Ghulam Dastagir Alam

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Ghulam Dastagir Alam Qasmi
Dr- G-D Alam (right) 2014-06-25 02-40.jpg
Dr. G.D Alam (right)
Born 1937
Faridabad, Haryana
Died 5 December 2000
Nilore, ICT
Residence Pakistan, United Kingdom
Citizenship Pakistan
Nationality Pakistan
Fields Theoretical physics
Institutions Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission
National Centre for Physics
International Centre for Theoretical Physics
Institute of Theoretical Physics
Imperial College London
Quaid-e-Azam University
Alma mater Government College University
University of London
Academic advisors Dr. Rafi Muhammad Chaudhry
Abdus Salam
Known for Ultracentrifuge development
Quantum Mechanics
Ion Scattering
Published work in Calculus and vector calculus
Notable awards Hilal-e-Imtiaz (1983)

Ghulam Dastagir Alam Qasmi (Urdu: غلام دستگیر عالم قاسمی ; popularly known as G.D. Alam; HI, PhD), was a Pakistani theoretical physicist and professor of mathematics at the Quaid-e-Azam University. Alam is best known for conceiving and embarking the research on gas centrifuge project during the timeline of Pakistan's integrated atomic bomb project in the 1970s, and also conceived the research on Gauge theory and Gamma ray bursts throughout his career.

After the atomic bomb project, Alam joined the Department of Mathematics at the Quaid-e-Azam University as well as serving as visiting faculty at the Institute of Physics, and co-authored papers on variation calculus and fission isomer. He was one of the notable theoretical physicist in PAEC and Qau, and at one point, his fellow theorist, Munir Ahmad Khan, called Allam, as "the problem solving brain of the PAEC."[1]


Alam attended and graduated from Government College University (GCU) with a BSc in Mathematics under the supervision of renowned theoretical physicist Abdus Salam, with an specialisation in Quantum Mechanics in 1954.[citation needed] In 1955, he enrolled in the Physics Department of the GCU where he obtained MSc in Physics in 1957.[2] His master's thesis were supervised under watchful supervision of dr. R. M. Chaudhry that had contained the thorough research in Electromagnetic radiation and their emission from heavy metals to particles.[citation needed] After his degree in physics, Alam taught elementary physics laboratory courses in his alma mater before joining the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in 1958.[citation needed]


In 1964, Alam went on to joined doctoral programme at the University of London with a UGC scholarship. In 1967, Alam was awarded PhD in Theoretical Physics after he submitted and published his doctoral thesis, jointly written by J.B. Hasted, P.P. Ong and D.K. Bohme, from the University of London.[3][4] His thesis covered the comprehensive studies on Charge-crossing involving Curve crossing, a concept in Quantum Mechanics.[5]

In 1967, he became fellow at the Institute of Physics where he continued his publications on theoretical nuclear physics. There, he pioneered his research in nuclear isomer, nuclear fission and the gamma rays.[6] In 1970, Alam performed an experiment in isomer and gamma rays and proposed that, in the isomer state, the average kinetic energy is associated with the decay process of Isomer state is about the same as the fission in the ground state of fission.[7] In 1970, he presented his papers on radiocluster, examining the graphs and functional behaviour of the fission products with respected experimental and calculated potential energies.[7]

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission[edit]

In 1970, Alam joined the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH). He initially joined the Computer department but moved to Physics Division there.[8] In 1974, Alam joined the Theoretical Physics Group under the directorship of his old mentor Abdus Salam (TPG). However, in 1975, Alam took the transferred at the Nuclear Physics Division to demonstrate research in high-speed rotationally fixed axis machine separation of the uranium isotope U-235 from other isotopes.[8]

1971 war and atomic bomb project[edit]

In 1976, Dr. Alam was the director of a team compromising Anwar Ali, Dr. Fakhr Hashmi, Javed Arshad Mirza, Eqbal Ahmad Khokhar, assisted by the members of Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering.[8] In Spring of 1976, Abdul Qadeer Khan joined this gas centrifuge programme as he replaced dr. Alam.[8] While research in United Kingdom, Dr. Alam had never seen a gas-centrifuge, yet he was the director of the Gas centrifuge programme, and had only a rudimentary.[8] Dr. Alam had only knowledge based on the literature on Manhattan Project and Jesse Beams work brought by Abdus Salam in 1972.[8] Dr. Alam reviewed the blueprints of a gas-centrifuge brought by Abdul Qadeer Khan and later identified as incorrect and uncompleted.[8] Not wanting to give up, Dr. Khan continued to work on the gas centrifuge, meanwhile, Alam paid a visit to Quaid-e-Azam University to deliver the lecture on Mathematical physics. It was here, dr. Alam met with Tasneem Shah, a mathematician educated at Oxford, and delegated Dr. Shah to join the gas-centrifuge programme. Together with Shah, Hashmi, Mirza, Khokhar, Ali, Alam formed the Directorate of Industrial Liaison, a codename of electromagnetic isotope separation project. Allam and his team had established the approximation and reasonable percent error for the actual value for the weapon-grade uranium.[1] The electric vector equation problems, after applying the Stokes' law, in the centrifuges were learned and mastered in Kahuta, and temperature difference in UF6 to flow from top to bottom; it was here a team of GD Alam and A.Q. Khan had done tremendous amount of scientific research on complex and dynamical problems in the uranium enrichment.[1] According to the reference written in Eating Grass, it was Alam, Fakhar Hashmi, Anwar Ali, and A.Q. Khan's research group that helped achieved the first enrichment into weapon-grade uranium, in a record timelime.[1]

In April 1976, Dr. Alam succeeded in rotating the first centrifuge to 30,000rpm ; and on 4 June 1978 at 2:00 am at Chaklala Science Laboratories (SCL), Dr. G.D. Alam and Anwar Ali succeeded in separating the 235U and 238U isotopes in an experiment dr. A.Q Khan also witnessed.[8] Commenting on the success, GD Alam famously quoted: "Boys, we have achieved enrichment in Pakistan.".[1] At the same time, GD Alam and among other of his colleagues signed and quickly published a paper on the differential methods of the centrifuges.[1] After this success of this centrifuge project, the differences and tensions with Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan began to arise over his suspected atomic proliferation issues.[8] In 1981, Dr. G.D. Alam was transferred back to PAEC after the matter was taken to the Government. Alam associated with the atomic bomb project while he continued to publish his articles in theoretical physics.

Though Alam remained a vital member in the TPG, where he continued his research on partial differential equations, and joined Mathematics Department at the Quaid-e-Azam University. Alam briefly taught courses on Beltrami equation, Multivariable calculus and Mathematical physics. At Department of Mathematics, Dr. Alam pioneered a paper in Gamma-ray burst using the mathematical descriptions to analyse the energy released by the gamma rays.[9] Dr. Alam died on 5 December 2000 in his residence in Islamabad.

HISTORY OF DR. G.D. ALAM Dr. G.D. Alam was born in 1937 and educated at Government College Tamman Campbelpur (Now Attock) and at the Government College, Lahore. He did his M.Sc in Physics under the well known Nuclear Scientist late Professor Rafi Muhammad Chaudhri of Government College. Even in his studies he showed great skill in experimental science and doing things with his own hands. Finding this quality, Professor Chaudhri put him on the M.Sc thesis for utilizations of the 1.2 Mev cock roft Walton accelerator, then recently installed nuclear machine of great importance the only one in Pakistan. This accelerator was installed at the well known Atomic Laboratory, the High Tension Lab. of the Government College. Dr. G.D. Alam showed great experimental skill in this work and Professor Chaudhri was great admirer of his experimental acumen. After M.Sc Dr. Alam did a brief lecturing in Physics at the Murray College Sialkot and rightly was picked up by Dr. I.H.Usmani in early 1962 to provide him advanced training in U.K. under the Colombo Plan Scholarship. Dr. Alam completed his Ph.D in Atomic Physics under Professor J.B. Hasted at the University College, London in 1967. His work on the development of atomic ion sources as his Ph.D research was extensively referred by other scientists in this field and particularly in the famous book of Professor Hasted written on the subject of Atomic Collisions. On return from his higher studies in 1967, Dr. G.D. Alam was posted at PINSTECH in the Nuclear Physics Division and was assigned the work on Fission Physics being carried out at the newly installed 5MW Swimming Pool Research Reactor. These experiments required again a great skill in experimental Nuclear Physics and Dr. G.D. Alam did these experiments with great enthusiasm. He spent a year at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory under the bilateral agreement between PINSTECH and ORNL. He returned to Pakistan in 1970 and worked for some more years at PINSTECH as Group Leader of the Fission Group of the Nuclear Physics Divisions. He was then called to an important project on Uranium-Enrichment in 1976 started by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission which later became an independent project under the management of Dr. A.Q. Khan. Other scientists from PINSTECH were sent to this project including Dr. J.A.Mirza, Mr. Anwar Ali, Dr. F.H.Hashmi and several others from time to time in these early years of the project. Dr. G.D. Alam worked along with the other scientist mostly sent by PINSTECH, selflessly and with a dedication where the working time was of no consideration. His team worked day and night for several years and played a major role in the setting up and operation of the centrifuges for uranium – enrichment. By early eighties Dr. G.D. Alam had set up successful results and his team was the first to establish the enrichment of uranium done through the machines which they had set up. It was indeed an historic contribution by this team to the success of the project for uranium enrichment and in the process a large number of technicians and scientists who worked with his team gained a very useful experience and although Dr. G.D. Alam had to return to PAEC because of certain departmental differences, but the trained manpower and the operating centrifuges he left behind were a great scientific/engineering contributions to the uranium enrichment project now well known as A.Q.Khan Research Laboratories. His contribution to this project has not been properly recognized. While a number of scientists and engineers were awarded civil awards in recognition of their efforts to this project, but the silent hero of the project whose contribution was fundamental at the crucial stages of this project remained unrewarded. On return to PAEC, Dr. G.D. Alam was posted as Head of the Computer Division where he worked hard to expand the computer facilities to the scientific users as well as extended help to the many operations of the nuclear equipment through computer control. His versatile genius always extending hand to many scientists at PINSTECH for solving the computer problems. At the time the project of renovating the electronics of the 5MW reactor was in the offering. Dr. G.D. Alam offered himself to take up this gigantic job of complete setting up the control system of the reactor. This was done successfully in collaboration with Dr. Aijaz Karim so well, that the reactor has been operating so well with this control system since 1986. Dr. G.D. Alam was then called to head the technical company (Pvt.) Ltd by the name of M/S Al-Technique Corporation which is being run by the Board of Governors with PAEC Chairman as its head. The company has the main units of sterilization of medical products through gamma radiation and the laboratory for testing of soil particularly for nuclear power plants. Both these units are being run at Lahore on commercial lines. This is where Dr. G.D. Alam retired as Executive Director of this Corporation. Dr. G.D. Alam’s versatility is evident from the variety of technical organizations where he made so successful contributions which will be remembered for long time to come. His personality as a man of versatility is also reflected in the wit he often showed with great laughter with appropriate jokes suited to the occasion. On his retirement ceremony, Dr. N.M. Butt the former Director General of PINSTECH, a class fellow of Dr. G.D. Alam of the Government College days and having in constants interaction with Dr. G.D. Alam throughout the year till his retirement amply testified to the versatility of his great experimentalist who took great pleasure by plunging his hands into the experiments and instruments here in. He has died peacefully in 2000. His services will be long remembered in Pakistan Nuclear History.


  • Qasmi, Ghulam Dastigar Alam (April 1996) [1996], Calculus: An Approach to Engineering Mathematics, 1, 1 (1 ed.), Department of Mathematics, Quaid-e-Azam University: Punjab Text Board, p. 390 

Science articles[edit]

  • Fission fragment mass distributions and kinetic energies for spontaneous fission isomers, by R.L. Ferguson, F. Plasil, G.D. Alam†, H.W. Schmitt.
  • Gamma Ray Transitions in the de-excitation Californium-253 spontenous fission pragments, by G.D. Alam, Department of Mathematics.


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  1. ^ a b c d e f Khan, Feroz Hassan (2012-11-07). "Cascade to Enriching". Eating grass : the making of the Pakistani bomb. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804776011. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Allam, Ghulam Dastigar (1957). The Emission of Electromagnetic Radiations from metals by high energy particles (MSc). High Tension Laboratories at the Department of Physics of Government College University (GCU). 
  3. ^ Hasted, J.B (1972-01-01). Physics of atomic collisions. J.B. Hasted. ISBN 9780444196149. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Theses and Dissertations Accepted for Higher Degrees". 1967. University of London. 
  5. ^ W. Benjamin., 1967, United States. Dept. of Defense. "Charge Transfer Involving Curve Crossin". W. Benjamin., 1967. United States. Dept. of Defense. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Bates, David Robert (1967). Advances in Atomic and Molecular Physics. Uk. Usa: Academic Press Inc. pp. 243–247. ISBN 9780080564647. 
  7. ^ a b Hooshyar, M. Ali; Irwin Reichstein; F. B. Malik (2005). Nuclear Fission and Cluster Radioactivity: An Energy-Density Functional Approach. Berlin; New York: Springer. pp. 136–151. ISBN 3-540-23302-4. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Shahid-Ur Rehman (1999). "The Gas-centriguce controversy". Long Road to Chagai: §The Gas centrifuge controversy. Pakistan, UK,: Printwise publications. pp. 8, 53–60. ISBN 978-969-8500-00-9. 
  9. ^ Alam, Ghulam Dastigar. "Gamma Ray Transitions in the de-excitation Californium-253 spontenous fission pragments". Dr. Ghulam Dastigar Alam, Department of Mathematics, Quaid-e-Azam University. Institution of Electrical. Retrieved 27 December 2011.