Mohammad Sajjad Alam

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Mohammad Sajjad Alam
Born 5 January 1947 (1947-01-05) (age 70)
Dhaka, Bengal Presidency, British Raj (now Bangladesh)
Nationality  US
Fields particle physics
Institutions King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals
University at Albany, SUNY
Alma mater Dhaka University
Indiana University

Mohammad Sajjad "Saj" Alam (born 5 January 1947) is an American physicist born in British India (Pakistan after 1947, and Bangladesh after 1971). His work has focused on particle physics and computational physics. He has played a significant role in several major particle physics experiments (the Mark II, CLEO, GEM, BaBar, ATLAS collaborations) that have led to new discoveries in the area of high-energy particle physics.

Early life and family[edit]

Alam was born in Dhaka, then in the Bengal Presidency of British India (now Bangladesh ),[1] to a well-educated family of Kolkata, British India. His family moved to West Pakistan around 1971, after the secession of East Pakistan.[2] Alam is one of eleven siblings. His eldest brother, Muhammad Mahmood Alam (1935 – 2013), was a Pakistani fighter pilot and war hero, who rose to the rank of one-star general in the Pakistan Air Force.[2] Another brother, M. Shahid Alam, is an economist and a professor at Northeastern University,[3][4]

Alam decided to become a physicist when his eighth grade science teacher at Saint Gregory High School in Dhaka, introduced him to atomic and nuclear physics. "I was hooked; I came home and told my father I know that I would become a physicist."[5]

He was the first member of his family to come to the United States, and is one of the first Pakistanis to get a PhD in experimental particle physics.[5] He is now a naturalized American citizen, and lives in the US. Alam is married and has two children.[1]

Academic history and positions[edit]

Alam began his academic career at Dacca University, in what is now Bangladesh. There he earned a BSc in Physics and an MSc in Theoretical Nuclear Physics. He went on to earn a Phd in Experimental Particle Physics from Indiana University in 1975. Alam next spent a year at Vanderbilt University as a research associate before securing a position at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. In 1979, after four years at SLAC, he accepted a faculty position at Vanderbilt.

Alam remained with Vanderbilt until 1984, at which time he joined the faculty of the University at Albany, SUNY. At Albany, he served as chair of the physics department (2003-2006) and director of the Albany High Energy Physics Lab. Still currently associated with Albany, since 2010 Alam has also held the chair professor of physics at the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals.


Alam's research has focused on experimental particle physics and computational physics. He was the principal investigator on several major experiments, including the ATLAS experiment at CERN, the BaBar experiment at SLAC, and the CLEO experiment.

He has been author or co-author of over 1200 refereed papers,[5] and counts 43 of these as his direct publications.[6]

The major experiments that Alam has directed or played a significant role in include:

  • (1972-1974) SLAC E-82 Searches for Exotic Associated with Mesons Using a Fast Forward Neutron Trigger with the 15” Rapid Cycling Bubble Chamber
  • (1974–75) SLAC E-103 Search for Exotic Mesons Using a Fast Forward Proton Trigger with the SLAC Streamer Chamber
  • (1976–79) MARK II at SPEAR studying collisions. Focus on charm physics
  • (1979-2000) CLEO collaboration (CLEO 1.5, CLEO II), studying collisions at the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR). Focus on charm and beauty physics
  • (1992-1993) Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) detector proposal for the Superconducting Super Collider
  • (1993-2000) CLEO II Upgrade. Particle Identification System
  • (1995–present) Joined the ATLAS detector pixel group at the Large Hadron Collider, CERN
  • (1998-2000) Nominal member of BTeV at FNAL
  • (2000–present) Joined the BaBar Collaboration

Alam is currently working extensively with the Beowulf cluster class of supercomputers.

In addition to his direct contributions to physics, Alam has greatly enjoyed his role as a mentor to new physicists, and has supervised more than twenty PhD students.[6] He is also keenly interested in the relationship between science and religion, and teaches a course on the subject.[6]

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Prof. Muhammad Sajjad Alam". Islamic World Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Iconic war veteran MM Alam passes away, The News International. Retrieved on 19 March 2013.
  3. ^ Institute for Policy Research & Development, Advisory Board; Dr. M. Shahid Alam
  4. ^ Cihan Aksan, State of Nature, On Islam: An Interview with M. Shahid Alam
  5. ^ a b c Alam, Mohammad Sajjad (1 October 2013). "Born to be a Professor of Physics: The Life of a Muslim Scientist in USA". Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c "Albany High Energy Physics Lab: Professor Mohammad Sajjad Alam (2010) Curriculum Vitae". University at Albany, SUNY. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 

External links[edit]