When I Met the Scientist Again…

– By Osama Hasan

Meeting élite scientists of the country used to be an honor once upon a time, but listening to their life lessons became the better version of it. Fortunately, I had multiple opportunities to interact with a number of scientists and observe their behaviors, attitudes, point of views, and most importantly, to learn from their invaluable experiences. The special thing about their conclusions with life was that they were logically reasonable, very well established, and not based upon mere feelings or opinions. Here I give a brief account of what I learnt and from whom.

Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman NI, HI, SI:

Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman

Dr. Atta had been my inspiration ever since my college times. Not just because he brought educational and IT revolution (I learnt about the latter one pretty late) in Pakistan, but also because I had the opportunity to see his institution, the HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, and interact with a number of his colleagues very often in my second year at college. I was amazed to see strong institutional bonding and culture there, and this was what raised Dr. Atta’s stature before me. The traits from his personality that inspire me make up a long list. Firstly, he is a good listener and tries to respond every query; whether it be a mere student whose admit card is not being issued by the university or the “Water-Kit-Magician”. Firstly, he is a patient listener, who listens with a smile to even his strongest critics. Yes! In his words “I’m nearly seventy and feel like seventeen just because I always smile. Let it be good or bad, favorable or unfavorable, I always try to smile…” Secondly, he recognizes his coworkers. Be it HEJ or HEC, Dr. Atta remembers each and every member of his team and gives due credit to his services at suitable occasions. Third and the most important, he plans and invests his time very well. He edits his articles for top science journals during his travel from home to Karachi University; he writes for newspapers during his flights; he plans his schedules or concludes the minutes while taking meals on foreign trips and what not. Dr. Atta is at “always-on-war” status with his never ending efforts for our privileged nation.

In a nustshell:  A complete code of life

Dr. Anwar Naseem SI:

Dr. Anwar Naseem

Dr. Naseem, who is also the patron of NAYS, is a very enthusiastic supporter of youth activities. He not only supports youth in science through his words, pen and professional contacts, but also by infusing them with the sense of responsibility and capability. This was my conclusion at the end of One Day Workshop on Young Researchers’ Skill Development. Dr. Naseem inspired me to appreciate, recognize, and support the young blood and ideas, because without encouragement, it’s difficult to create a success mark.

In a nutshell: Encouraging juniors and new talent

Dr. N. M. Butt  SI: 

Dr. N M Butt

Nano Butt (as Dr. Atta named him) is the symbol of energy, enthusiasm and motivation for turning the tables. At the age of 78, he is still very active and always hyperactive for the any nanotechnology cause. Dr. Butt taught me to give credit, to appreciate and not to forget the contributions of those who have worked for the cause. When his age fellows were getting retired from esteemed position to enjoy a happy family life, Dr. Butt stood with the flagship of nanotechnology in Pakistan. It was through his dedicated efforts that HEC constituted a national commission on nanotechnology under his leadership, which not only awarded research grants to credible scientists but also promoted the cause among the masses.

In a nutshell: Better late than never

Dr. Shaukat Hameed Khan PP:

Dr. Shaukat Hameed

My first impression of Dr. Khan was “no-nonsense-man” and this continues to be so far. I first met him after a panel discussion at Serena, while I was trying to invite him to NUST to speak to students, and when he asked “What will I speak?”, I told him about our “Meet the Scientist” series at NUST Science Society and its philosophy, to which he responded “I would prefer talking about more substantial material than myself” and the meeting ended with the agreement to invite him to talk over energy or measurements (he delivered the lecture at Academy of Sciences when he was elected as a fellow there). My second interaction with him triggered while we were trying to help his organization with an Int’l Energy Conference. While meeting him in his SOPREST office and discussing energy scenarios of the country, I realized he spoke in facts, figures and numbers. What inspired me the most was when he advised not to believe in any news, breakthrough, or whatsoever unless and until you have well tested its authenticity and scientific reasoning.

In a nutshell: Importance of a scientific mindset

Dr. Asghari Maqsood SI:

Dr. Asghari Maqsood

Teaching at my own department, Dr. Maqsood was an inspiration to start from little things which in her words are “bits and pieces” and then nourish them with hard work and focus to make them bear fruits. Also, she taught me the importance of appreciating the hard work of others, by often quoting the suicide of Boltzmann because he was not acknowledged timely.

In a nutshell: Little things do matter

– The author is an alumnus of School of Chemical and Materials Engineering and Founder of NUST Science Society.

– Pictures by Mallick Zeyshan Tariq @ Zeyshan Clicks

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