QUIZ WHIZZ #2: The Nobel-Winning Work of Dr. Salam

– By Hashim Khan

In 1979, Dr. Abdus Salam became the one and only Pakistani Nobel Laureate.

Yesterday, in QUIZ WHIZZ, we asked you:

We all know our only Nobel Laureate Dr. Salam and we are all proud of him. But how many of us know which work of his brought him this honor?

a. Pati-Salam Model

b. Grand Unified Theory

c. Super Symmetry

d. Electroweak Theory

Salam’s major and notable achievements include the Pati–Salam model, magnetic photon, vector meson, Grand Unified Theory, work on super symmetry and, most importantly, electroweak theory, for which he was awarded the most prestigious award in Physics, The Nobel Prize.

In particle physics, the electroweak interaction is the unified description of two of the four known fundamental interactions of nature: electromagnetism and the weak interaction. Although these two forces appear very different at everyday low energies, the theory models them as two different aspects of the same force. Above the unification energy, on the order of 100 GeV, they would merge into a single electroweak force.

Thus if the universe is hot enough (approximately 1015 K, a temperature exceeded until shortly after the Big Bang) then the electromagnetic force and weak force will merge into a combined electroweak force.

For contributions to the unification of the weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, Abdus Salam, Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979.

Congratulations to those of you who opted for the correct answer. Stay tuned for the next episode of QUIZ WHIZZ, on Monday 7:00 pm.

– The writer is an Executive member of NUST Science Society and a sophomore at School of Chemical and Materials Engineering.

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