Iqbal Hussain Qureshi

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Iqbal Hussain Qureshi
Born (1937-09-27)27 September 1937
Ajmer, Rajasthan, British Indian Empire
(now India)
Died 8 December 2012(2012-12-08) (aged 75)
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Resting place Gizri Cemetery
Residence Nilore, Islamabad
Nationality Pakistani
Citizenship Pakistan
Alma mater Sindh University
University of Michigan
University of Tokyo
Known for Fundamental work in the discovery of Tellurium, transuranium elements, and Pakistan's nuclear deterrence programme
Awards Sitara-i-Imtiaz (1992)
Khwarizmi Award (1997)
Scientific career
Fields Nuclear chemistry
Institutions Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission
Institute of and Applied Sciences
Nuclear Regulatory Authority
Thesis Radiochemical separations by Amalgam exchange (1963)
Doctoral advisor Takashi Mukaibo

Iqbal Hussain Qureshi (Urdu:اقبال حسين قریشی; 27 September 1937 – 8 December 2012; SI, FPAS[1]), best known as I.H. Qureshi, was a Pakistani nuclear chemist and professor of chemistry at the Institute of and Applied Sciences in Islamabad.

Qureshi was the principle contributor of scientific understanding of various elements: rubidium, potassium, bromide, chlorine, and the Debye model. Early his career, he made notable contribution in advancing of the field of nuclear medicine in Pakistan. In addition, he also advised the government on nuclear policy issues and pushed his influential role in Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) and the peaceful applications of nuclear science. He spent many years as an educator and research scientist at the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Nilore, Islamabad.


Iqbal Hussain Qureshi was born in Ajmer, Rajasthan, British Indian Empire on 27 September 1937. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, his family moved to Hyderabad, Sindh, where he matriculated from a public high school.[2] He was a child prodigy, having accepted at the Sindh University in his teenage years to study chemistry.[3] He received BSc in Chemistry from Sindh University in 1956.[3] He graduated at the top of his class, winning the Silver Medal with his degree.[3] In 1958, he gained MSc in chemistry from the same institution, and won the scholarship to pursue higher education in chemistry abroad. He went to United States to attend the University of Michigan where he earned MSc in nuclear chemistry in 1962.[2]

Qureshi continued his research on nuclear chemistry and took the PhD in nuclear chemistry from the University of Tokyo, with a doctoral thesis on the "Radiochemical separations by Amalgam exchange" which contained fundamental work on chemical amalgam, in 1963.[4] In 1967, he availed a post doctoral position at US's National Bureau of Standards and during 1969 he obtained a specialised training in the area of uranium and plutonium separation from Denmark.[2] He married twice in his life; his first wife died in mid 1980s and afterwards he got re-married. He was not only a scientist in its true meaning but also a man of exemplary character and showed immense kindness towards his colleagues and fellow workers.

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission[edit]

In 1960, Qureshi joined the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and posted at the chemistry division working under nuclear physicist, dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan. However, he was separated from the division when he independently established the radiochemistry division there.[2] In 1967, he took up the professorship at the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences where he pioneered the research in nuclear chemistry.[2]

In 1972, he was reached by Naeem Ahmad Khan and joined the chemistry division at the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH). He began working of equation of state on plutonium device as early as 1972.[2] He developed and established the computerised radiation detection chemical analysis laboratories at PINSTECH in 1973, which became an instrumental in detecting the tested radioactive emissions of India's first nuclear bomb test at Rajasthan, in 1974.[2] Notably, he balanced the crucial chemical equation required for the chemical reactions in the fission devices.[5] By 1977, he famously discovered the technique in order for balancing the Q-value and energy balance in a fission device.[6][7]

At PINSTECH, he was Head of the nuclear chemistry division (NCD) which was responsible for the multi-stage chemical process that separated, concentrated and isolated plutonium from uranium.[7] At NCD he also played a supervisory role in developing Analytical Chemistry Group comprising modern and state of the art analytical chemistry labs such as Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy lab, Emission Spectrography lab, Chromatography lab, Electrochemical Analysis lab and radio-isotope production labs etc. In 1983, he successfully oversaw the PARR-III reactor went into criticality. He engage his research in copper-nickel alloys after introducing the lattice dynamical method to evalulate the Cu29/Ni28 alloys.[8] Key and fundamental research on understanding the neutron flux were carried out by Qureshi, in which, he managed to secure the patents from the IAEA.[8] After the conclusion of the clandestine atomic bomb projects, he was appointed chief technical officer at the PAEC in 1991; though he was more eager to return to academia.[2]

Throughout his time at the PAEC, he had earned several scientific honours, including the Gold Medal and fellowship of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences in 1994. He was the recipient of the prestigious Sitara-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan in 1992.[2] In 1997, he was awarded the notable Khwarizmi Award on advancing and understanding the "Nuclear analytical techniques development and application in Pakistan".[9]

Academia and government work[edit]

In 1996, he retired from PAEC as Chief Scientific Officer and was made scientist emeritus, which allowed him to continue research at PINSTECH before moving to Karachi.[2] He took up the professorship of chemistry at the Karachi University and headed the nuclear chemistry section at the H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry. During this time, he authored several articles and published books on nuclear chemistry. He retained his position till 2001 when he joined the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority.[10]

At PNRA, he served as the chief scientific officer and adviser to the government on nuclear policy issues.[11] His contribution and policy efforts led to the physical security of the commercial nuclear power infrastructure in the country and helped launched the nuclear awareness campaign following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.[12] He served until 2009 when he decided to accept the professorship of chemistry at the Institute of and Applied Sciences. In 2012, he died with a sudden problem of breathing, and buried in Karachi, Sindh.[2]

As a scientist, he was remembered and noted as "a very highly skilled and duty conscientious scientist throughout."[2] He was a versatile scholar who played classical Sitar on multiple public occasions.[2]

Sources and citations[edit]


  1. ^ "Deceased Fellows". Pakistan Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Butt, Noor M. "Obituary: Dr. Iqbal Hussain Qureshi" (PDF). N.M. Butt, Pakistan Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Staff, Biographical Encyclopedia of Pakistan, Islamabad: National Archives of Pakistan, zWxmAAAAMAAJ 
  4. ^ Nuclear Science Abstracts, 1, 17, Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 1963, p. 4552, ukohAAAAMAAJ 
  5. ^ Rehman, Shahidur (1999). Long Road to Chagai. Islamabad: Printwise Publications. 
  6. ^ dr. Iqbal Hussain Qureshi (dr. I.H. Qureshi) was one of the leading scientists who were involved in the development of a nuclear weapon in early 1970s. Dr. I.H. Qureshi has had led NCD in the physio-chemical development of fissionable materials in the device. Dr. I.H. Qureshi had famously discovered 6
    +22.4 MeV equation for balancing the Q-value and energy balance in a fission device.
  7. ^ a b Khan, Feroz Hassan (2012). Eating grass the making of the Pakistani bomb. Stanford, California: Stanford Security Studies, an imprint of Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804784809. 
  8. ^ a b Qureshi, Iqbal Hussain; Naeem Ahmad Khan (11 November 1983). "Pakistan Research Reactor and its utilization" (PDF). IAEA Seminar on Effective Utilization and Management of Research Reactor. 1 (1). Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  9. ^ IROST. "Khwarizmi International Award 10th Session – 1997". Khwarizmi International Award Committee. IROST. Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Staff report (4 March 2008). "Pakistan is safe from hazards of radioactive rays: experts". Daily Times,. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Staff agencies (4 March 2008). "Pakistan is safe from radioactive effects". Associate Press of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "NTI Pakistan nuclear awareness" (PDF). Nuclear Threat Initiatives. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 

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