Dr. Mujaddid Ijaz was born on June 12, 1937 in Baddomalhi near Lahore. His father was a medical student who died in his mid-20s of brain cancer. Ijaz recieved his early education at rural village schools near Baddomalhi. He
Dr. Mujaddid Ijaz
Dr. Mujaddid Ijaz was born on June 12, 1937 in Baddomalhi near Lahore. His father was a medical student who died in his mid-20s of brain cancer. Ijaz recieved his early education at rural village schools near Baddomalhi. He then attended Islamia High School in Lahore. His early interest in science and physics was attributed to his step-father's work in the local meteorology department.
After Matriculation from Islamia high school, Ijaz was admitted to Government College in Lahore. There, he majored in physics and graduated with a BSc in 1957. He continued advanced studies under the supervision of Professor Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry, widely considered a pioneer in Pakistani experimental physics, until 1959 when he met Razia Begum Nazir. They later married and migrated to the United States in 1960.
Ijaz and his wife arrived in Tallahassee, Florida in August 1960, where they settled as incoming graduate students at Florida State University. He developed an early interest in particle physics and accelerator experiments while at Florida State. A major influence on his development during these early years was Dr Basharat A. Munir, Razia's elder brother. Dr Munir, also a nuclear physicist, was a faculty member at Florida State when the couple arrived in the U.S. His expertise in high-energy particle physics and research work at Brookhaven National Laboratories on Long Island, New York in the early 1960s provided Ijaz with guidance that would last throughout his career as an experimental physicist.
Ijaz and Razia, as devout Muslims cultivated their religious and cultural identity while at Florida State. They offered a Quran to Gordon Blackwell, then the school's president, to be placed in the University's library. Razia also pursued her master's degree in Physics until the birth of their first child in August 1961. Ijaz graduated from Florida State in June 1962 with a Master's degree in Physics. His thesis was titled Study of Angular Distributions of Elastically Scattered 8 to 19 Mev Alpha Particles from Al27.
In 1962, Munir accepted a tenured faculty position at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The family followed him to Ohio where Ijaz was admitted as a doctoral candidate in particle physics under Munir's direction. He conducted much of his PhD research at Brookhaven, traveling frequently with Munir to conduct their experiments in particle physics on the laboratory's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, then one of America's leading accelerator facilities. Ijaz graduated from Ohio University in May 1964 with a PhD in Nuclear Physics. His thesis, titled Proton-Proton Collisions at 2.0 BeV, would set the stage for his early research work at Virginia Polytechnic Institute as he began his formal academic career in teaching and research.
Dr Mujaddid Ijaz joined the faculty of the Virginia Tech Physics department in September 1964 as an Assistant Professor of Physics. In his early years as a faculty member, Ijaz devoted much of his time to his teaching responsibilities, including acting as adviser to the university's roster of graduate students and doctoral candidates. He conducted his early research at the Physics department's newly installed nuclear reactor, which at the time was equipped with a neutron activation analysis laboratory. Ijaz's early experimental results earned him an appointment as research collaborator at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories in 1966 under a UNISOR (University Isotope Separator at Oak Ridge) grant funded by the United States Energy Department.
In 1971, Ijaz was promoted to the tenured rank of Associate Professor of Physics at Virginia Tech. He attained the rank of Full Professor of Physics in 1977, and during the same year served as acting head of the Physics department. After several foreign sabbaticals in the 1980s, the first at U.P.M in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia from 1979 until 1981 and another at I.C.T.P. in 1985, he continued his teaching duties at Virginia Tech until retirement in December 1991 as Professor Emeritus of Physics. During the latter part of his career, Ijaz published papers that focused on methods and results in teaching, religion and science and other aspects of physics that did not form part of his technical research in earlier years.
During the early-1980s after Ijaz ended his formal research activities at Oak Ridge, he continued collaborations with his former colleagues through UNISOR grants to fund graduate research at Virginia Tech and at Oak Ridge. While at Oak Ridge, Ijaz held a L-class security clearance from the U.S. Energy Department. He was given honorary citizenship of the State of Tennessee by Governor Winfield Dunn in 1972 for his contributions at Oak Ridge.
In 1953, President Eisenhower launched Atoms for Peace, a bold initiative designed to help the post-World War II international community cope with nuclear power. The program was intended to supply reactor equipment, nuclear fuel and safeguard mechanisms from U.S. research institutions and government labs to countries who complied with specific security requirements. Israel, Iran and Pakistan were the first foreign recipients of American reactor technology. Pakistan's first facility, a 5 MW PARR-I pool-type facility, was provided by the United States in 1965.
The reactor began operations on December 21, 1965 under the supervision of Pakistani scientists led by Dr Abdus Salam. Initially it was utilized to conduct high neutron flux research and engage in isotope production. During the 1970s, Ijaz participated in the Atoms for Peace initiative. His experience and research track record at Oak Ridge assisted U.S. collaborators as they trained international scientific teams receiving assistance from the program.
Dr Mujaddid Ijaz collaborated with notable physicists and mathematicians throughout his 27-year career. Most notable among these were his collaborations with Dr Abdus Salam whose groundbreaking work in electroweak interactions together with American physicists Steven Weinberg and Sheldon Glashow earned them the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979.
In 1976, Dr Salam recommended creating an international forum for the advancement of science and technology to be hosted by Pakistan in the Hazara region while serving as Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Since then, the Nathiagali Physics Conferences has gathered notable scientists from around the world during summer breaks to break the intellectual isolation faced by Pakistani scientists. Dr Mujaddid Ijaz participated in these conferences several times during the mid-1970s under National Science Foundation grants. He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society.
Dr Mujaddid Ijaz married Razia Begum in June 1960 prior to migrating to the United States. Razia would later take her husband's chosen name, Lubna, when they both became naturalized American citizens on January 5, 1970. They had five children, Mansoor (born August 1961 in Tallahassee); Farouk (born September 1963 in Athens) and Atif and Mujeeb (born September 1965 and May 1967 respectively in Radford. Neelam, their daughter, was born in Pakistan in 1974.
Dr Mujaddid Ijaz died on July 9, 1992 at his home in Shawsville, Virginia of complications arising from a protracted battle with brain and lung cancer. He was buried in traditional Muslim rituals at the site of his most favored farm in Alum Ridge, surrounded by a large gathering of his family from around the United States and his physics colleagues and friends from southwestern Virginia. President George H.W.Bush consoled Ijaz's widow in a letter dated July 24, 1992.