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Efforts Stressed to Promote Quantum Science, STEM Education
2024-05-14 ICCSD

The Quantum Events are organized in the different universities under the common theme ‘Quantum Initiatives Pakistan’ to raise awareness about the subject among the people, especially the educated youth and faculty members, said Prof Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, a former vice chancellor of the Gomal University and Abbottabad University of Science and Technology, in an interview with The News.

Dr Iftikhar is the main architect of the quantum initiatives. A PhD from the University of Idaho, USA, he has also served at the University of Idaho and Louisiana State University, USA.

He has produced 32 PhDs and published more than 250 articles and is presently working as Professor and Chairman, Department of Physics, University of Malakand (UOM). He is also the founder and Director of the leading center for research of the KP province, Center for Computational Materials Science at UOM.

Interestingly, this Center is functioning on a volunteer basis with zero cost and zero budget. It provides the best research environment of the country and holds the fastest Supercomputer of Pakistan available to remote users for research purposes.

An activity to this effect was arranged at the University of Science and Technology Bannu, which was participated by a large number of students and faculty members of the university and other educational institutions of southern districts of the province.

Dr Iftikhar gave a keynote address on quantum sciences and their importance followed by an awareness walk on the campus. The participants were holding banners, placards and posters inscribed with slogans and drawings about quantum sciences.

Before it a similar activity was arranged at the University of Malakand on April 17 to mark the world quantum day, which is observed globally on April 14. Another activity was held at the University of Buner on May 2.

More such events have been planned in various colleges and universities of KP, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Islamabad and Punjab, Dr Iftikhar informed. The unique academic mobilization and inspirational drive is gaining mass day by day, he added.

Having Schrodinger’s Cat and Psi (quantum wave function) on both sides of the word Pakistan as its logo, the main objective of the initiative is to popularize quantum sciences, inspiring youth to learn quantum mechanics for impactful knowledge to shape the future of the country, he said.

It is also aimed at approaching to all the stakeholders for serious efforts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, uplifting quality of higher education through finding gaps in the semester system, he said, adding that other countries of the world have also adopted semester system, implementing standard textbooks from grade 9 to 12 like the developed world to eradicate cheating and use of other unfair means.

He said that the term quantum mechanics was coined by the scientists, in the early 1920s, including Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, and Wolfgang Pauli but it was Max Born, who used this term “Zur Quantenmechanik” (quantum mechanics in German, is Quantenmechanik) in 1925 in his paper.

Honouring the importance of quantum mechanics, the UNESCO Executive Board has endorsed the resolution, co-sponsored by 57 countries, to recognize 2025 as the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology, he further informed.

Some of the game changer revolution technologies like computers, transistors and LEDs are possible due to Quantum Science and Technology. Quantum technologies is a growing interdisciplinary field of research in physics, chemistry, materials science, biology, computer science and information technology, he maintained.

In 2023, quantum events were initiated under the banner of “In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat” at different universities but this year the events has gained tremendous popularization among students, faculty members and the general public, he said.

Dr Iftikhar said that quantum physics was dear to him and it was his desire to promote it at all levels to inspire young faculty members and students for knowledge based meaningful education and approach the public for playing their role in supporting STEM fields and eradication of cheating culture.

He urged all the stakeholders to support the activities and plan activities such as popular talks, conferences, workshops, symposia, walks about quantum science and STEM education in the country.