Abdul Jabbar Abdullah

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Abdul Jabbar Abdullah
Born 1911
Maysan Province
Residence USA and Iraq
Nationality Iraq
Fields Wave theory, Meteorology
Institutions University of Baghdad
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
New York University
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known for Cloud stratification

Abdul Jabbar Abdullah (1911–1969) was an Iraqi wave theory physicist, dynamical meteorologist, President Emeritus of Baghdad University.[1] Abdullah earned his Sc.D. degree in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1946,[2][3] before being appointed head of the Iraqi Teacher Association, and then chairman of the Department of Physics, College of Education, Baghdad. In 1952, he became a visiting research professor in meteorology at New York University, and in 1965 he joined the National Center for Atmospheric Research as a scientific visitor.

In his memoir,[4] nuclear physicist Khidir Hamza claims Abdullah not only taught him, but was also instrumental in getting the former into MIT to pursue a master's degree in nuclear engineering after Hamza's initial rejection by the institute. Khidir Hamza later became part of Iraq's nuclear research program, before defecting to the United States and testifying on the program before the Senate.

As a member of the Mandaean religious minority, and a democratic personality, Abdullah was harassed towards the end of his life and arrested after the rise of the Ba'ath party to power in 1963. He was imprisoned for nearly a year but was released and later permitted to travel to the United States. There he held professorial and research posts at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and the State University of New York in Albany. He died in 1969.


Abdul Jabbar Abdullah was born to a Mandaean family in the town of Qal'at Saleh, Maysan Province (formerly Al-Amaarah) in southeastern Iraq in 1911. Upon finishing his secondary school education in Baghdad, he left for Lebanon to pursue university education. There he enrolled at The American University of Beirut (AUB) where he majored in Physics and graduated with a BS in 1934. Later, after AUB, he did his post graduate studies at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned his PhD.

Back in Iraq, Abdullah joined the Physics faculty at The Higher Normal College (later one of the constituent colleges of University of Baghdad), between 1949 and 1958 and became Chairman of the Physics Department.

In 1958 Abdullah was appointed secretary General of the newly constituted University of Baghdad, and in 1959 he became the University's President.; remaining in this post until the February right-wing ultra nationalist coup d'etat which he was forced to resigned, and badly treated for political reasons.


Abdullah's research interests included cloud stratification,[5] solitary waves,[6] and pressure pumps.[7]


Abdullah has published multiple books on atmospheric sciences, and was the editor and publisher of Iraq's sole science journal in the 1950s: "Proceedings of the Iraqi Scientific Society".


  • Abdul Jabbar Abdullah, James J. O'Brien, National Center for Atmospheric Research (U.S.). Internal Gravity Waves of Finite Amplitude in a Stratified Incompressible Atmosphere: -- a Quasi-characteristic Method. National Center for Atmospheric Research.
  • Abdul Jabbar Abdullah. On the Dynamics of Hurricanes. New York University, 1953.
  • Abdul Jabbar Abdullah. Group-velocity of Atmospheric Waves. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1946.


Abdul Jabbar Abdullah is highly regarded by Iraqis, who commemorated his 100th birthday in Iraq and in the diaspora. A hall in the University of Baghdad is named after him as well as numerous streets.


  1. ^ National Center for Atmospheric Research. "Repository" (PDF). Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  2. ^ MIT. "MIT 1961 centennial program" (PDF). MIT. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  3. ^ MIT Museum Collections. "MIT Museum Collections". MIT. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Hamza, Khidhir; Jeff Stein (2001). Saddam's Bombmaker: The Terrifiying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons. Simon and Schuster. 
  5. ^ Abdullah, Abdul Jabbar (1967). "STRATIFICATION OF CLOUD LAYERS IN A STABLE ATMOSPHERE" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. 95: 189–197. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1967)095<0189:soclia>2.3.co;2. 
  6. ^ Abdullah, Abdul Jabbar (1956). "A NOTE ON THE ATMOSPHERIC SOLITARY WAVE". J. Meteor. 
  7. ^ Abdul Jabbar, Abdullah (1953). "Head-on collision between two pressure jumps". Journal of Geophysical Research. 71 (8): 1953–1962. Bibcode:1966JGR....71.1953J. doi:10.1029/JZ071i008p01953.