Associate and actively promotes learning and scientific collaboration in his home country, Argentina. He is a committed, passionate teacher, and many of his students are now active and successful researchers themselves. One former student, Pablo Mininni, won the ICTP Prize in 2012. Professor Gómez has participated in and directed many of ICTP’s conferences on plasma physics. In addition, he has been actively involved in the recording of physics lectures at the University of Buenos Aires, significantly expanding the reach of physics learning in Spanish-speaking countries throughout the world.

Ahmad Salam said of Professor Gómez, “Through his long association with ICTP, Daniel has been committed to supporting young scientists in his country and throughout Latin America, and has demonstrated my father's spirit for international collaboration and the dissemination of science in the developing world.  His unique claim to be the first professor at his university to record a course for the benefit of students is an example of his attitude and approach to think in the spirit of Salam. Spanish speaking students globally have the ability to access the physics course: they can collaborate internationally and the science is disseminated in  manner as never before. I know Abdus Salam would have welcomed and appreciated Daniels work, and he would have wholeheartedly supported him.”

Professor Giancarlo Ghirardi
Spirit _GhirardiProfessor Ghirardi has been associated with ICTP for many years, as a researcher, a professor, and as the head of its Associate and Federation Schemes, which provides important opportunities for scientists from developing countries to visit Trieste and upgrade their research skills with other scientists from around the world. He attended the first-ever international seminar in theoretical physics in Trieste that was organized by ICTP co-founders Paolo Budinich and Abdus Salam in the early 1960s, and has been a steady presence at the centre ever since. Professor Ghirardi is well known for his contributions to the foundations of quantum mechanics, as well as  for his research, teaching and efforts to promote and develop physics.

“Starting from his attendance at the first-ever international seminar in theoretical physics in Trieste that was organised by my father and Paolo Budinich, Giancarlo Ghirardi has been, in multifarious ways, fully immersed in the life and activities of ICTP.  He witnessed first hand the spirit and magic of Salam. I have seen myself, his love and commitment to the cause of ICTP and Abdus Salam. Giancarlo has given tirelessly of himself, not just academically but in  a pastoral manner too. I know how much father valued and appreciated Giancarlo,” said Ahmad Salam.

Mr. Muhammad Iqbal
Spirit _IqbalMr. Iqbal is recognized by many ICTP visitors as the competent, friendly multimedia assistant always present in the Budinich Lecture Hall to ensure that ICTP’s presentation equipment—including microphones and overhead projections—functions smoothly during ICTP’s numerous conferences. He first came to ICTP in 1993 to help take care of Abdus Salam, whose health was rapidly deteriorating at the time. Although he has recently retired, Mr. Iqbal made a lasting, smiling impression on all who interacted with him, encouraging cooperation and friendship amongst people of all nationalities and religions.

Ahmad Salam underscored his family’s appreciation of Mr. Iqbal. “Iqbal has been a very valued member of our family. He came to ICTP when my father needed much care and support and ‎he gave of himself to the best of his ability. He left the comfort of his home life to travel to a new and strange country and give his total commitment to Abdus Salam and also ICTP,” he said. Addressing Mr. Iqbal’s skilled handling of multimedia equipment at ICTP, Salam reflected, “We all take IT and communications for granted, but when it fails, it is a major problem. Iqbal always ensured it never failed. During his many years at ICTP, he typified its spirit through his commitment to his job with humility and selflessness. He always had a smile and kind word for everyone and was critical to make them feel at  ease. I know Abdus Salam appreciated having Iqbal with him during those difficult days and we, the Salam family, appreciate his sacrifice. Iqbal came to exemplify the “Spirit of Salam”.

About the Spirit of Abdus Salam Award

The Spirit of Abdus Salam Award may be given to anyone within the extended ICTP family of scientists and non-scientists, and administrative staff alike who can show that they have worked tirelessly to further Abdus Salam's humanitarian  passion  and vision for the cooperation,  promotion and development of science and technology in the developing  world. For more details, and to see the list of past winners, please visit the Spirit of Abdus Salam Award website.