Faheem Hussain

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Faheem Hussain
Born 31 July 1942
Yavatmal, Maharashtra, British India (present-day India)
Died 29 September 2009(2009-09-29) (aged 67)
Monfalcone, Italy
Residence Monfalcone, Italy and Lahore, Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Citizenship Pakistani
Alma mater University of London
Imperial College London
Known for His work on superstring theory, supersymmetry, and noncommutative geometry

Royal Society Award (1968)

Spirit of Abdus Salam Award (2016)
Scientific career
Fields Theoretical Physics
Institutions National Center for Physics (NCP)
Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)
Quaid-i-Azam University
International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)
Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH)
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
University of Chicago
Institute for Nuclear Studies (INS)
Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY)
Doctoral advisor Paul T. Matthews
Other academic advisors Abdus Salam
A close friend of physicists Pervez Hoodbhoy, Asad Naqvi, and Riazuddin.

Faheem Hussain (31 July 1942 – 29 September 2009), was a Pakistani theoretical physicist and a professor of physics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). A research scientist in the field of superstring theory at the National Center for Physics,[1] Hussain made contributions to the fields of superstring and string theory. He was the first Pakistani physicist to publish a research paper in the field of superstring theory.[2] A prominent social activist and democratic activist, he has authored various scientific research papers in peer-reviewed journals.[2]

Education and early life[edit]

Faheem Hussain was born in Yavatmal, Maharashtra, British India in 1942. His family moved to West Pakistan shortly before the Partition of India on 14 August 1947. He graduated from St. Anthony's High School, Lahore, in 1955 and then enrolled in Forman Christian College.[3][4] After receiving his double BSc(Hons) in Mathematics and Physics from Forman Christian College in 1960, he moved to the Great Britain. There, he attended Chelsea College, London, and completed another B.S. (hons) in physics in 1963. He attended Imperial College, London where a prominent and illustrious physicist Abdus Salam was also teaching. He began working with Abdus Salam's group at the Imperial College. He completed his MSc in physics from Imperial College, London under Abdus Salam, and followed by his PhD in Theoretical physics under the supervision of theoretical particle physicist Paul Matthews in 1966.[5]

Academic career[edit]

In 1966, at the age of 24, Hussain travelled to the United States and joined 'The Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies', nowadays known as The Enrico Fermi Institute. During that time, Hussain met with group of Pakistani physicists at the institute, there he founded "The Relativity Group", along with Fayyazuddin, Riazuddin, and Peter Rotteli. During his stay in the Institute, he served as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, Illinois. In 1968, along with "The Relativity Group" scientists, Hussain went back to Pakistan and joined Quaid-i-Azam University's Institute of Physics. From 1969 till 1975, Hussain joined the "Theoretical Physics Group" (TPG) and did extensive research at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). In 1976, he joined Quaid-e-Azam University's Physics faculty.

He taught at Garyounis University, Benghazi, Libya, from 1977 to 1979. In 1985 joined Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron, better known as DESY, in Germany. Prior to this, Hussain moved to Geneva, Switzerland and joined the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). He had also been a visiting professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. There, with Juergen Koerner, George Thompson and others, he calculated relativistic-wave functions for hadrons and used Salam's formalism to develop a variant of the heavy quark effective theory. The Mainz group went on to make valuable contributions to the study of heavy baryon decays.[6]

ICTP career[edit]

Hussain joined the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) at the request of Salam. He worked there as a senior staff scientist in Trieste, Italy. There he was originally involved in developing the high energy physics diploma programme, which helps train young graduates from developing countries to start research in physics.[7][8] He was the head of the office of external activities for six years. Of late, he was working in superstring theory, the physics of extra dimensions and non-commutative geometry.[8] Hussain published extensively in the field of theoretical elementary particle physics. He also published articles and papers to solve the science and technology problems in underdeveloped countries.[8]


Hussain had deep interest in national and international politics. He was a staunch anti-imperialist, and vociferously protested against the new wave of the savage neo-liberalism religion of the free market. According to his close associates and friends, Hussain described himself as an "unreconstructed Marxist". During his stay in the United States. Hussain participated at the mass anti-war demonstration at the University of Chicago. As he moved to Pakistan, Hussain began criticising the Pakistani Army's role in East Pakistan.

However, after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto legalised the trade unions in the 1970s. Hussain, together with Pervez Hoodbhoy, formed the student union movement, the "People Labour Federation" in 1973. The dream of the organisation was to bring the "social revolution in Pakistan."

Support for democracy in Pakistan[edit]

After the Coup d'état by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Hussain publicly opposed Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization of Pakistan and supported democracy in his country.[8] Hussain left Pakistan in 1989 and joined ICTP at the request of Abdus Salam.[9]

Return to Pakistan[edit]

Hussain worked as a senior staff scientist at ICTP from 1990 then took his retirement and returned to Pakistan in 2004.[1][8] There, he joined the physics research institute, the National Center for Physics.[1]

Research in physics[edit]

Hussain, along with Riazuddin, Fayyazuddin, and Hamid Saleem, carried out a research on the string theory and published extensively in the field of mathematical physics. Later, he moved to Lahore and was offered a position at the Lahore University of Management Sciences or LUMS's science department. He eventually became a chairperson of the Physics Department there. At LUMS, Hussain began his research in noncommutative geometry and superstring theory. There, he formed a "Mathematical Physics Group" (MPG), the MPG group consists of Pakistan's noted physicists, Asad Naqvi, Tasneem Zehra Hussain, and Amer Iqbal. He there began his work and published articles in the field of Extra dimensions, Noncommutative geometry, and the string theory.

Personal life[edit]

Hussain was married to Jane Steinfels Hussain,[6] an American woman, from 1968 to 1986.[citation needed] He later married Sara Monticone Hussain.[6]


Hussain was suffering from prostate cancer in 2009. Hussain died on 29 September 2009.[6] He has been paid tribute by some of his close friends, associates and students.

Pervez Hoodbhoy, a professor of nuclear physics at the Quaid-i-Azam University paid a tribute to him and said:

"I think he belonged to the genre of academic intellectuals who believe in changing the world for the better. His research and teaching were instruments of change".

Abdul Hameed Nayyar, a former professor of solid state physics at the Qaud-e-Azam University, recalled and said: "Dr. Faheem Hussain was a scholar, a scientist and a revolutionary at the same time". Masud Ahmad, a theoretical physicists, PAEC member and a close friend of his, said:

"Faheem Hussain was a multidimensional personality of being an accomplished scientist, an excellent teacher and an ideal role model for the young students who took great pains to direct the energy of the youth to intellectual pursuits".

Asad Naqvi, a professor of mathematical physics at the LUMS, paid heavy tribute to him and commemorate in few words, and said:

"I am lost after hearing this. I only knew him for about five years, and in that short time, I had grown really fond of him. We are all poorer today, having lost such a lovely person who touched us so deeply".


  • Mathematical Physics by Riazuddin and Faheem Hussain
  • IIIrd Regional Conference on Mathematical Physics by Faheem Hussain and Asghar Qadir
  • Contemporary Physics: Proceedings of the International Symposium by Jamil Aslam, Faheem Hussain, and Riazuddin.

Research papers[edit]

  • The Theoretical Physics Group at Quaid-e-Azam University
  • Hadrons of arbitrary spin and heavy quark symmetry by Faheem Hussain, Thompson, G ; Körner, J G
  • Interactions and dynamics of D-branes / Hussain, F ; Lengo, R ; Núñez, C ; Scrucca, C A
  • Black hole – D-brane correspondence : An example / Bertolini, M ; Fré, P ; Hussain, F ; Iengo, R ; Núñez, C ; Scrucca, Claudio A.
  • Interaction of D-branes on orbifolds and massless particle emission / Hussain, F ; Iengo, R ; Núñez, C ; Scrucca, Claudio A
  • Closed string radiation from moving D-branes / Hussain, F ; Iengo, R ; Núñez, C ; Scrucca, Claudio A
  • Aspects of D-brane dynamics on orbifolds / Hussain, F ; Iengo, R ; Núñez, C ; Scrucca, Claudio A
  • On the form factors of the Ds+ --> + decay / Hussain, F ; Ivanov, A N ; Troitskaya, N I
  • An introduction to the heavy quark effective theory / Hussain, F ; Thompson, G
  • Non-commutative geometry and supersymmetry, 2 / Hussain, F ; Thompson, G


  1. ^ a b c "Faheem Hussain – Lal Salam! " Red Diary". Reddiarypk.wordpress.com. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Remembering Prof. Faheem Hussain (1942–2009) : ALL THINGS PAKISTAN". Pakistaniat.com. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  3. ^ University, LUMS. "The LUMS SSE Virtual Program Development Team (VPDT)". Retrieved 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ Hoodbhoy, Pervez. "Reckoning Time for HEC". dawa-i-dil. Chowk.com. Retrieved 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ Dutta, Rinku, Faheem Hussain – Lal Salam!, retrieved 2008  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ a b c d "Obituaries: Faheem Hussain 1942–2009". CERN Courier. CERN. 7 December 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  7. ^ School of Science and Engineering, LUMS. "Biology, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering and Physics: Faheem Hussain". Retrieved 22 September 2008. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d e http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=201191. Retrieved 24 November 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  9. ^ Khalid, Rasheed (5 October 2009), "Tribute paid to Dr Faheem", The News International, Islamabad, Pakistan 

External links[edit]