Atta-ur-Rahman (chemist)

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Atta-ur-Rahman FRS

Atta-Ur-Rahman (cropped).jpg
Atta-ur-Rahman FRS
Born (1942-09-22) September 22, 1942 (age 79)
Alma materUniversity of Karachi
University of Cambridge
Known forNatural product chemistry
AwardsNishan-e-Imtiaz(Civilian) 1957-86 Pakistan.svg Nishan-e-Imtiaz (2002)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz(Civilian) 1957-86 Pakistan.svg Hilal-e-Imtiaz (1998)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz(Civilian) 1957-86 Pakistan.svg Sitara-e-Imtiaz (1991)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz(Civilian) 1957-86 Pakistan.svg Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (1983)
UNESCO Prize (1999)
AUT Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria - Life Saving Medal BAR.png Austria Order of Merit
Scientific career
FieldsOrganic chemistry
InstitutionsHigher Education Commission of Pakistan
University of Tübingen
University of Karachi
University of Cambridge
ThesisSynthetic Studies in the Indole Alkaloid Field (1968)
Doctoral advisorJ. Harley Mason
Other academic advisorsIan Fleming

Atta-ur-Rahman (Urdu: عطاالرحمان; b. 22 September 1942), PhD, Sc.D, NI, FRS, FPAS is a Pakistani organic chemist and is currently serving as Chairman of PM Task Force on Science and Technology.[1]


Atta-ur-Rahman was born on 22 September 1942 in Delhi, British India (today's Republic of India) into an Urdu-speaking academic family.[2] His grandfather, Sir Abdur Rahman, was a vice-chancellor of the University of Delhi (1934–38) who briefly served as a judge at the Madras High Court.[3]

In 1946, Sir Abdur Rahman was appointed as vice-chancellor of the Punjab University in Lahore, eventually relocating his family there, a year before the Partition of India took place.[3] Sir Abdur Rahman eventually became a Senior Justice at the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1949.[3] His father, Jamil-ur-Rahman, was a lawyer who established a cotton ginning textile industry in Okara, Punjab, Pakistan.[3] After settling in Karachi in 1952, he passed the competitive O-Level and A-Level from the Karachi Grammar School and joined Karachi University.[3]

Attending Karachi University in 1960, Rahman graduated with a bachelor's degree (with honors) in chemistry in 1963.[3][4] He obtained a Master of Science (MSc) in organic chemistry in 1964 with first class and 1st position, and lectured at Karachi University for a year before receiving a Commonwealth Scholarship for doctoral studies in the United Kingdom.[3] He joined King's College at the University of Cambridge and resumed research in natural products under John Harley-Mason.[4] In 1968, Rahman received a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in organic chemistry; the subjects of his doctoral thesis were natural products and organic materials.[5][3] He was elected as a fellow of Kings College, University of Cambridge in 1969 and continued his research at Cambridge University until 1973.[6] Later in 2007, he was appointed as an honorary life fellow of Kings College Cambridge.[7]

Academic career[edit]

In 1964, Rahman joined the Karachi University as a lecturer in undergraduate chemistry.[8] He remained associated with the Cambridge University between 1969–73, and is presently honorary Life Fellow at the King's College of the Cambridge University.[8] In 1977, he became the deputy director of the Hussain Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry at University of Karachi; eventually he was ascended as the Director in 1990.[8] In 1979, Rahman did the post-doctoral research at the University of Tübingen. Upon returning to Pakistan, he joined Karachi University where he lectures and taught chemistry.[8] He was appointed Professor Emeritus at University of Karachi for life.[9]

Positions held[edit]

Government work and political advocacy[edit]

After securing the fellowship of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, Rahman had been affiliated with the Pakistan government regarding education and science affairs.[8] From 1996 till 2012, Rahman served in the board of directors of the Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, representing Pakistan's delegation.[8] In 1997, Rahman served as the Coordinator General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) that comprised 57 Ministers of Science and Technology from 57 OIC member countries.[18]

In 1999, he joined the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoSci) as its minister, assisting in drafting the official science policy of the country. In 2002, he was appointed as minister of the Ministry of Education (MoEd) as well as becoming the chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) until resigning in 2008.[19]

Honours and awards[edit]

National awards[edit]

In recognition of his eminent contributions in the field of organic chemistry, he has been conferred with many civil awards, including:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cabinet approves task force on science and tech | Pakistan Today".
  2. ^ Profile of Atta ur Rahman at website Published 9 April 2011, Retrieved 9 April 2021
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "A Tribute to a Living Legend". Arkat Foundation (US). 22 September 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b Staff writer. "Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman". Pakistan Herald (Biography). Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Profile of Atta-ur-Rahman on University of Cambridge, UK website Published in 2015, Retrieved 8 April 2021
  6. ^ "Search | King's College Cambridge". 17 September 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Honorary Fellows | King's College Cambridge". 27 August 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Pakistan Academy of Sciences. "Profile of Fellow". Pakistan Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b[bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ "Honorary Fellows". 6 March 2013.
  11. ^ "International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences".
  12. ^ "International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences".
  13. ^ "Atta-ur-Rahman – Global Knowledge Initiative".
  14. ^ "Federal Ministers".
  15. ^ a b c d e f Profile of Atta-ur-Rahman on website Published 10 November 2014, Retrieved 9 April 2021
  16. ^[bare URL PDF]
  17. ^ "Dr. Atta Ur Rehman".
  18. ^ "Executive Board of ICCBS". Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  19. ^ Staff work. "Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman, FRS" (PDF). SUPARCO. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  20. ^ a b c d "Malaysian King confers degree on Atta-ur-Rahman". The News International (newspaper). 23 October 2011. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  21. ^ "Dr atta ur rehman". 27 December 2017.
  22. ^ "Dr Atta ur Rahman". 13 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman | Pride of Pakistan | Scientists". Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  24. ^ "Engro Excellence Awards 2010". Archived from the original on 24 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) gives title of Distinguished National Professor to four scholars". Free Online Library website. 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  26. ^ "中国化学会荣誉会士" [Chinese Chemical Society Honorary Fellow in 1997] (in Chinese). Chinese Chemical Society website. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  27. ^ List of newly elected Foreign Fellows of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2015 (translate to English from Chinese, when prompted)(scroll down on this List to read Foreign Fellows including Atta-ur-Rahman) Chinese Academy of Sciences website, Published 7 December 2015, Retrieved 8 April 2021

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Science Advisor to the Prime Minister
31 January 2004 – 28 March 2008
Succeeded by