"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"
Atta-ur-Rahman was born on 22nd September 1942 in Delhi, British India into an Urdu-speaking academic family. His grandfather, Sir Abdur Rahman, was a vice-chancellor of the University of Delhi (1934–1938) 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.
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.
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.
Network of Academies of Science in Countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (NASIC).
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.
He has 1122 publications in several fields of organic chemistry including 764 research publications, 43 international patents, 70 chapters in books and, 255 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" 55 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.
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 and 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 of Natural Product Discovery (RiND)” 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.
In recognition of his eminent contributions in the field of Organic Chemistry, he has been conferred with four civil awards, including:
Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cambridge University (1968). He has 1122 publications in several fields of organic chemistry including 764 research publications, 43 international patents, 70 chapters in books and, 255 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" 55 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.