Spirit of Abdus Salam Award Winners 2016

Faheem Hussain, Seifallah Randjbar-Daemi, Galileo Violini


Faheem Hussain, a former Associate and a member of ICTP’s High Energy, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics section who passed away in 2009. A student of Salam's, Professor Hussain officially joined ICTP in 1990, though he had been a regular visitor to the institute since its inception. Faheem coordinated ICTP's Diploma Programme (for which he was a father figure for the students from its inception) and headed the Office of External Activities. He created the physics group at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Pakistan. Faheem was always a strong and vocal advocate for the promotion of science in developing countries and for a just and proper treatment of all. He passed away in far too early in 2009. Faheem  will be remembered for his humour and passion: he would often disagree with Father and be willing to stand his ground in a very respectful manner. Father was very fond of Faheem; indeed in some ways he regarded him as a son. Their mutual love for Pakistan and its well being united them in many ways.

Seifallah Randjbar-Daemi, was one of the closest collaborators of Abdus Salam, both at the scientific and humanitarian level, a relationship that started since his student days at Imperial College. He joined ICTP in 1988 as Research Physicist and Coordinator of the High energy Section coming from the Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Zurich. In 1994, he was assigned duties as Head of the High Energy Group. In August 2005, he was promoted to Assistant Director, and has been Acting Deputy Director as of April 2011 until his retirement on 31 December 2015.

Seif started several programmes in ICTP, for example the Diploma Programme and the special basic physics programme for Sub-Saharan African students. One of his crucial contributions to ICTP and the scientific community worldwide was his personal intervention with the Government of Iran which provided ICTP with a loan in order to save it from imminent closure when it was undergoing serious financial difficulties in 1991.

Seif was a long standing friend and colleague of Abdus Salam and is still contributing in an exceptional manner to Salam's vision and humanitarian legacy. We, the family, owe a significant debt of gratitude to Seif. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Father and fought every battle for the Centre’s very survival with him. We know how much Father respected and appreciated Seif’s undying support, which continues to this day entirely undiminished.

Galileo Violini's extensive work founding and leading the growth of the Centro Internacional de Fisica (CIF) in Colombia, following closely the steps of Abdus Salam, is widely acclaimed. He has also served in leadership  positions in such countries as Iran and El Salvador, promoting science there. During his appointment as Delegate for International Relations at the University of Calabria, he has been able to increase the number of international students from 0.5% to almost 2.5% with a special attention to developing countries. Galileo has served the causes advocated by Abdus Salam with distinction and success and deserves this award for his dedication in helping to raise the awareness and standards of science in developing countries and for fostering successful collaborations between scientists from developing and developed countries for more than three decades. Galileo was another one of those unsung heroes who has taken the spirit and passion of Father and continued to work daily to fulfill Father’s dream and vision. We are all deeply grateful to him.