Quite early in his career Salam realised the isolation and helplessness that scientists from developing countries feel when they are working in their own countries. From 1957 onwards Salam had a goal to establish an Institute where scientists from developing countries can come for visits and interact with their counterparts from advanced countries to mutual benefit.
It was due to his untiring efforts and persistence that the International Center for Theoretical Physics was set up in 1960 at Trieste. Abdus Salam remained its Director from 1964 till shortly before his death on November 21, 1996.
Abdus Salam emphasised the importance of education and research in pure science as a tool for development. He disagreed with the prevelant notion that developing countries should buy or import technology and need not spend money on research. He thought that this will perpetuate the dependence of these countries on the technologically advanced countries.
The example of India and China in recent times fully illustrates the correctness of Salam's view which he tried to expound in late fifties. India's achievements in the areas as divers as space technology, pharmaceuticals and information technology are the result of indegenous manpower development.
Abdus Salam's visit to the Physics Department
In 1981 Salam visited Jamia, and delivered a lecture in the Physics Department. This was the beginning of a close relationship of the Department with Salam.
Abdus Salam Memorial Lecture
The lecture in Abdus Salam's honour will try to perpetuate the ideas that Salam believed in, namely the need of developing countries to encourage education and research in the fundamantal sciences.
An eminent person of science will be invited each year to address faculty and students of Jamia, as well as invited faculty and students from other universities and institutes in Delhi.
The style and content of the lectures would be such as to inspire and to convey the excitement of new discoveries, ideas and challenges. The lectures would also have to sustain sufficient general interest so that faculty and students from other disciplines do not feel lost.