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Prof. Abul Khair M. Siddiq (Deceased)

(Fellow, 1974)

Bangladesh (BD)
Bangladesh (BD)

Prof. AKM Siddiq was born in 1923 in the village of Baraid, Manikganj, about 45 km from the nation's capital city of Dhaka.

He was educated in Bangladesh, India and Canada. He received his early education in the village school established by his father and later in Mitra Institution and Hare School, both in Calcutta. He matriculated from Manikganj High School before moving back to Calcutta from where he obtained his B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Physics in 1942 from Presidency College. The difficult years of World War II interrupted his studies for a while. After some thought, he enrolled at the University of Dhaka for his Master's degree in Physics, which he completed in 1944 under the guidance of an illustrious physicist of that era, Professor Satyendra Nath Bose (who, in collaboration with Albert Einstein, pioneered Bose-Einstein statistics). Professor Sachin Mitra was his M.Sc. thesis supervisor.

The next six years were eventful in the life of the young physicist, Dr. Siddiq with no immediate possibility for higher studies and research, began his working career in the Patent Office in Calcutta as an assistant examiner of patents, an inauspicious start to what ultimately turned to be a distinguished career. The partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 took him unexpectedly to Pakistan's newly-minted Patent Office in Karachi as an examiner of patents. To fulfill his long desire for an academic career, Professor Siddiq finally got the break that he was looking for in 1950 when he was offered a Lectureship in the Department of Physics at the University of Dhaka where he began working the following year. Within two years after joining the University of Dhaka, Professor Siddiq became the first Pakistani scholar to be awarded a Colombo Plan Scholarship for doctoral studies at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. It was during those golden years of Physics that he obtained his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics in 1956 for research with a 24 MeV Betatron under the supervision of late Professor R. N. H. Haslam, a year after Einstein’s death.

Returning to the University of Dhaka after completing a brief Post-doctoral fellowship at McGill University following his graduate studies at Saskatchewan, Professor Siddiq spent the next three decades, first as a full time Faculty member and then as a University administrator with increasing responsibilities. He was promoted to the rank of full Professor in 1970, served as Head/Chairman of the Department of Physics (1972 - 1976), Dean of the Faculty of Science (1977 - 1979), Pro Vice-Chancellor (1981 - 1985), and then briefly as Vice-Chancellor (1983) at the University of Dhaka. Upon his retirement from the University, Professor Siddiq moved to Turkey to accept a Visiting Professorship in Physics (1985 - 1987) at the renowned Middle-East Technical University (METU) in Ankara.

Professor Siddiq’s main interest in research was in Experimental Nuclear Physics using MeV accelerators. He published a number of research papers in the areas of Nuclear Physics and Solid-State Physics in different reputed journals, including the Canadian Journal of Physics, Acta Crystallo graphica and Nova Cimento. In addition to his Colombo Plan Doctoral and Post-doctoral fellowships in Canada in the 1950s, Professor Siddiq’s awards included a fellowship (1962-64) at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) in Harwell, England where he worked in a 3 MeV pulsed Van de Graaff accelerator laboratory. On his return from Harwell, he helped to build a 3 MeV Van de Graaff laboratory at the Atomic Energy Centre in Dhaka. It was in this laboratory, as a principal associate of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, that he initiated a number of research programmes. In 1971, he was awarded a visiting fellowship at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. In 1975, Professor Siddiq held a DAAD senior fellowship at Enlargen-Nurenburg University to carry out research with a 10 MeV Accelerator, which was followed by an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) fellowship to undertake a study tour to a few Universities in England. He was invited by the Nobel Prize Committee of the Swedish Academy of Science to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1981. His biographical sketch appeared in the eighth edition of Marquis "Who's Who in the World" (1987 - 1988).

Professor Siddiq served as President of the Bangladesh Physical Society from 1976 to 1978. He was elected a Fellow of the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences in 1974 and President of the Academy for consecutive two-year terms (2000 - 2004).

Over the course of his long career, Professor Siddiq travelled to many countries in Asia, Europe and North America to participate in international conferences and symposia. On many occasions, the papers that he presented at conferences were published as part of the conference proceedings. His travels also included a trip to the United States at the invitation of the Government of the United States of America to visit some of the top American Universities under the Government's International Visitor Programme in 1984.

Professor Siddiq expired on 31 August 2018.

Baraid, Manikganj
Bangladesh (BD)
Last updated on 23/01/2022