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Atta-ur-Rahman, FRS

UNESCO, SCIENCE LAUREATE
Nishan-e-Imtiaz
Hilal-e-Imtiaz
Sitara-e-Imtiaz
Tamgha-e-Imtiaz

MESSAGE

"We are but a fleeting moment of eternity A moment intensely packed with joy and tears We can do little but to accept what comes along And find our joy in helping those who need it most For it is only by lighting the flame in others that we can illuminate our own soul"

Over the years I have learnt that certain basic values in life are vitally important so that one can live with grace and dignity. I have summarized these in the following pages. I hope that they will be a source of guidance to others, to my students and to my children.


  1. Let the acquisition of knowledge be a life – long passion – for knowledge will turn you into a jewel. Blessed are those who can illuminate others around them by spreading knowledge far and wide.

  2. Be fearless in speaking the truth – since it is the suppression of truth which is the source of most evils.

  3. Value integrity above all else – for men without honour are a shame to humanity.

  4. Have the courage to stand up for what you believe in, but do not let arrogance distort your personality – knowledge leads to humility, and ignorance to arrogance.

  5. Have confidence in your abilities but do not be boastful, for it is the empty ones who swagger the most.

  6. Be polite, for courtesy is an important virtue.

  7. Be firm and patient in the face of adversity, since difficult times will soon give way to better days, provided that you have the fortitude to continue the struggle with determination.

  8. Strive for excellence in whatever you do, and try to do what you do in a manner that no one else could do it better.

  9. Be gentle and caring for others since it is the attribute that reflects what is the finest in a human being.

  10. Do not hesitate or be afraid to love – love is a rare gem, once found it must be nurtured and treasured.

  11. Let not hate or jealousy be a part of your character, as it will only diminish you.

  12. Be generous and charitable, for generosity of spirit will elevate your personality.

  13. Have a sense of humor, and be pleasant and charming – this is a virtue which once cultivated will make you likeable among others and bide you over difficult times.

  14. Be bold, frank, straightforward and sincere since you should have nothing to be ashamed about.

  15. Learn to understand yourself, discover your strengths and weaknesses, it is only then that you can unleash your true potentials.

  16. Do not be afraid to stand up and be counted on the side of righteousness, since most of our problems are due to men who sit on the fence for the sake of expediency while injustice is perpetuated around them.

  17. Be just, and accept no less from others.

  18. Do not accept the printed words blindly but question everything, for even Newton or Einstein can be wrong. However do not reject the other point of view till you have analyzed its logical basis.

  19. You are surrounded by the wondrous beauties of nature – learn to appreciate them and to explore their secrets – for this is why you were created.

  20. Learn to persevere in what you do – hard work, done intelligently, never goes unrewarded.

  21. Learn to smile at your failures and laugh at your successes, take failures in your stride, for success and failure go together.

  22. Do not let time slip by wastefully but make every moment count, for time is a precious commodity.

  23. Take pride in your religion, in your culture, and in your heritage but let moderation prevail since fanaticism leads only to destruction.

  24. Learn to work hard and with consistence – it is rightly said that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Indeed let statistics work for you – remember that even if you have only 2% chance of success, you are bound to succeed twice if you try a Hundred times.

  25. Stand up and fight for your rights, but take care that you do not infringe on the rights of others.

  26. Remember that rights and duties go together – so perform your duties diligently.

  27. Be thankful for all the things with which you have been blessed – for there are many others around you whom fate has blessed with much less.

  28. Do not be extravagant even though you are blessed with plenty – and give what you can to others who are more needy than you – remember that the little which you give will mean much to them.

  29. Live your life with grace and wisdom, in a manner that it is useful to others, so that when you are gone, others may say ‘their truly was a Man’.

  30. Above all, be God fearing, for in spite of all our apparently magnificent achievements, we are handful of atoms in temporary resonance with one another, destined to disperse and then reassemble to be judged for our deeds.

BIOGRAPHY

Early Life

Atta-ur-Rahman was born on 22nd September 1942 in Delhi, British India into an academic family. His grandfather, Sir Abdur Rahman, was a vice-chancellor of the University of Delhi (1930–1934) who briefly served as a judge at the Madras High Court.

In 1946, Sir Abdur Rahman was appointed as vice-chancellor of the Punjab University in Lahore, eventually relocating his family there, a year before the Partition of India took place. Sir Abdur Rahman eventually ascended as a Senior Justice at the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1949. His father, Jamil-ur-Rahman, was a lawyer who established a textile industry in Karachi, Sindh. Atta-ur-Rahman was a bright student at school. After settling in Karachi in 1952, he excelled in passing the competitive O-Level and A-Level from the Karachi Grammar School and joined Karachi University.

General Information

Atta-ur-Rahman (عطاالرحمان‎ born 22nd September 1942), FRS, FPAS, is a Pakistani scientist specializing in organic chemistry who served as the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan between October 2002 until September 2008 and the Minister for Science and Technology between March 2000 and September 2002. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the UN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation for UNESCAP. He is President of Network of Academies of Sciences of Islamic Countries (NASIC), Foreign Fellow of Korean Academy of Sciences, and Foreign Fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman has won the International Scientific Corporation Award by Chinese Academy of Science (CAS). He has been appointed as Chairman of Prime Minister’s Task Force on Science and Technology, Vice Chairman on Prime Minister’s Task Force on Technology Driven Knowledge Economy, and Co- Chair, Task Force on Information Technology.

Professor Emeritus/Patron-in-Chief

International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (H. E. J. Research Institute of Chemistry and Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research) University of Karachi, Karachi.

President

Network of Academies of Science in Countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (NASIC).

ACADEMIC CAREER

Atta-ur-Rahman has had a prominent record in Cambridge Overseas School Certificate in 1958, and ‘A’ Levels in 1960 from the Karachi Grammar School. In 1963, he received B.Sc (Hons.) in Chemistry, followed by M.Sc in Organic Chemistry from Karachi University. He received Commonwealth Scholarship in 1965 to study for Ph.D in Organic Chemistry under supervision of Dr. J. Harley Mason and received Ph.D at Kings College, Cambridge in 1968.

He was subsequently awarded a Doctorate of Science by University of Cambridge in 1987, a Doctorate of Education by Coventry University in 2007, a Doctorate of Science by Bradford University in 2010, and a Doctor of Philosophy by Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand in 2010.

Atta-ur-Rahman obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cambridge University (1968). He has 1157 publications in several fields of organic chemistry including 771 research publications, 45 international patents, 70 chapters in books and, 271 books published largely by major U.S. and European presses. He is the Editor-in-Chief of three European Chemistry journals. He is Editor of the world's leading encyclopedic series of volumes on natural products "Studies in Natural Product Chemistry" 62 volumes of which have been published under his Editorship‎ during the last two decades. Eighty two students have completed their Ph.D. degrees under his supervision.

POSITION HELD

  1. Fellow, Kings College, Cambridge University (1969-1973)
  2. Professor at H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry at Karachi University
  3. Coordinator General of COMSTECH (1996-2012)
  4. Federal Minister of Science and Technology (2000-2002)
  5. Federal Minister of Education (2002)
  6. Former Federal Minister/Chairman, Higher Education Commission, Pakistan (resigned due to govt issues) (2002-2008)
  7. Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Science and Technology (2002-2008)
  8. Honorary Life Fellow, Kings College, Cambridge University (2007-present)
  9. Distinguished National Professor International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences at Karachi University
  10. Patron-in-Chief International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences at Karachi University (2008-present)

HONORS AND AWARDS

Prof. Rahman is the first scientist from the Muslim world to have won the prestigious UNESCO Science Prize (1999) in the 35 year old history of the Prize. He was elected as Fellow of Royal Society (London) in July 2006. He has been conferred honorary doctorate degrees by many universities including the degree of Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) by the Cambridge University (UK) (1987), Honorary degree of Doctor of Education by Coventry University UK (2007), Honorary D.Sc. degree by Bradford University (2010), Honorary Ph.D. by Asian Institute of Technology (2010) and Honorary Doctorate from King of Malaysia (University of Technology, Mara, 2011). He was elected Honorary Life Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University, UK in 2007. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman was conferred the TWAS (Italy) Prize for Institution Building in October 2009 in recognition of his contributions for bringing about revolutionary changes in the higher education sector in Pakistan. The Austrian government has honoured him with its highest civil award (“Grosse Goldene Ehrenzeischen am Bande") (2007) in recognition of his eminent contributions. He is President of Network of Academies of Sciences of Islamic Countries (NASIC), Foreign Fellow of Korean Academy of Sciences, and Foreign Fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman has won the International Scientific Corporation Award by Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) for building scientific collaborations between China and Pakistan (2014), has been awarded prestigious “Einstein Professorship” by Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 2013 and has been awarded highest award “Friendship Award of China” on September 28, 2014.He has recently been appointed as Consultant, Education Forum Asia (2015-2020) and Foreign Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2015).

Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman is the President of Network of Academies of Science in Countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (NASIC). Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman has been elected as the president of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences twice from 2003-2006 and 2011 – 2014. He was the Federal Minister for Science and Technology (14th March, 2000 – 20th November, 2002), Federal Minister of Education (2002) and Chairman of the Higher Education Commission with the status of a Federal Minister from 2002-2008. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman was the Coordinator General of COMSTECH, an OIC Ministerial Committee comprising the 57 Ministers of Science & Technology from 57 OIC member countries from 1996 to 2012. He is Distinguished National Professor as well as Professor Emeritus at Karachi University.

In recognition of his global outstanding services to the development of Science and Technology the largest university in Malaysia, University of Technology Mara, Malaysia UiTM, has established an institution entitled, “Atta-ur-Rahman Institute on Natural Product Discovery (AuRins)” in 2013., The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) has also established an Institute “Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences (ASAB)” at their university in Islamabad in 2011.

Prof. Atta-ur Rahman has been appointed as Chairman of Prime Minister’s Task Force on Science and Technology, Vice Chairman on Prime Minister’s Task Force on Technology Driven Knowledge Economy, and Co- Chair, Task Force on Information Technology.

National Awards

  1. Nishan-e-Imtiaz (2002) (highest national civil award)
  2. Hilal-e-Imtiaz (1998)
  3. Sitara-e-Imtiaz (1991)
  4. Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (1983)
  5. Babai Urdu Award (1994)
  6. First Pakistan Academy of Sciences-INFAQ Foundation Prize, Gold Medal (1996)
  7. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui Gold Medal (1995)
  8. Scientist of the Year Award (for 1985)/Prize Rs. 2 lacs (1987)
  9. FPCCI Prize for Technological Innovation (1985)
  10. Open Gold Medal of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (1984)
  11. Gold Medal of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (Under 40) (1977)
  12. Best Book Prize Pakistan National Book Council, Government of Pakistan
  13. Engro Excellence Award (2010)
  14. HEC National Distinguished Professor (2011)
  15. Professor Emeritus University of Karachi (2011)
  16. Lifetime Achievement Award by UMT (2012)

International Awards

  1. TWAS Regional Prize for Institution Building (2009)
  2. Decoration of Honor in Gold with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria (2008)
  3. Honorary Doctor of Education honoris causa (Coventry University, UK) (2007)
  4. ISESCO Prize (2001)
  5. ECO Prize (2000)
  6. First Muslim scientist to receive the UNESCO Science Prize (1999)
  7. Federation of Asian Chemical Societies Award, Hiroshima, Japan (1997)
  8. First Prize at the 6th Kharazmi Festival in Iran (1993)
  9. The Islamic Organization Prize by Government of Kuwait (1988)
  10. Honorary Doctorate of Science (Sc. D) from University of Cambridge (1987)
  11. Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy honoris causa(Ph. D) from Asian Institute of Technology (2010)
  12. Honorary Doctorate of Science (Sc. D) from Bradford University (2010)
  13. Honorary Doctorate of Science (Sc. D) from University of Technology MARA (2010)
  14. Member UNESCO Hıgh Level Scıence & Technology Panel (2011)
  15. Vice-President Academy of Science of Developing World (TWAS)(2010)
  16. Visiting Professor Universiti Teknology Mara (UiTM) (2012)
  17. Einstein Professor, Chinese Chemical Society (2013)
  18. Visiting Professor, Kotlewala University, KDU, Sri Lanka (2014)
  19. International Cooperation Award, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2014)

Fellowship

  1. Fellow of Academy of Sciences for the Developing World
  2. Fellow of Islamic World Academy of Sciences
  3. Foreign Fellow of Korean Academy of Sciences
  4. Fellow of Pakistan Academy of Sciences
  5. Fellow of the Royal Society, London (2006)
  6. Honorary Life Fellow King's College, Cambridge University
  7. Fellow of Chinese Chemical Society
  8. Fellow, Chinese Chemical Society (2012)
  9. Fellow, Institute of Chemistry, Ceylon (ICHC), Sri Lanka (2014).

PUBLICATIONS

BOOKS, Chapters, JOURNALS, Research Articles and Patents

Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cambridge University (1968). He has 1157 publications in several fields of organic chemistry including 771 research publications, 45 international patents, 70 chapters in books and, 271 books published largely by major U.S. and European presses. He is the Editor-in-Chief of eight European Chemistry journals. He is Editor of the world's leading encyclopedic series of volumes on natural products "Studies in Natural Product Chemistry" 62 volumes of which have been published under his Editorship‎ during the last two decades. Eighty two students have completed their Ph.D. degrees under his supervision.

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    FOUNDATION STONE LAYING CEREMONY OF THE INSTITUTE NAMED AFTER HIS FATHER, "JAMIL-UR-RAHMAN CENTER FOR GENOME RESEARCH" AT THE ICCBS ON JANUARY 5, 2015



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