Dr. Noor Muhammad Butt was born on 3rd June1936 in Sialkot. After completing his high school education, he gained a pre-science diploma from Murray College Sialkot in 1950 and then earned his BSc in applied physics from Punjab University Lahore in 1955. The same year, he was accepted at the Government College Lahore to do his Master's degree in physics. In 1957, he completed his Master of Science (M.Sc.) with experimental specialization in the Nuclear physics under the renowned nuclear physicist Professor Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry, the Head of the Department of Physics at the Government College at that time.
His master degree's thesis was written on "The nuclear reactions when the protons from this accelerator strike the nuclear target of lithium produce a nuclear reaction, breaking the atomic nucleus of lithium". After his master's degree, Butt joined Government College as a lecturer in physics. He stayed there till 1960. In 1961, he won a Commonwealth Scholarship and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Scholarship to pursue his doctoral studies in Europe. On his mentors' advice, Butt travelled to the United Kingdom where he attended the University of Birmingham.
During his studies, Butt learned the course on the Kinetic theory of solids from Prof. Rudolf Peierls, a leading member and senior scientist who participated in the Manhattan Project and who was still working as the Head of the implosion device being developed under this project in early 1940’s. Thus, at Birmingham University during his studies for Ph.D., Butt had studied and taught nuclear physics under three world known nuclear professors whose names form part of the nuclear history of the world. Later, Butt had a rich and full interaction with a large number of nuclear and material scientists of over 25 countries during his lectures and seminars at the laboratories of these countries of the East and the West.
In 1967, he received his Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) in nuclear physics under the supervision of Dr. Philip Burton Moon. He joined the "Department of Nuclear Physics", Birmingham University, where he earned the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.), thereafter. In 1968, he became a distinguished professor of nuclear physics at the University of Birmingham where he had continued his research in Fission product. In 1970, Butt joined ICTP in Trieste as a "Senior Associate" (SA). During his stay at ICTP, he began his studies and research in the field of Solid-state physics which led him to win the "Associate ICTP Award in Solid-State Physics". In 1979, Butt was also conferred with an "ICTP Award in Nuclear Physics".
In 1975, Butt along with Dr. Riazuddin and Dr. Masud Ahmad came back to Pakistan where he attended a meeting in PAEC Headquarters. As the work on nuclear weapon design was initiated, Butt was given a transfer to the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH) where, he was appointed as a director-general of the Nuclear Physics Division (NPD). Butt worked closely with Dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan in the development of the fissionable device throughout the 1970s. He was the first technical director at the “New Labs” where he was the head of the team of scientists discovering the fissionable isotopes of 93Pu (Plutonium).
In 1983, Butt was a part of team of scientists that eye-witnessed the cold test of a nuclear device, near the Kirana Hills. In 1984, he was promoted and became an "Associate Director (AD)" of PINSTECH, and was responsible for the research undertaken in the institute. In 1991, as Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad became a chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Butt was appointed Deputy Director-General of the PINSTECH institute. In 1995, Butt was elected and became a President of Pakistan Nuclear Society (PNS). In 1996, he was promoted as Director-general of the institute.
Butt was part of a team of scientists that visited European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) along with -PAEC Chairman Ishfaq Ahmad in 1997, where he had led the experiments by Pakistani physicists. It was by his efforts that in 1997 the Atomic Energy Agency reached an agreement with CERN to contribute to the construction of eight magnet supports for the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector, worth one million Swiss francs. PAEC was a financer of the CMS detector as well as providing its scientists and engineers to lead the construction of the detector. He also helped established the first science journal in PINSTECH. His research repeatedly published in "The Nucleus (Journal)" published by the PINSTECH.
In 1998, he was promoted as a "Chief Scientist (CS)" at PINSTECH. In May 1998, when India tested its fission devices in Pokhran, the Pakistan government gave the scientists a green signal to test the nuclear weapon. In May 28, 1998, Butt was among one of the scientists that eye-witnessed the successful Chagai-I tests of six nuclear devices in Ras Koh Hills.
As a Chief Scientist (CS) at PAEC, Butt took retirement from the PAEC in late 1998. In 2000, t he PAEC had made him "Scientist of Emeritus" (SE) in PINSTECH Institute to which he is still attached. The same year, he was elected President of Pakistan Physical Society. On October 2003, he was appointed as National Commission on Nano-Science and Technology (NCNST). In 2005 he was appointed Chairman of the Pakistan Science Foundation. Butt is an elected fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Islamic Academy of Sciences to which he was last elected in 1993. Since his retirement, he has participated in over 125 national and international conferences and presented invited papers in many of them. He has contributed articles to Newspapers, and contributed to Radio and TV programmes for propagation Science and Technology from time to time.
Butt was awarded Khwarizmi International Award in 1995, Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1992, Gold Medal Pakistan Academy of Sciences in 1990, ICTP Award in Nuclear Physics in 1970, Aacademic Roll of Honour in 1957 and Gold Medal from Murray College in 1955