Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Centenary Celebrations of Physics Department - 1

Just back from the first session of Centenary Celebrations of Physics Department function. Professor Wasi Haider, Chairman of Physics Department, AMU, Aligarh gave summary of the 100 year journey of the Department. Things began when science teaching began combinely with the appointment of H.Dunncliffe. Because of this the Chemistry Department celebrated its centenary in 2008. We too could have done that, and indeed there was some talk about it in the Department of Physics at that time but there was no evidence that the Physics of Chemistry Departments were created in 1908.

As Professor Haider told that first MSc degree was awarded in Physics in 1923 and first PhD in 1931. Several students of Nobel Laureates served and developed the department in various ways. Then there was the tricky time of partition. It was a long journey for a small period of hundred years.

Present working Vice Chancellor, being an illustrious alumnus of the Department, was on the dais and he said very kind words.

Then Professor M. Zillur Rahman Khan Sahab spoke. And was it a heartwarming lecture? It need a separate report of its own. (Professor Wasi Haider's report should become publicly available later on.)

Then Professor Siraj Hasan, Director of Indian Institue of Astrophysics, Bangalore spoke. His focus was on presently good times of Astronomy in India. Then Professor S.K.Sing who has retired last June from the Department and is continuing as the Vice Chancellor of Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna University, Shrinagar, Garhwal told the gathering about his association with the Physics Department. He told a very touching incident. Late Professor M.Shafi called Professor Singh, in 1985 or so, when latter became a full professor and said that Professor Singh Aligarh has given you whatever it could - now it is your turn to do your bit. Very delicate emotion and yours truly will vouch for the fact that Professor Singh did take it very seriously and indeed he did bring good name to Aligarh. This itself is a delicate point that he disclosed these finer sentiments after retiring from the active service of AMU. His soothing words together with the Grand Old Man of Physics at Aligarh style presentation of Professor MZR Khan just made the day. With an English hat Professor Khan looked like a typical British Lord.

There were many other alumni of the department from India, specially local alumni. Professor Qamar Naseer Usmani and Mr Ammar Hasan came from abroad specially for this function. There was short address by the Dean Faculty of Science Professor Arunima Lal as well as a few words by Professor MSZ Chaghtai. A memento (that is the correct word and it was not used) was also released and Professor Wasi Haider had to explain the miniature size of the memento. It is small because we talk about the things like the atomic nucleus which is small. A souvenir publication too was released that contains some rare photographs related to Physics at Aligarh as well as the complete publication list of the Physics Department since 1931 till today.