Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy (Urdu: پرویز ہودبھائی; born 11 July 1950) is a Pakistani nuclear physicist, essayist and defense analyst. He has also taught as the visiting professor of Physics at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) where he also worked on topics in theoretical applications in the topological insulators, various Hall effects and Grapheme. Before joining LUMS, he was the professor of nuclear and high-energy physics, and also the head of the Physics Department at the Quaid-e-Azam University. Currently, he holds the Zohra and Z. Z. Ahmed endowed chair in the departments of Mathematics and Physics at Forman Christian College.
He graduated and also received a PhD from MIT and continues to do research in Particle physics. He received the Baker Award for Electronics in 1968, and the Abdus Salam Prize for Mathematics in 1984. He has authored various scientific research papers in peer-reviewed journals.
Hoodbhoy is also a prominent environmentalist and social activist and regularly writes on a wide range of social, cultural and environmental issues. He is the chairman of Mashal, a non-profit organization which publishes Urdu books on feminism, education, environmental issues, philosophy, and modern thought. Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy is a strong supporter of peaceful use of nuclear technology in Pakistan, nuclear non-proliferation, and nuclear disarmament; he has criticized the United States, Israel, Pakistan’s and India’s nuclear program in many national and international forums.
Youth and academic career
Hoodbhoy did the O and A-Level exams in Karachi, Sindh and attended Karachi Grammar School. After completing his high school in Pakistan he got a partial scholarship at MIT to pursue his undergraduate studies there. Hoodbhoy showed great interest in Electronics and Mathemetics., Hoodbhoy studied for his double majors and gained his double Bachelor of Sciences in Mathematics and Electrical engineering, followed by M.S. in Solid-State Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973,. After graduation he got a job at Quaid e Azam University and left the US for Pakistan.
He went on to obtain a D.Phil. in Nuclear Physics in 1978 from the same institution. During his doctoral studies, Hoodbhoy had worked with numerous Manhattan Project scientists (who had worked closely in the development of a first implosion device— Fat Man atom bomb in the 1940s) in the field of nuclear physics. Later, he remained a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Washington. Hoodbhoy, joined the Institute of Physics, later Department of Physics, as professor of Physics, since 1973. He spent his research career extensively on Quantum field theory, Particle Phenomenology, and Super symmetry in the area of Particle physics. Hoodbhoy currently teaches at Lahore University of Management Sciences, and is a visiting professor of Mathematics at the Carnegie Mellon University, and visiting professor of physics at both University of Maryland at College Park, and remains a senior visiting scientist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Hoodbhoy also occasionally lectures on various topics in Mathematics and Physics in the American and European research institutions. Hoodbhoy is a prominent sponsor of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, representing the Pakistan’s delegation. Hoodbhoy is also a senior member of Pakistan Atomic Scientists Federation (PASF). He also serves on the International Advisory Council of the Brookings Doha Center. After receiving his doctorate in physics, Hoodbhoy, at MIT, met with the renowned scientists Dr. Abdus Salam and Riazuddin where Salam gave his lectures on particle physics. Hoodbhoy then traveled to Trieste where he became a research associate at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). At ICTP, Hoodbhoy began his research in particle physics that was supervised by Professor Salam. In 1999, Hoodbhoy with Ishfaq Ahmad and Riazuddin, played a major and influential role in the establishment of National Centre of Physics (NCP). With its establishment, Hoodbhoy became one of the earliest academic scientists who joined the NCP at its inception.
Defense and political views
Apart from his specialist field of research, Hoodbhoy extensively writes and speaks on topics ranging from science in Islam to education and nuclear disarmament issues around the world. He is author of Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality that has been translated into five languages. In this book, Hoodbhoy outlines the history of Pakistan, implications of theocracy and military dictatorships in Pakistan, and the abstract textbook system in education system of Pakistan. His articles on various issues related to science and social issues are often published in international media. His publications are repeatedly published in both technical and non-technical papers. Hoodbhoy widely writes about the role and modernization of Pakistan Armed Forces, particularly the defense budget spending by the Government of Pakistan on Pakistan Armed Forces. He has been critical of the role of Pakistan Armed Forces in politics and the imposition of unlawful Martial Law. Hoodbhoy heavily criticizes militant and fundamentalist Islam, while avidly supporting Pakistan Armed Forces in their operations against the Islamic extremism in his country. Hoodbhoy was among the first activists who voiced their support for the Pakistan Armed Forces Operation Black Thunderstorm, as part of conflict in West-Pakistan.
In an interview on secularism, he mentioned that obsession with scientific-religious Apophenia may have caused lack of scientific advancement among Muslims in recent years. In 2003 he was one the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.
Nuclear weapons in South Asia
Hoodbhoy is a leading vocal critic of nuclear weapons, and especially of the on-going nuclear weapons expansion in South Asia. He holds India responsible for Pakistan’s symmetric nuclear weapons programme as part of Pakistan’s self credible deterrence. According to Hoodbhoy, India’s nuclear tests forced Pakistan to jump into the nuclear arena in 1974, and again in 1998, after war-threatening statements were made by Indian government to Pakistan; Pakistan equalized (see Chagai-I and Chagai-II) this magnitude over the nuclear edge that same month. He believes that Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence programme has protected Pakistan and helped prevent conflict in numerous war threatening situations with India. Hoodbhoy has also warned about the possibility of radical Islamists gaining control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
Hoodbhoy has made important contributions in physics, particularly in particle physics. Many of Hoodbhoy’s recorded lectures on physics are available online. At National Center for Physics, Hoodbhoy conducted research on different aspects of particle physics, and pioneered studies in modern physics and its extension to mathematical and nuclear physics. In 2006, Hoodbhoy published a brief mathematical description of Generalized Parton Distributions. In 2007, Hoodbhoy re-published the work of Jens Lyng Peterson the Maldacena conjecture (a conjectured equivalence between a string theory and gravity defined on one space, and a quantum field theory without gravity defined by one or less dimension) where he contributed mathematically to the theory. In the same year, he re-published the work of Edward Witten on Anti-de Sitter space and its extension to the field of Holography. While the paper was published experimentally in 1998 by Witten, Hoodbhoy provided the brief mathematical proofs and description to understand, logically, the subject of Sitter space— a scalar curvature in general theory of relativity.
On 14 April 2001, it was announced that Dr. Hoodbhoy would be receiving Sitara-i-Imtiaz from the former President; General (retired) Pervaiz Musharraf which he refused to accept. His refusal prompted the Friday Times to interview him.
I am reasonably with my (scientific) work… I do not think it is earth-shaking or… that it deserves any kind of . On the other hand, receiving an – even if it is a high national award – would give me absolutely no sense of achievement or satisfaction… because it carries no credibility or prestige in professional circles. Such things do not indicate that you have done good work in your field. Therefore I decided to refuse the award
—Pervez Hoodbhoy, issued the statement on The Friday Times, 2001,
He produced a 13-part documentary series in Urdu for Pakistan Television on critical issues in education, and two series aimed at popularizing science. In 2004, he made a documentary film ‘Crossing the Lines: Kashmir, Pakistan, India’ along with Dr. Zia Mian. These documentaries carry heavy emphasis on the issues of education, public health and scientific revolution in Pakistan.
In his documentaries, Dr. Hoodbhoy has heavily criticized Pakistan and India’s nuclear weapons program. He also pointed out the seriousness of the Talibanization in Pakistan and its immediate effects on South Asia. His documentaries also point out that American and NATO forces in Afghanistan didn’t help the Afghan people’s life and there was no reform in Afghanistan’s social and public sector and, instead, the insurgency and corruption grew, which also destabilized Pakistan’s western front.
- Crossing the Lines: Kashmir, Pakistan, India (2004)
- The Bell Tolls for Planet Earth (2003)
- Pakistan and India Under the Nuclear Shadow (2001)
Pervez Hoodbhoy on Higher Education Commission (HEC)
Hoodbhoy was a harsh critic of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) while it was headed by Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman. This led to numerous print and television media debates.
The administrative competency of HEC was called into question. The achievements of the HEC initiative which involved the development, staffing and management of universities, with the aim of attracting foreign academics to Pakistan, were described as ‘dismal’. In the case of UESTP-France, in Karachi, out of an expected faculty strength of between 450 to 600, no French faculty or administrative staff actually arrived.
The data used to support the positive appraisal of HEC’s activities was questioned in a series of communications between Hoodbhoy and HEC Chairman Atta-Ur-Rehman. It was claimed by the latter that in mathematics, Pakistani authors received 20% more citations than the worldwide average. Hoodbhoy questioned this on several grounds including the number of self-citations these publications received and said that this was a crucial aspect that the HEC left out of its interpretation.
Criticism was leveled by Hoodbhoy at the practice of hiring those foreign academics in local universities who were said to have difficulty in communicating and teaching, although they contributed to boosting the number of research publications originating from Pakistani universities.
An article published in ‘Nature’ on 3 September 2009 was the source of much debate. While it reported many achievements and showered much praise on the activities of the HEC, Hoodbhoy asked that the education system be assessed on the changes in quality of teaching in public universities, procedures for selection of students, and on whether campuses began to see greater academic freedom, greater transparency and less violence from extremist groups.
Awards and honours
- An Executive member of the board of Riazuddin National Center for Physics.
- Member of the Board of Sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
- Awarded UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science in Pakistan.
- His TV serials and film The Bell Tolls for Planet Earth won honorable mention at the Paris Film Festival.
- A member of the orial Board of Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies.
He is also the recipient of:
- Baker Award for Electronics (1968).
- Student-of-the-Year, Pakistan Students Association of America (1972).
- Rockefeller Mauze Fellowship for graduate studies (1973).
- Abdus Salam Award for Mathematics (1984).
- Associate of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (1986–1994).
- Faiz Ahmed Faiz Award, for contributions towards the cause of education in Pakistan (1990).
- “Book of the Year Award”, awarded by the National Book Council of Pakistan (1993).
- Fulbright Award (1997–1998) for research at the University of Maryland, College Park.
- Selma V. Forkosch Prize (2003)
- International Advisory Council of the Brookings Doha Center.
- Civic Courage Award- 2007.
- 2010 Joseph A. Burton Award (2010)
- Education and the State: Fifty Years of Pakistan Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0-19-577825-0
- Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality Zed Books, London, 1992. ISBN 978-1-85649-025-2 (Translations in Arabic, Indonesian, Malaysian, Turkish, Japanese, and Urdu)
- (Co- .ed with A. Ali), Proceedings of the School on Fundamental Physics and Cosmology World Scientific, Singapore, 1991.
- (With A. H. Nayyar), “Rewriting the History of Pakistan”, in Islam, Politics and the State: The Pakistan Experience, Ed. Mohammad Asghar Khan, Zed Books, London, 1986.ISBN 978-0-86232-471-1
- Two-Photon Effects in Lepton-AntiLepton Pair Photoproduction from a Nucleon Target using Real Photons, Authors: Pervez Hoodbhoy, Phys.Rev. D73 (2006) 054027
- Probing Quark Distribution Amplitudes Through Generalized Parton Distributions at Large Momentum Transfer, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Xiangdong Ji, Feng Yuan, Phys.Rev.Lett. 92 (2004) 012003
- Explicit Proof that Electroproduction of Transversely Polarized Vector Mesons Vanishes in Perturbative QCD, Pervez Hoodbhoy (University of Maryland and Quaid-e-Azam University), Phys.Rev. D65 (2002) 077501
- Does the Gluon Spin Contribute in A Gauge Invariant Way to Nucleon Spin? Pervez Hoodbhoy, Xiangdong Ji, Phys.Rev. D60 (1999) 114042
- Nucleon-Quarkonium Elastic Scattering and the Gluon Contribution to Nucleon Spin, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Phys.Rev.Lett. 82 (1999) 4985-4987
- Implications of Color Gauge Symmetry For Nucleon Spin Structure, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Xiangdong Ji, Wei Lu, Phys.Rev. D59 (1999) 074010
- Quark Orbital-Angular-Momentum Distribution in the Nucleon, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Xiangdong Ji, Wei Lu, Phys.Rev. D59 (1999) 014013
- The Spin Structure of the Nucleon in the Asymptotic Limit, Ji, J. Tang (MIT), P. Hoodbhoy (Quaid-e-Azam, Pakistan), Phys.Rev.Lett. 76 (1996) 740-743
- Helicity-Flip Off-Forward Parton Distributions of the Nucleon, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Xiangdong Ji, Phys.Rev. D58 (1998) 054006
- Wavefunction corrections and off-forward gluon distributions in diffractive J/psi electroproduction, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Phys.Rev. D56 (1997) 388-393
- Relativistic and Binding Energy Corrections to Direct Photon Production In Upsilon Decay, Mohammad Ali Yusuf, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Phys.Rev. D54 (1996) 3345-3349
- Beyond The Colour-Singlet Model For Inelastic J_psi Photoproduction, H. Khan, P. Hoodbhoy, Phys. Lett. B382 (1996) 189
- The Spin Structure of the Nucleon in the Asymptotic Limit, X. Ji, J. Tang (MIT), P. Hoodbhoy (Quaid-e-Azam, Pakistan), Phys.Rev.Lett. 76 (1996) 740-743
- Novel approach to decays, gluon distributions, and fragmentation functions of heavy quarkonia, Rafia Ali, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Phys.Rev. D51 (1995) 2302-2310
- Quark fragmentation functions in a diquark model for proton and $\Lambda$ hyperon production, Muhammad Nzar, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Phys.Rev. D51 (1995) 32-36
- Systematic gauge invariant approach to heavy quarkonium decays, Hafsa Khan, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Phys.Rev. D53 (1996) 2534-2540
- Twist-Four Distributions in a Transversely-Polarized Nucleon and the Drell-Yan Process, Pevrez Hoodbhoy, Xiangdong Xi, Phys.Rev. D50 (1994) 4429-4435
- Detecting Two-Photon Exchange Effects in Hard Scattering from Nucleon Targets, in Mathematical Physics: Proceedings of the 12th Regional Conference, Islamabad, Pakistan 27 March – 1 April 2006, World Scientific, Singapore, 2007. ISBN 978-981-270-591-4
- Abdus Salam: Past and Present- The News (29 January 1996)
- Generalized Parton Distributions, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
- Aik Din Geo Kay Saath on Geo TV, February 2010
Scientific papers and articles
Appearances in TV shows
Capital Talk on Geo TV, 29 August 2012