Masud Ahmad

Muhammad Masud Ahmad (Urdu: محمد مسعود احمد; ), best known as Masood Ahmad, (16 November 1943 – 29 December 2018) was a Pakistani theoretical physicist and ICTP laureate known for his work in dual resonance and Veneziano model, a strings sting mathematically described the fundamental forces and forms of matter in quantum state. Having specialised in Quantum and Statistical physics, Ahmad assisted and took part in the development of atomic bomb project as a member of Theoretical Physics Group in the 1970s, and participated in the development of the atomic bomb programme.[1][2]

Masud Ahmad
Born16 November 1943
Died29 December 2018, Age 75 years
Alma materPunjab University
Imperial College London
Known forNuclear physics
Nuclear Deterrent Program
Quantum electrodynamics
Inelastic neutron scattering
Mand-Ahmad scattering
AwardsHilal-i-Imtiaz (1998) by the President of Pakistan
Chagai Medal (1998)
Sitara-i-Imtiaz (1998)
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physics
InstitutionsPakistan Atomic Energy Commission
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Centre for Theoretical Physics
Quaid-i-Azam University
Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH)
National Center for Theoretical Physics
Doctoral advisorAbdus Salam
Other academic advisorsRiazuddin

A staunch supporter of nuclear power, Ahmad has led Pakistan's delegation in many international and national forums and conferences in the issues of peaceful use of nuclear energy. A student of Abdus Salam, Ahmad was one of the senior scientists, despite of his age, of Theoretical Physics Group – a physics group that was mandated to develop the designs of nuclear weapons.[3]


Born and educated in Lahore, British India, Masud Ahmad attended Punjab University in 1960, and completed his BSc degree in Physics under the contemporary supervision of Riazuddin, followed by MSc degree in Mathematical physics from the same institution in 1966. Ahmad then travelled to United Kingdom and attended Imperial College London where he began his doctoral studies under Abdus Salam's physics group. In 1968, he did his DSc degree in Theoretical physics under Abdus Salam . His dissertation dealt with the theory of Chiral symmetry and algebraic representation in Veneziano model – an early theory of stings.[4]

Masud Ahmad's lifelong friendship with Riazuddin was very important for Masud's scientific and philosophical development. It was Riazuddin who arranged summer stay with Ishfaq Ahmad in Islamabad for young Ahmad, thus orienting his science career in nuclear physics. Ahmad spent two years at Institute of Physics (IP) of Quaid-i-Azam University where he worked under Faheem Hussain's Theoretical Physics Group.[5]

At IP, he published the theoretical work on Veneziano Model where he had used the Compton scattering to investigate Pions behaviour on the Veneziano Model. In 1970, along with Fayyazuddin, he carried out the work on construction of Veneziano representation for pion photoproduction amplitude, in which he predicted that, keeping the
and the ρ trajectories, the zero-free parameter fits for the sum and the difference of the differential cross sections for unpolarised photons and the asymmetry function Σ(
) are obtained.[6]

Prior to the discovery of Alfvén wave in hydromagnetics in 1969, Ahmad was engaged as a theoretical physicist, working in the fields of quantum, molecular, and nuclear physics. In 1970, on an advise of Abdus Salam, Ahmad went to Italy to join International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) to pursue his further doctoral studies. In 1971, he was joined by Riazuddin and Abdus Salam where he contributed with them in an emerging theory of Quantum electrodynamics.[7]

Pakistan Atomic Energy CommissionEdit

After becoming an ICTP Associate, Ahmad was one of the young and senior scientists who were working in the ICTP.[8] In January 1972, Abdus Salam called one of his eminent students from Italy to report to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's chairman Munir Ahmad Khan. Masud Ahmad, along with Riazuddin, temporarily working at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Italy, returned to Pakistan to begin theoretical work on a fission explosive device.[9] The scientists were posted at Quaid-e-Azam University and the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH) respectively. In the absence of the availability of computers, they use the mainframe computers at Quaid-e-Azam University for work related to the theoretical physics of a nuclear explosive device.[10] He, along with Raziuddin Siddiqui and Riazuddin formed the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) in PAEC, which was mandated to develop the theoretical designs of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.[11]

By 1973, the theoretical physicists from academic universities of Pakistan joined the Theoretical Physics Group, and initiated to work on developing the designs of the weapon. The Theoretical Physics Group directly reported to Abdus Salam who coordinated the research on metallurgy, weapon chemical lenses, enrichment, separation and reprocessing of the fuel.[12] In 1974, the TPG scientists engaged in the calculations for the implosion mechanism and completed the work on Fast neutron calculations. The work was submitted to the Office of Science and Technology (now known as Ministry of Science and Technology), and Abdus Salam review the work done by the TPG. Later, Abdus Salam led the work on simultaneity where the TPG finished the calculations on how weapon would be detonated from several points at same time.[citation needed] In 1977, the TPG scientists completed the theoretical work on the design of an atomic bomb. In 1978, the TPG took calculations on Neutron emission – a type of radioactive decay. In 1979, Ahmad was transferred to Fast Neutron Physics Group (FNPG), where he worked under Samar Mubarakmand – a nuclear physicist. He contributed in the calculations on maximum numerical ranges of neutron temperature.

In 1980, the TPG completed the calculations on how much radiation would be lost during the process of deuterium burning and, in 1982, the final design of the weapon was completed by Theoretical Physics Group (TPG). Under the leadership of PAEC chairman Munir Ahmad Khan, the TPG's theoretical designed bomb was successfully cold tested, codename Kirana-I, in 1983 near at the Kirana Hills. Masud Ahmad, and Riazuddin, had developed the capabilities for more advanced designs of a nuclear device, and reportedly gave the any designs of the nuclear device in a month to PAEC.[13] Since then he has been staying at PAEC as a theoretical physicist. It was Ahmad and Riazuddin's indigenously theoretically designed nuclear devices that Pakistan under Munir Ahmad Khan tested several cold tests from 1983 to 1990.[14] Masud Ahmad was one of the invited scientists who participated and eye-witnessed the country's first successful tests, codename Chagai-I, on 28 May 1998, and second test, codename Chagai-II, on 30 May 1998. He was also a part of team of theoretical physicists who led the calculations of nuclear weapons yield in both places. The Theoretical Physics Group continued to develop more advanced designs for the nuclear weapons, and the FNPG kept the testings of the designs from 1983 to 1991.[15]

Ahmad had been working with IAEA in the peaceful issues of nuclear energy since 1976. He was a highly-respected scientist at the IAEA, and had been leading Pakistan's delegation to the IAEA. Masud lauded IAEA help and being forthcoming in assisting the countries in establishing the quality systems required to obtain national and international accreditation of the IAEA laboratories.

Support for peaceful use of nuclear energyEdit

He was a vocal supporter of Pakistan's nuclear energy programme, and has been assisting the Government of Pakistan to established commercial and licensed nuclear power plants in the country. He has also played an important role in IAEA's nuclear policy to allow Pakistan to build nuclear power plants. He has assisted PAEC chairman Parvez Butt to reach a civilian nuclear technology agreement with IAEA. In an honorary conference along with PAEC chairman Parvez Butt and IAEA's delegation, Masud Ahmad said:

"There is an urgent need to disseminate related information on radioisotope based analytical techniques to end user institutions engaged in mitigation of marine pollution. The unplanned disposal of untreated industrial, domestic and agricultural wastes into seawater has led to contamination of the coastal areas of many developing countries in South Asia resulting into considerable increase in the concentration of toxic elements".[16]

He also included that "these toxic elements have posed a threat to the marine life occasionally witnessed in the form of mass mortality of fish. Dangers to the sealife are a health and economic threat to humans who consume them as food."

In the end, Masud Ahmad concluded that: "The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission or PAEC is a pioneer organisation in the peaceful uses of radiation and radioisotope techniques in the country in the field of life sciences, hydrology, agriculture and industry and it has acquired significant expertise and infrastructure in the field of environmental isotope ecology".[17]



Conference papersEdit

  • "A Science Oddyssey: Pakistan's Nuclear Emergence, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Dr. Khalil Qureshi, Dr. Masoor Beg, Dr. Masud Ahmad".

Research papersEdit

  • Effects of Hall current on unsteady MHD flows of a second grade fluid, Central European Journal of Physics, by Masud Ahmad, Haider Zaman, Naila Rehman
  • Riazuddin, as I know him, One Day Conference in Honour of Professor Riazuddin, National University of Sciences and Technology.
  • Pion Photoproduction in the Veneziano Model by Masud Ahmad and Fayyazuddin. Published 1 December 1970 at Institute of Physics, University of Islamabad.
  • Veneziano Model for Compton Scattering of Pions by Masud Ahmad, Fayyazuddin, and Riazuddin – Published 1 January 1970.
  • Algebraic Realization of Chiral Symmetry and Veneziano Model by Fayyazuddin, Riazuddin, and Masud Ahmad. Published 14 July 1969.
  • Charge (Z)- and Z/β-threshold values of some track detectors: Measurements and use in nuclear reaction studies, Hameed Ahmed Khan; Naeem AhmadKhan; Masood Ahmad. PINSTECH Nuclear Physics Division, PINSTECH.
  • N.A. Khan; S. Mubarakmand; Mahmud Ahmad (19 February 1973). "Aspects of α-emission from the bombardment of 58Ni with 14.7 MeV neutrons". Nuclear Physics A. 202 (1): 123–126. Bibcode:1973NuPhA.202..123K. doi:10.1016/0375-9474(73)90245-5.
  • Cross-section measurements with a neutron generator by Samar Mubarakmand, Masud Ahmad, M. Anwar and M. S. Chaudhry. (1977)
  • On measuring the absolute emission rates of 14 MeV neutrons by associated, particle counting, by Masud Ahmad and M. S. Chaudhary, Methods of nuclear instrumentation (1975).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "PAEC scientist Dr Masud Ahmad passes away". The News International (newspaper). 30 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Nuclear scientist Dr Masud dies". The Nation (newspaper). Associated Press of Pakistan. 30 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  3. ^ Theoretical Physics Group, a cue from Manhattan Project?, Shahidur Rehman, pp. 7–8
  4. ^ Masud Ahmad; Riazuddin; Ahmad, Masud (1968). "Algebraic Realization of Chiral Symmetry and Veneziano Model". Physical Review. 23 (2): 103–105. Bibcode:1969PhRvL..23..103F. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.23.103.
  5. ^ The Theoretical Physics Group at Quaid-e-Azam University's Institute of Physics (1968), Faheem Hussain, pp5
  6. ^ Ahmad, M. Masud; Fayyazuddin (3 August 1970). "Pion Photoproduction in the Veneziano Model". Physical Review D. 2 (11): 2718–2724. Bibcode:1970PhRvD...2.2718A. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.2.2718.
  7. ^ A leaf from history: The atomic option Dawn (newspaper), Published 16 February 2013, Retrieved 19 December 2020
  8. ^ a b (ICTP), International Centre for Theoretical Physics (1998). "News from ICTP 86 - Dateline (scroll down to read News from Associates - Masud Ahmad award info)". Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  9. ^ Ahmad, Mansoor; Arvind Virmani (December 2006). "Background and Origins". Dr. Arvind Virmani and Magnum Books Pvt Ltd. Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA).
  10. ^ "Nuclear Chronology 1970–1974 (October 1972)". Nuclear Threat Initiative. December 2005. Archived from the original on 18 September 2011.
  11. ^ Ahmad, Mansoor (December 2005). "Number 6". Defence Journal of Pakistan.
  12. ^ Rahman, Shahidur (1998). "Abdus Salam and Pakistan's Nuclear weapons programme". Printwise publications.
  13. ^ Shahid-Ur-Rehman (October 1972). "Theoretical Physics Group, A cue of Manhattan Project". Long Road to Chagai: 7, 38–39.
  14. ^ Shahid-Ur-Rehman (October 1972). "A Tale of Two Scientists". Long Road to Chagai: 38–39.
  15. ^ Science Odyssey, Samar Mubarakmand.
  16. ^ "Pakistan to support IAEA's efforts for peaceful uses of nuclear technology". Pakistan Press International. 12 April 2004. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  17. ^ Nasim Zehra (29 April 2009). "PAEC to generate 8,800 MW power by 2030". The News International (newspaper). Retrieved 19 December 2020.

External linksEdit