Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Dr Raja Ali Raza has emphasised the need for maximising international cooperation in all spheres of science and technology, saying building bridges to the world’s scientific community will help transform the country into a developed society.
Speaking at the annual ‘International Nathiagali Summer College on Physics and Contemporary Needs’, which started on Monday, the PAEC chairman said the increasing level of interaction with foreign research and development institutions will lead to acceleration in the process of transforming Pakistan into a dynamic hub for science and technology.
In this regard, he mentioned the ongoing cooperation with the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (AS-ICTP), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP), and the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME).
The PAEC chairman expressed the hope that collaboration with these institutes would continue to grow for the nation’s benefit and foster the growth of science and technology. Dr Raza urged the youth to pursue scientific knowledge to become useful, productive and rational citizens of a modern Pakistan.
“It is our duty to introduce young people to the challenges of the modern world, besides providing an ample opportunity to grow so they can serve the nation to the best of their capabilities.”
The PAEC, he added, is engaged in multi-disciplinary programmes. About electricity generation, Dr Raza said four nuclear power plants at Chashma were contributing 1330MW and two power plants in Karachi were providing 2200MW to the national grid.
In the health sector, he said, 19 nuclear medical centres were providing state-of-the-art nuclear techniques for diagnostics and treatment of cancer to about 80 per cent of reported cancer patients in Pakistan. Existing cancer hospitals are being upgraded and new state-of-the-art equipment is being installed.
In the field of agriculture and biotechnology, the PAEC chief added, over 132 varieties of various crops, including rice, wheat, cotton, sugarcane brassica, moong bean and lentils had been developed.
The PAEC has been organising the Nathiagali Summer College every year since 1976. This year the event has attracted 34 experts from the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, Spain, Turkey, Romania and Estonia. The commission has selected about 250 researchers from universities and research organisations from all over Pakistan. The 47th college, which will conclude on July 2, is covering topics like machine learning and artificial intelligence, high power laser systems and applications, recent trends in 3D printing and advances in quantum technologies.
The idea of holding the ‘International Nathiagali Summer College on Physics and Contemporary Needs’ was floated by Nobel laureate Professor Abdus Salam. Over the years, about 1,000 scientists and speakers, including eight Nobel laureates, have delivered lectures at the programme.