The Cold War between USA and USSR sparked off an arms race around the world in the latter half of the twentieth century. If countries were to be deemed strong in the aspect of national defense, the latest weapons and arms were to be had, even though this ideology led the world to the precarious verge of destruction a couple of times.
Pakistan was not too far behind in this dangerous, albeit significant, race when on 28th May 1998, it became the world’s 7th nuclear power. By the joint efforts of the scientists at Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, and more importantly, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, the first atomic tests were carried out successfully in Pakistan.
After being one of the few scientists present at the cold test of the theoretically designed nuclear weapon Kirana I, Dr. Mubarakmand was made responsible for the atomic tests code-named Chagai I and Chagai II. He was one of the chief scientists who were involved in the complex physics and mathematical calculations involved in the nuclear reactions as well. These calculations were of grave importance to the whole project and were littered with high-level concepts including simultaneity and Einstein’s Special and General Relativity.
On 28th May 1998, Dr. Mubarakmand led the countdown of the tests at Chagai weapon testing laboratories. This was Chagai I. A few days later on the 30th of May, he also led a small team of academic scientists that supervised the country’s first plutonium fission weapons at Chagai II. Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan was also invited to witness the moment when Pakistan was elevated to a new status in the world due to the endeavors of the PAEC and its scientists.
My eyes were set on the mountain in which the test was to be conducted. I experienced a halt in my heartbeat on seeing nothing happening after 32 seconds. But all of a sudden it was a big jolt! We had triumphed.
-Dr. Samar Mubarakmand
*In 2010, a team from NUST interviewed Dr. Mubarakmand. In addition to that, Dr. Mubarakmand is the official mentor of the NUST Science Society.