Updates from the Dean SBASSE
The activities of the Dean's office are partially supported by the Ahmad Dawood Chair Funds.
SBARA Awards 2023
I am pleased to announce the winners of the fourth and the 2023 cohort of the Syed Babar Ali Research Awardees. These PhD students will receive a scholarship and additional funds for research. This program is highlighted here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/syed-babar-ali-research-awards-sbasse
Sabahat Asif’s research aims to combat rising CO2 levels caused by fossil fuels through electrochemical CO2 reduction, focusing on converting CO2 into valuable formic acid. By designing cost-effective catalysts, including Sn-Pb/SnO2 composites, Sabahat aims to enhance efficiency, contribute to carbon reduction, and generate revenue from valuable chemical production, aligning with global efforts of climate change mitigation.
Muhammad Osama Tarar’s research proposal aims to create a comprehensive framework for Electric Vehicle Battery Swapping Stations (BSWS) to address the challenges of long charging times and high costs in electric vehicles. The project includes optimising battery swapping, predicting battery health, classifying Li-ion cells, and developing efficient charging policies to accelerate EV adoption and reduce carbon emissions.
Zainab Nasir’s research tackles head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), a common cancer type with multiple risk factors. Existing treatments for HNSCC lack personalization, leaving many patients without effective options. To address this, Zainab proposes "Theatre for in silico Systems Oncology" (TISON), a versatile cancer modeling platform. TISON will develop a comprehensive biomolecular network model for HNSCC, integrating patient data for personalized therapies. The platform will be accessible to the broader research community, fostering collaboration and advancing cancer treatment and improving patient outcomes.
These awards were launched to bolster PhD level research and to value and celebrate our PhD students' work. My heartiest congratulations to Sabahat, Osama and Zainab.
SBASSE and the Two Cultures initiative
Welcome to the Two Cultures Initiative. The schisms between science and society, technology and humanity, are always apparent in how we define the university forum. In order to bridge this gap and bring together views from diverse standpoints, the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering is launching the Two Cultures Initiative, that promises to bring together the best Faculty from across the University. And stoke scholarly discussions on the interactions between science, technology, society and culture.
These interactions will be facilitated by publication of academic work on the science-culture discourse, workshops, reading groups, courses and academic programmes. The School has received a grant of about 50,000 USD from a generous pharma enterprise which has helped us launch this initiative.
Learn more here: https://two-cultures.org/.
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
As Associate Dean, Dr. Haniya will be leading our undergraduate programming and will work closely with Faculty, students and the School Dean. She will strengthen, diversify, modernize and enhance the effectiveness of the SSE core curriculum, expand on the project of liberating students' laboratory experience in the first year, propel forward project such as SSE-for-Everyone, Learning Pathways, honors versions of core courses; and will also receive and respond to student and Faculty feedback to promote student learning.
She will also look after the School's Academic and Advising units and will direct the award of Writing prizes and Honorific Fellowships. These are all new initiatives, and we hope that Dr. Haniya Azam will ensure the permanence, longevity and adaptation of these ideas into ever newer forms. A critical part will also be liaison with the LUMS Learning institute and LUMSx.
Dr. Hanya Azam has been decorated with the VC Excellence Award in Teaching and has already led many impressive and influential initiatives in the School. She is one of the architects of the Learning How to Learn course offered by LUMSx, she has championed the case for honors flavors of maths courses and supervises opportunities for research in her area of interest---algebra and combinatorics. Here is a snippet from the LUMS convocation, from where one can learn more about her passion for teaching and education: Video link
Dr. Haniya Azam's appointment is for a period of three years and I would like to immensely thank her for taking up this critical role which is of essential and existential importance for the School of Science and Engineering.
Third Cohort of Recipients of SSE's honorific Fellowships
I am pleased to announce the list of twenty distinguished students who have become recipients of SSE's Honorific Fellowships named after four scientific luminaries from the region.
To learn more about these scholarships, one may visit: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/honorific-fellowships.
Materials Characterization: A Hands-on Workshop
The Central Lab at SSE is organizing this hands-on workshop on materials characterization. This is the second workshop of its kind. For more details visit: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/hands-on-course-on-experimental-facilities. The promise is to expose the wider fraternities to sophisticated instruments and the subsequent techniques to characterize materials and processes.
Orientation for year 2023-2024 is starting from Monday August 28.
The sessions will start on Monday, August 28th, from 08:30 in the auditorium 9-B2. You can access the complete SBASSE orientation schedule here.
Mechanical Engineering Task Force
I am pleased to share that Dr. Salman Noshear Arshad is leading a task force that deliberates on the intellectual feasibility or launching the discipline of mechanical engineering at SBASSE, LUMS. He has convened a highly distinguished group of colleagues to become part of this committee.
Prof. Aamir Farooq: MS and PhD from Stanford in Mech Engg. and is currently Professor and Chair Mechanical Engineering at KAUST https://www.kaust.edu.sa/en/study/faculty/aamir-farooq
Dr. Azeem Sarwar: MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from UIUC and is currently Research Group Manager at General Motors, Michigan. https://www.linkedin.com/in/azeem-sarwar/
Dr. Kashif Nawaz: MS and PhD in Mech Engg. from UIUC and is currently 'Group Leader Multifunctional Equipment Integration and Senior Research Scientist' at Oak Ridge National Lab. https://www.ornl.gov/staff-profile/kashif-nawaz
Please reach out to Dr. Salman Arshad if you would like to contribute to these discussions. I expect that we share any outcomes to the Advisory Board in advance of their meeting next year.
Innovative courses Fall 2023
I wanted to indicate some innovative courses that we are offering in Fall 2023. For the course outlines visit: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/course-advertisements.
The course on Engineering Design is a one-of-its-kind course that harbors a strong hands-on component and will take the lucky students through the complete cycle of engineering design: from the sketchbook, drawing board, to the additive and subtractive manufacturing machine. Replete with real experience. This paper describes how this course has been taught in the past. Dr. Abdullah Bajwa, the teacher for this course is a postdoc at Oxford and has taught a similar course at Texas A&M University. Don't miss out on this, as seats are limited and perhaps, it will orient some of our students to participate in the Al-Jazari Think and Build Challenge.
Another course I am really proud of is Enterprise Resource Planning Systems which brings to the fore the paradigm of ERP systems and their employment to large businesses. These systems are crucial for integrating vast swathes of data and myriad operations. Students in this course will get a lifetime opportunity to work on a real ERP CaniasERP whose license has been specially arranged. And now a few words about the instructor. Arsalan Anwer is CEO of Taar Information Systems Consulting (based in UK) and Director of the Pak-UK Business Council. How can one miss this, then?
Look out for other courses too: Evolution by Dr. Zaigham Shahzad, and Critical Thinking, Scientific Writing and Ethics by Drs. Muhamma Shoaib and Khurram Bashir. Our newest faculty colleague, Dr. Muhammad Ali Siddiqi is proudly presenting a novel course on Security for IOT Devices.
The SSE-for-everyone Project
We have launched this project called 'SSE for Everyone' that opens a subset of our courses to eager learners beyond LUMS. This form of city-wide education allows enthusiasts to benefit from our best courses. Building upon our prior experience from the medical enrichment program, members in this project will be inducted as Visiting Students.
I believe this program will take some time to unleash its true potential. But it's important to start. Therefore, enrolments are now open for Fall 2023. Please visit the website, and help spread the word.
پاکستان پائندہ باد
Progress Report from the SBASSE Instrument Cell Housed in PhysLab
You can download and read the self-explanatory report of Instrument Cell. (up till June 2023)
Good news for SSE's nanotechnologists
The HEC and Planning Commission, after (five) years of efforts, approved and "launched" the National Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology on 1 August 2023. This Centre will help SSE LUMS advance research in the areas of advanced materials, catalysis, energy and environment, quantum photonics, quantum materials, and quantum optics. We have an amazing team of scientists: Drs. Irshad Hussain, Basit Yameen, Salman Nosher, Muhammad Zaheer, Ata-ul-Haq, Adam Zaman, and Ammar Ahmed Khan have developed this proposal. The Centre will feature 14 labs across Pakistan and we, at SSE, will coordinate the entire national effort.
This proposal promises to bring in hardware, materials, and above all ideas that can dig deeper into fundamental knowledge and create interactions with industry, foster stronger ties with global science communities, create new materials on a large scale, build instruments, and explore quantum phenomena at the basic level. We will also be able to enhance our PhD program. Finally, this gives us the opportunity to map and catalyze novel materials oriented research inside the country. The expected inflow from this project to LUMS is around 1 billion PKR over a period of three years, while the total size of this cross-disciplinary Centre is about 3.3 billion PKR.
Zero semester maths and physics boot camps are in swing
This year, for the third time in a row, our pre-university physics and maths bootcamps are in full swing. (https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/accelerated-trainings) These online sessions expose students entering into the SSE to key ideas in calculus and the power of this tool in understanding and harnessing natural phenomena. Replete with numerous examples from real life, and from multiple disciplines, these courses will provide students with a jumpstart as they enter the first year. This will also iron out any 'mismatch' problems students may face in non-maths courses which require a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.
The pre-calculus course is also running for students who came with a pre-medical orientation. Interestingly, Roger Penrose the Nobel Laurate couldn't study math and biology together too; but that was eight years ago in England (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGWmNW84RBY).
Can we now build a quantum computer?
The Government has approved the creation of the National Centre for Quantum Computing. It will be set up at UET Narowal with satellite labs across the nation. The proposal promises LUMS Physics the resources and a grant (around 500 million PKR) to build an ion trap quantum information processor and super-secure quantum communication devices, building upon our prior work in Physlab and our Department's emphasis on quantum technologies. Perhaps this becomes the seed for charting a quantum roadmap for Pakistan!
If you are interested in knowing more about SSE's quantum theme, you may like to see this: Click here
An open position at SSE Dean's office
Please share this opportunity in your circles. This is a replacement hire for Ms. Sana Samin. https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/opportunities
The physics curriculum is revitalized in SBASSE
The physics curriculum in the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering has been re-energized. This means the rigor in the fundamental offering has gone up, while students can now co-design their own learning pathway, to relish the cross-boundaries approach enshrined in the SSE motto. This has been achieved through the following means.
Condensed matter physics has been removed from the core and in its place, a new course with a SCI code Energy and Information has been introduced. This course will introduce students to energy, entropy, and information, their interconnectedness, and will highlight the centrality of these concepts in our understanding of the universe, and also provide the necessary tools to look at problems in the realm of climate, complex and emergent systems. The credit hours for the core course Statistical Mechanics have been rationalized to three, instead of four. The sequence of Energy and Information followed by Statistical Mechanics is a coherent whole.
Two new core courses have also been introduced. One is a revamped Computational Physics that allows physics majors to delve deeper into data analytics, simulating natural phenomena, and modeling physical processes, all using contemporary powerful computational tools. The course Seminars in Physics will hone skills in technical communication, scientific writing, and the art of presentation.
Finally, physics will allow students to take a wide variety of electives from across the SSE and present these courses to count towards physics major electives. The upshot is that students can become deeply thoughtful physicists and yet can pick up courses from a wide tapestry of offerings. For example, a student interested in astronomy and cosmology can, equipped with a solid physics core and the ensuing flexibility, can freely take courses from mathematics (general relativity, differential geometry, group theory) and computer science (advanced programming, data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data) to emerge as a solid computational cosmologist. Examples of this kind will be plenty.
I congratulate our colleagues in physics and from across the SSE who took this plunge. Of course, the committees who approved this too. You may like to contact Dr. Syed Moeez Hassan for more details.
Field emission scanning electron microscope in full operation now
Based on information from Dr. Murtaza Saleem, here is what happened with the SEM, resulting in its downtime. Finally, I am happy to inform all materials researchers that is now back in full operation.
The SEM field-emission electron gun was being replaced in May 2023, as the life of the old gun came to its completion. This replacement generally requires a couple of weeks. However, this time it took longer. The reason was our new gun, which due to its longer storage prior to operation, had developed some unknown contamination. This rendered difficult the achievement of the desired vacuum. The manufacturer confirmed that this contamination is not a rare occurrence. The elevated humidity during monsoon also made pumping for vacuum more difficult. Fortunately, a new gun has now acquired, installed on the microscope, the desired vacuum was achieved, calibrations performed and the machine is now fully operational.
Thanks to Dr. Murtaza Saleem in our Central Lab for clearing this.
Faculty-in-Residence join the School of Science and Engineering
We have onboarded three scientists (biomechanics, radio astronomy and nano-mechanical engineering experts) to join our Faculty as short-term Resident Scientists. Know more about them: here.
Dr. Abbis Jaffary taught this exciting course on biomechanics and so many students know him already. He will continue supervising research students on making practical devices to monitor shape and form the human body and help in various initiatives related to clinical research.
Dr. Faisal Rehman is a radio-astronomer. He will help us develop radio astronomy experiments for my own initiative on creating an "Astrolab" and working with the world's biggest radio astronomy sky surveys, can guide students in this fascinating field.
Last but not least, Dr. Muhammad Awais Yunus is Professor at Madinah's Taibah University, a mechanical engineer trained in Pakistan, South Korea and Ireland and a successful innovator and inventor, will be part of Dr. Safee Ullah's group who is making continuous glucose monitoring devices.
SBASSE Image Bank
We have provided access to the SBASSE Image Bank for advertisement and publicity to faculty members, and furthermore, we have invited SSE community to contribute photographs and schematics to enrich our collection. These contributions will enhance our science illustration work, permitting us to reuse them in our promotional materials.
SBASSE Image Bank - Google Drive link:
Upload photos to photos.google.com and share them with email@example.com. We look forward to enhance our visual resources.
The Al-Jazari Think and Make Challenge for our students
We've launched the Al-Jazari Think and Make Challenge. Successful student teams, led by students, will ideate and make things. Hence this is your chance to breathe reality into your creative dreams! You can read more about this challenge, the objectives, expectations and application process, here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/al-jazari-think-and-make-challenge. Successful teams will also receive financial support. We intend to support three to four projects in the first year. Makerspaces, test arenas, will be provided by the School of Science and Engineering.
The review team comprises of Umair Shah (Arbisoft USA), Sheba Najmi (Code for Pakistan), Dr. Ahmed Qureshi (Mechanical Engineering at University of Alberta) and Dr. Marium Rasheed (Ford). Possible mentors for successful teams may include Dr. Jahangir Ikram (Electrical Engineering SSE), Umar Hassan (Physlab SSE) and Dr. Ahmed Qureshi (University of Alberta).
Travel Grants cases of Foreign Faculty Teaching in IMM -LUMS program - Approved by ICTP
We have these four top class mathematicians visiting SSE in the fall to co-teach in our International Math Masters programme. Dr. Imran Anwar and Dr. Shaheen Nazir are leading our international efforts.
Qualitative Differential Equation
CQF, London, UK
Qualitative Differential Equation
Call for Applications: SBASSE Peer Ambassador at LUMS for Social Support (PALss)
We are pleased to announce the application call for the Peer Ambassador Program for the year 2023. The Peer Ambassador Program was an initiative to foster a supportive and inclusive environment for all SBASSE students. Peer Ambassadors are senior students who mentor and guide new students in their personal development while providing every kind of support during students' first year at LUMS. They are also a major part of university orientation and organize activities to promote student engagement and well-being. The final results will be announced by last week of July 2023.
Student internship with the Instrument Cell in the PhysLab
A call for two paid internships with the Instrument Cell, which works closely with PhysLab. This is ideal for students interested in instrumentation, practical electronics, and dealing with fluids, hydraulics, and measurement technologies.
The LUMS Kaargah
My pleasure in announcing the opening of the LUMS Kaargah. This project was envisaged in 2020 and is meant to become a shared, temporary workspace for design, industrial liaison, commercial testing, animal and plant research, airborne experiments, field robotics and mobility etc. Allocations will be temporary and will follow certain rules.
Please visit https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/kaargah for rules of access.
Announcing the launch of MS Artificial Intelligence programme
I am pleased to announce the launch of an MS in Artificial Intelligence in Spring 2024. This interdisciplinary program will be offered in a hybrid mode, with core classes on weekends, targets regular students as well as working professionals, and will tap into the professional expertise of practitioners. I also hope to achieve industrial sponsorship and validation for this program.
The program promises to bring together diverse domain expertise into the confluence of artificial intelligence, while focusing on mathematical underpinnings and industrially current tools. The program will be housed in the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering and will be led by a consortium of experts including:
- Dr. Muhammad Tahir (Director of the program, https://web.lums.edu.pk/~spnav/people.html)
- Mubarik Imam (https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/sbasse-advisory-board#link-a)
- Dr. Maryam Ahmed (Award winning data scientist & journalist @BBCNews | Engineering @UniofOxford |Teaches Python @KingsCollegeLon & @UCL
- Dr. Agha Ali Raza (https://aghaaliraza.com/)
- Dr. Murtaza Taj (http://heritage360.pk/)
This program has been approved by the School and the University committees, including the University Council and is awaiting final approval from the top leadership.
Upgrading HVAC Systems in SBASSE Complex
Humidity in our experimental laboratories has undermined our practical investigations and led to severe losses and damages and even fire. By Allah's Grace, we have now received some major support to upgrade sections of our HVAC network, including adding dehumidifiers at key locations, and increasing blower capacities enabling connections to new fume hoods.
This work will now proceed in the weeks to come. I thank you for all your patience in these times.
Endowment Fund for the MS Power Systems and Smart Grids
Please find here news of a new Endowment Fund created to support students and research for the MS program in Power Systems and Smart Grids.
Read here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/ms-pesg
The story is written by our Carl Sagan intern Hafsa Zafar.
Morgan Wing in the SSE Building
Allah is always kind to us, and the generosity of our most big-hearted and visionary donor (Babar Ali Foundation) keeps on growing. We have now been awarded with the funds to prepare the Morgan Wing (third floor opposite the Ibn-e Sina Wing) for a contemporary, applied laboratory complex that will house inter-disciplinary initiatives in the health sector such as:
- Muhammad Zaka-ur-Rehman antimicrobial drug resistance lab (for which we have an independent donation)
- Computational and systems biology suites
- An infectious diseases unit made according to BSL2 standards
- Areas for clinical research, biomedical systems, and health tech innovation
- The Ferozsons Initiative for Research Excellence (FIRE, for which an independent grant has been pledged; more on this in July)
- Work will begin soon on this floor. We hope to expand our Health and Medicine frontier through research and teaching conducted in this location.
This project is a culmination of years and years of efforts from my colleagues in biology and now life sciences, and truly brings together researchers from different departments and disciplines. The recent version of the project was designed by Dr. Muhammad Tariq, and Amir Faisal with substantive input from all colleagues and Tariq will continue as our point-of-contact with the builders and designers of the Morgan Wing.
May this become a rewarding experience for all of us and for the donors.
Budget and Finance resource Person for SSE
We are looking for a resource person who could succeed our distinguished Wajid Javed who could look after SSE's Finance and Budget. Here are some characteristics we are looking for: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/opportunities. I also like to thank Dr. Shahid Masud and Dr. Zartash Uzmi who have kindly agreed to help in the shortlisting and final selection process.
Announcing Winners of the Khalid and Mussarrat Aziz Research Grants for Planet Earth (2023)
Please join me in congratulating winners of the first cohort of the Khalid and Mussarrat Aziz Research Grants for Planet Earth. https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/kma-research-grant-planet-earth. The winners are:
Dr. Nauman Zafar Butt - Rs. 2.0 million over two years
Dr. Abubakr Muhammad - Rs. 1.5 million over two years
On this juncture, I would like to thank the international review committee (Drs. Khalid Aziz, James Wescoat, Dara Entekhabi, and Saleem Ali). Special thanks to all the submitters. All proposals were par excellence and I hope subsequent cohorts can celebrate the diverse ideas our Faculty pursues.
MATLAB for everyone
The School has now acquired a Matlab license for *everyone* working at SSE, Faculty, staff, researchers and students. The facility is to use Matlab online, in the labs or on personal machines. This licensing mechanism, and the training material that comes with it, will help our students enhance their computational prowess. I also like to see that we fully conform to using licensed software in our School. This initiative is part of that objective and our greater goal of valuing and enhancing the computing (and hence thinking!) capabilities in our School.
The LUMS Podcasts
My views on SBASSE's undergraduate and graduate programmes:
The LUMS Podcast : SBASSE PhD Programmes
The LUMS Podcast: Unique philosophy of education at SBASSE
SBASSE LUMS partners with UNESCO-TWAS for its international PhD and Postdoctoral progamme
This is big news for our PhD program. Through an agreement, valid for five years, and signed between our Vice Chancelor and UNESCO-TWAS's Executive Director, we will be able to tap into the international organizations' vast networks of science and engineering departments, and national academies to recruit talented international students. Travel funding will be provided by UNESCO-TWAS and of course, the endorsement.
This supplements our mission to internationalize our graduate programs. The international students (https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/international-students) and the international Masters in Maths (https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/international-maths-masters).
New SSE Minor in Quantum Technologies
A new minor in Quantum Technologies has been launched. Spearheaded by the Department of Physics in the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering, LUMS and powered by a unique flagship single photon quantum information laboratory, the Quantum Technologies minor will enable first-hand experience in frontier dimensions in contemporary physics, practical hardware engineering, computer science and will allow one to participate in the mushrooming of a new quantum industry that is set to take over all of the physics industry.
The Carl Sagan Internship program has welcomed a new batch of interns
The Science Communication Cell at Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering is delighted to welcome interns from the Carl Sagan Create for a Science Internship program to our team. Zubia Ahmad and Hazem Asif will mentor these interns, including Zainab Jawad Khan, Zainab Mudassar, Hafsa Zafar, Basil Hassan, and Afreen Nadir. Together, they will work on creating compelling stories, engaging with our community, and bringing science to life.
I wish them all the best!
Courtesy appointment in the Dept. of Electrical Engineering
I am pleased to appoint Dr. Talha Manzoor, as a courtesy Faculty appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering. All of the administrative purposes and the modalities will be determined by the Centre, but nevertheless, the courtesy appointment is a pleasant formalization of outstanding contributions by Dr. Talha to Electrical Engineering. I wish him the best in his future goals of enhancing learning and knowledge creation in earth systems.
Mouse infestation in the SBASSE complex
Since the members of the SBASSE community were experiencing a mouse infestation, we have taken serious steps to address the issue. We have contracted with a professional pest control company to eliminate the mice and prevent future infestations. They have already started their work and will continue until the problem is resolved.
The mouse infestation treatment vendor has installed the gadgets in/outside SSE (including all floors), and the monitoring process has started.
Position Open: Holder of the Abdus Salam Chair
The position for the holder of the Abdus Salam Chair in SSE has been announced. The advertisement given above describes our target areas encompassing earth and space exploration. The review will be done by a Faculty consortium comprising:
1. Dr. Adam Zaman (convener)
2. Dr. Syed Moeez Hasan
3. Dr. Imran Anwar
4. Dr. Muhammad Awais
5. Dr. Abubakr Muhammad
The recommendations will be passed on to i-SAPTC and then the Dean.
Certificate in Teaching and Learning for SSE's PhD Students
The initial draft of the CTL program document has been shared with the SSE's PhD students. The document provides essential information about the structure and process of CTL. The document was shared on behalf of LLI, and the final version will soon be available on LLI's website, which is currently under development.
To facilitate PhD students interest in completing CTL, LLI will announce the next round of CTL offerings in April 2023.
International Conference on Membrane Separation
The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering, has announced the International Conference on Membrane Separations: essential pillars for a sustainable future, that will be held on the 27th and 28th of February, 2023.
The conference will bring together leading experts from around the world, from places such as Yale, SUNY, Membrane Technology and Research (https://www.mtrinc.com/), GMT Membrantechnik GmbH (https://www.gmtmem.com/), Membrare (http://www.membrare.com/) who will converge to LUMS, and meet counterparts from the academia and the Pakistani industry.
The international conference has already received hundreds of registrations from students and researchers across the country working in membrane-tech and we hope this will become the arena to transport new ideas across perceivably impenetrable barries (membranes) and catalyze the growth of new forms of separation.
Here is the conference website: https://icms.lums.edu.pk/ and a poster is attached. Do spread in your circles.
Chair of the Life Sciences Department
I am delighted to announce the appointment of the next Chair of Life Sciences, Dr. Safee Ullah Chaudhary, uptil 31 December, 2026.
A tenured Associate Professor, Safee has seeded computational biology in LUMS and in Pakistan. His research group comprising students from around the city's institutions, is a fusion chamber ignited by pulses in systems biology, omic networks, neuronal bursts, and health technologies. His group labeled BIRL (http://biolabs.lums.edu.pk/birl/) has given to the world several computational frameworks such as the Theatre for In-Silico Systems Oncology (https://tison.lums.edu.pk/), which allow computational prediction of disease progression, cellular analytics, thereaputic efficacies and precision medicine. He has also shaped the development of the Life Sciences Department (see my story on the paradigm shift: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/biology-to-life-sciences) and as convener of our undergrad committee, has helped me in launching transformative changes in our undergraduate education. Al-Farabi (https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/hpc-al-farabi) is the Windows-based computational powerhouse for many projects in our School. He built it.
Dr. Safeeullah Chaudhary will, Insha Allah, be Chair for a period of four years. Thankyou to the Chair selection committee (Drs. Rahman Saleem, Shafay Shumail, Zaigham Shazad, Khurram Bashir) for their valuable advice.
This also means that our collective thanks must reach out to Dr. Amir Faisal who has stood with resolve with his colleagues and helped them fluorish, all while maintaining an impressive personal research and teaching portfolio. The Department has indeed taken a facelift and is now prepared to scale newer heights. Especially mentionable is the hiring of key plant biologists who are now advancing our mission to investigate and understand the botanic and nutritional worlds. Launching initiatives such as the medical enrichment program (https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/enrichment-program-for-medical-students) and setting up an endowment for Life Sciences will surely help the growth of biological knwoeldge in the years to come. Thankyou Amir.
The Particle - 20th issue
I am pleased to share the 20th issue of The Particle, the School of Science and Engineering's magazine. Produced by Yawar, Hazem, Zubia, and Madiha, it covers some of the work that keeps us excited all the time and helps us fend off the tumults of our times, and keeps our hopes alive. There are contributions from our story-writers as well as from teachers across Pakistan's spectrum, all encompassing a tinge of history, environment and quantum technologies. The issue highlights our love-hate relationship with plastics as well. Finally, in The Particle, you can also read about about our Faculty's and students' research and glimpse their endeavor to innovate and our mission to educate.
For a flipbook version: https://www.flipsnack.com/lumsflipbook/particle-20.html.
Unique philosophy of education at SBASSE
LUMS Podcast featuring Dr. Muhammad Sabieh Anwar, Ahmad Dawood Chair, and Dean of the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering, who shares how the world-class, multidisciplinary undergraduate programmes at the School are unique.
Course selection can be an exciting and inspiring part of the learning experience. On this website: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/learning-pathways, we have bunched similar courses in what we call "learning pathways". These pathways can provide you with a zoomed out, panoramic view of an intellectual concentration, you may wish to develop in your education. These trajectories can also highlight seamless links between courses and can help in creating a colorful bouquet of similar or diverse sets of courses, that eventually finds a place on your academic transcript. Last, they give you a chance to discuss your priorities with your academic advisors.
It's upon each one of us to partake in the rich learning environment we are trying to build at the School of Science and Engineering. and sometimes it is important to stand back and indulge in some introspection on what and how we learn.
CITY - A new initiative by SBASSE
School of Science and Engineering's latest initiative dubbed the CITY, acronym for the "Centre for Urban Informatics, Technology and Policy". This initiative brings together researchers from across the University, and beyond, in answering key questions of sustainable urban living.
Urban sprawl in Pakistan, and the developing world, has brought to the fore, hitherto hidden challenges in transport and mobility, environmental impact, socio-ecological behaviors, access to essential amenities, consequences for public health, and sustainability. On the other hand, the explosion of data and the availability of tools used to gather data of spatio-temporal extense with rapid progress in analytics can also help design and intervene new solutions to address many of these challenges.
The CITY is about all of the above.
Seeded by a highly competitive Grand Challenge Fund grant, the initiative is led and designed by Dr. Momin Uppal, Chair and Professor of Electrical Engineering, and his team (whose profiles can be seen on the website http://city.lums.edu.pk), and promises to employ technology, software paradigms, and data, to build capacity and create practical, implementable knowledge for sustainable urban living.
Biomedical Systems Faculty Search
Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering is in search for prospective candidates, who can become part of Electrical Engineering faculty and catalyze the initiation of a graduate program in the field of Biomedical Systems. The candidate must hold a PhD with an established record of publication, discovery or invention.
Applications or CV's can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7015607778291421184/
New Head of Chemical Engineering program
I am pleased to announce the new Head of the chemical engineering program---Dr. Faheem Hassan Akhtar. His appointment starts on 2nd January 2023 (today) and will be for a period of two years. Dr. Faheem is a membranes specialist and has extensive experience working with the chemical industry. At this juncture, a resounding thanks to Dr. Qasim Imtiaz who, for the past couple of years, as the program head, has led the group in it's liaison with the accreditation bodies, enabling the department to graduate its first batch of chemical engineers.
New Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
My pleasure welcoming Dr. Irshad Hussain as the incoming Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. A professor in the Department, which he helped found, and carve out of nothingness, Dr. Irshad Hussain is known for his groundbreaking contributions and original discoveries in the field of nanomaterials. Many of these nanomaterials are functionalized, and their morphologies and compositions are fine tuned to match desire properties. Dr. Irshad Hussain is a globally recognized materials scientist; enjoys worldwide recognition for his work, has helped established the Energy Research Institute in Peshawar and spends time as Visiting Professor at the Huazhong University of Science and technology, China and Kaust, Saudi Arabia. He is also an elected Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK.
Dr. Irshad Hussain's role as Chair begins on January 1, 2023 and is for a period of three years. He succeeds Dr. Falak Sher who has led the Department with a calm passion, accommodating firmness and generous demeanor.
Department of Mathematics is looking for bright Faculty members
The Department of Mathematics at LUMS invites applications from outstanding candidates for tenure-track positions. Please find an announcement here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/opportunities
Increase in PhD stipends
The PhD scholarship to eligible students has gone up by Rupees ten thousand (10,000). This means that students who have successfully defended their proposal will receive (at least) Rs.65,000 per month, while others, (at least) Rs. 60,000 per month. This scholarship will be applicable from December 2022.
Newly hired Science story developer in Science Communication Cell, SBASSE
We complete the process to recruit Zubia Ahmad as science story developer.
Her desire to understand science and its influence through a humanities perspective led her to pursue a BSc in History and Philosophy of Science from University College London. Zubia was able to study diverse disciplines during her academic program, ranging from atomic physics, and natural sciences to space exploration. She is passionate about communicating science in an accessible manner through science journalism and documentaries.
SBASSE Grants for Planet Earth
The idea is to foster and encourage scientifically rigorous research on earth systems, with an eye on sustainability. Broad areas and other specifics go in my description here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/kma-research-grant-planet-earth.
The Office of Research will soon announce the call and the mechanism to apply. An international review committee will also be set up for evaluations.
Turning a new leaf in medical education
It has been our pleasure to collaborate with the Shalamar Medical and Dental college in enriching their existing MBBS program, by adding an extra year to the five years of the regular training. This inaugural year promises to enrich students' medical training with grounding in fundamental inquiries in life sciences, with the hope to unlock in to-be clinicians, an innate sense of curiosity, love for discovery and the inclination towards research.
Read the full story of this initiative spearheaded by our Department of Life Sciences.
This is undoubtedly the first partnership of its kind between the clinical and scientific educational sectors in Pakistan, and we can only guess what directions it takes in the years to come; but it can surely fill important gaps in clinical education, can stoke new discussions, and enrich or even invent new areas of exploration in the noble cause of saving human lives.
The focal person for this partnership on our side is Dr. Muhammad Tariq who has also envisaged and led its founding.
SBASSE Master's in Mathematics becomes international with ICTP's partnership
The Department of Mathematics at SBASSE which is also an Emerging Regional Centre of Excellence, supported by the European Mathematical Society, has also been now declared as an ICTP Affiliated Centre by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).
The International Mathematics Masters, as it is called, promises to offer rigorous training in fundamental and applied mathematics, preparing its students for a rapid-paced, highly complex world that awaits them. Importantly, this means that our existing master's in mathematics will now be co-taught by international Faculty who will visit LUMS every year. Furthermore, at least half of the students in this programme will be international students. The initiative will be co-funded by the ICTP and marks a new beginning in offering mathematical learning of the highest order in the country.
Dr. Shaheen Nazir, will be the focal person of this international programme which is set to attract its first cohort of international students in Fall 2023.
SSE School Council
The SSE School Council is meant to highlight, discuss and devise strategy and future directions of the School and guide and make recommendations to the School's Dean and the University's leadership. The new composition of SSE School Council is thus:
Dr Ammar Ahmad Khan - Convenor
Dr Momin Uppal
Dr Maryam Mustafa
Dr Muhammad Tariq
Arshad Maral - Staff Representative
Farooq Usman - Staff Representative
Habeel Alam - Student Rep email@example.com
Isra Razzak - Student Rep firstname.lastname@example.org
Arshad Maral and Farooq Usman are staff representatives, selected as being the top two winners (in the same order) emerging from our staff elections.
Launching Minor in Robotics
The Electrical Engineering Department in the School of Science and Engineering has now launched an undergraduate minor in the field of Robotics. Robots represent the pinnacle of artificial intelligence. Their use is becoming ubiquitous. These devices draw upon different disciplines such as controls, programming, navigation, mechanics, electronics, hydraulics, and even neuroscience. Robots can be used for the industry, the clinic, the agricultural plain, and for the urban vehicle.
The minor in robotics is a flexible program that brings up to speed students from all across LUMS, and launches them into the exciting area. Through a minimalist but rigorous stream of courses navigating through electronics, programming, control, systems, learning, artificial intelligence, and dynamics; students can now access a new world that is surely and imminently upon us.
Collaboration with Shalamar Medical College and Hospital
I am pleased to announce that even though we had tacit approval of our collaborative medical enrichment program with Shalamar Medical College and Hospital, today we received the Management Committee's express endorsement as well. Many thanks to the Vice Chancellor for understanding the initiative and putting his support into this plan.
Biomedical Systems Faculty Search Committee
A new adhoc committee has been announced for guiding the search process for a core group of Faculty in the concentration of Biomedical Systems. To identify prospective candidates, who can become part of Electrical Engineering at SBASSE and catalyze the initiation of a graduate program in this area (phase 1). The committee comprises:
Dr. Muhammad Sabieh Anwar (convener)
Dr. Shahana Khurshid (co-convener)
Dr. Abubakr Muhammad
Dr. Muhammad Tariq
Dr. Aaamir Hameed
Dr. Aneeq Zia
Dr. Faisal Kashif
Aamir, Aneeq and Faisal are our friends from outside LUMS. I am extremely grateful for their prior contributions and look forward to their continued engagement with us. Their brief profiles are given below.
- Dr. Aamir Hameed is Lecturer in the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and also Founder and Director of Pumpinheart which is a spinoff that targets to prevent heart failure while preserving blood flow (ejection ratio). His invention is an artificial heart.
- Dr. Aneeq Zia, is our very alumnus (electrical engineering) and after receiving his PhD from Georgia Tech, USA, and with his expertise in clinical robotics and assistive surgeries, now works at Intuitive.
- Dr. Faisal Kashif completed his PhD and postdoc from MIT in computational physiology and clinical inference and is now Vice President R&D in Masimo, which is a company whose primary realm is translational medicine. Dr. Faisal Kashif was also an active member of our task force that supported the creation of the Biomedical Systems program.
A tentative ad:
Second cohort of Honorific Fellows announced
I am pleased to announce second cohort of honorific fellows 2022. Please see the complete list here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/second-cohort-honorific. The website: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/honorific-fellowships. Good to see more Khawaja Dil Muhammad Fellows this year.
These Fellowships are created from a generous donation received from Syed Babar Ali and Packages Limited honoring the 90th birthday of the School’s Founder. I begin by thanking Babar Saheb, his indomitable will, and continual benefactions to see education and science flourish in the country. Many thanks also to the University leadership in supporting and tuning these ideas further for maximal impact. These distinguished Fellowships are named as follows:
- Bilqees Mujeeb Fellowship - Life Sciences
- Ahmed H. Zewail Fellowship - Chemistry
- Khawaja Dil Muhammad Fellowship - Mathematics
- Chandrasekhar Fellowship - Physics
New graduate programs launched for Spring 2023
Here is how our Faculty introduce these programs.
Third Cohort of SBARA PhD students
The third cohort of PhD students was announced who have become the proud recipients of the Syed Babar Ali Research Award. They are Afsar Bano (Physics), Wardah Mahmood (Physics) and Farah Ashraf (Chemistry). Read about their fascinating ideas here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/syed-babar-ali-research-awards-sbasse.
Deep gratitude to the School GPC and all the Faculty who were involved in a multi-tiered selection and ranking process.
SSE's role in Orientation Week. This year's orientation and welcome to incoming undergraduates is physical and for the first time, our School is actively involved in its proceedings.
Pre-semester trainings for incoming students. Additional mathematical training offered to incoming students through two accelerated courses: pre-calculus and calculus as well as a gateway exam. These courses are being led by Faculty and their details can be seen at: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/accelerated-trainings
Technical group structure launched. An effort in identifying our technical staff involved in the practical endeavor as a distinct "technical group" within the LUMS organogram. Details here: Technical Group Structure -SBASSE.pdf
Certificates to student volunteers for the convocation prepared. Sample attached.
The Particle (issue 19) is out.
Reaching out to the regional academia, and attracting international PhD studentship applications.
International PhD students in SBASSE will receive the following benefits.
- A monthly scholarship starting from Rs. 60,000 per month that will increment by Rs. 5,000 per month after every year.
- This scholarship will be tenable for a period of five years.
- The supervisor, as per norms, is expected to contribute Rs. 15,000 towards this scholarship.
- In case the student takes longer than 5 years, TA and RA support will be available.
- The student's hostel fee will be provided by the institution; also for five years.
- The student's semester registration fee will be waived for a duration of five years.
- The student will be provided two economy-class round-trip air fares. One of these trips can be availed at the time of joining, and the second after the successful PhD proposal defence.
Here is our webpage for international students: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/international-students
Four faculty members from SBASSE receive the Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence 2021-22. These include Dr. Haniya Azam, Dr. Rahman Shah Zaib Saleem, Dr. Imran Cheema and Dr. Hamad Alizai.
Department of Math has initiated an Honours Math Program. The honours version will be offered in additional sections and students who have a prior grounding in mathematics, and are enthused to challenge and develop their mathematical acumen, can have the option to enroll in the honours course. This scheme will be launched in Fall 2022.
Dean's Academic Report 2021 for the Year 2021 is out.
EE Chair Search Process. I am constituting a committee to recommend the next Chair of the Electrical Engineering Department.
1. Prof. Nauman Ahmad Zaffar (convener)
2. Dr. Hasaan Jaleel
3. Dr. Tauqeer Abbas
NMR starts spinning again. I would like to acknowledge the work of our Swiss friends, and to Dr. Adil Raees, Dr. Syed Shahzad-ul-Hasan and Bilal Razzaq, Wajid Javed and Ayaz Zulfiqar who have revived the NMR after a hiatus of about three months.
We installed the SSE periscope in the reception area of the SSE building.
Welcome letter for new admitted SSE students, starting from 2022, has been published.
The Particle is now accepting submissions from the LUMS community.
Farewell ceremony for CS graduating students. The farewell ceremony of CS graduating students will take place on Sunday, May 15 at 6pm at the SSE Lawn.
I am pleased to share that we have decided to change the name of the Department of Biology to the Department of Life Sciences.
Science aptitude test and key results. Notably about 1700 students took the test, 600 from Matric and 1000 from O-level stream. The performance, on average, was one standard deviation higher for O-level students compared to matric (mean at 55 versus 41). Karachi and Islamabad students were the best performers. The correlation coefficient between the aptitude test and LCAT/SAT stood at 0.7/0.6. Most interestingly, students with a higher verbal score in LCAT/SAT also performed better in the aptitude test, possibly indicating better awareness and effective thinking that is encouraged by reading and access to literature.
We will now use these indicators to conduct interviews of students.
Revitalizing SBASSE Faculty Advising: The SBASSE Academic Affairs Team in collaboration with the Office of Academic Advising and Student Success (OAASS) organized a 30-min presentation on the restrengthening of the school’s faculty advising system and its emplacement in the overall advising ecosystem at SSE.
A letter to the parents of SSE students has been dispatched, announcing the creation of a WhatsApp group where parents can join and connect with each other as well as the SSE administration.
Write for the Particle. Team Particle is now accepting submissions for the next issue of our school's flagship magazine.
MATLAB for everyone at SSE. Matlab's campus license for the School of Science and Engineering has
been renewed till end of June 2023. All toolboxes are covered.
An endowment was set up for the Biology Department at the SBASSE, LUMS. An initial sum of seed money was deposited. A Technology Product Development Fund was created for the Electrical Engineering Department with a seed grant of Rs. 3.0 million.
Safety Handbook. The School of Science and Engineering's safety cell has now produced the first edition of its safety handbook, that can be read here: https://www.flipsnack.com/lumsflipbook/safety-handbook-sbasse.html
Call for the Syed Babar Ali Research Awards for PhD students for the year 2022-23. The website https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/syed-babar-ali-research-awards-sbasse has all details, process for application and the deadlines for this year.
New Google-based Image Bank has been launched. Access link: https://bit.ly/3gMp23v
Drinking Water Testing Report. The testing is performed by Mr. Syed Zajif Hussain in the month of January 2022. The current values are complying with the standards.
Initiation of the Sekha Scholarship. This is a 100% tuition fee waiver for top 10 FSc position holders. This scheme adds to the 24 honorific scholarships we were able to add last year: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/honorific-fellowships
Repositories of the AB presentations we made in the past two sessions.
Abdus Salam Postdoc Researchers. The School is initiating the Abdus Salam Post-doctoral Research Programme. Sharing a link to the google drive where I will be routinely uploading applications we are receiving from prospective researchers.
Classroom 10-204. Redesigned for group discussions, interaction within the class, and learning through all sides of the class through different teaching methods.
The Particle 18 has been launched. Link to flipbook: https://www.flipsnack.com/lumsflipbook/particle-18.html
Readjustment to distribution of credit hours for PhD students.
From Spring 2022 onwards, the following 1 or 2 credit hours DTR have been configured in the system as approved.
The Dean’s Smart Lab has been advanced for video conferencing. The new IT facilities are Fixed Camera(1080P webcam), Pair of Wireless Microphones, Wall Mount Speakers, Amplifier system, Jabra 710 Portable microphone and speaker.
Adhoc committee on re-envisioning mathematics core for SSE. I am proposing that we rethink the math core for students who graduate from SBASSE. In this vein, I am proposing that we offered two streams. One stream is a math-honors stream that takes on students with a prior initiation in mathematical thinking and skill base. The other is a math-general stream which may be recommended for students with little or no prior background in mathematics.
I am extremely pleased to announce the composition of this committee:
Dr. Haniya Azam (convener)
Dr. Sultan Sial
Dr. Ammad Ahmad Khan
Dr. Hasan Jaleel
Dr. Qasim Imtiaz
Dr. Aziz Mithani
Seminars and Conferences in 2021. Following is the area wise breakup of the seminars and conferences which took place this year. Seminars and Conferences in 2021
Fire evacuation drill. More than 300 people evacuated and participated in the drill.
Documentary Screening and Conversation Around "The Ladder of Creation", 9th episode in "The Ascent of Man".
Venue: 10-201, SSE Bldg. LUMS
Time: Tuesday, Dec 21, 2021. 4pm-6pm
Reaching out to the regional academia, and attracting international PhD studentship applications. A dossier has been floated to regional universities, inviting their students to consider applying for the SBASSE's PhD program. The application for International PhD students is also live, and the application fee is waived.
Simulating new academic programs. I have assembled another group of eminent people who can see into the future and whose task would be to think about a masters-level programme in biomedical systems or variants thereof.
My own inclination, shaped by many useful conversations with like-minded Faculty, is centered around a programme that focuses on:
- devices and instruments to assist the biomedical and clinical profession,
- tools and algorithms to assist healthcare at fundamental and applied levels, and
- technology assisted techniques that can enhance medical education.
My immense thanks to the following members of this committee:
- Dr. Nauman Zafar Butt (convener, UET, Purdue, Intel, LUMS)
- Dr. Faisal Kashif (VP Engineering Masimo, https://www.linkedin.com/in/faisal-m-kashif-126472/)
- Dr. Bruce Wainman (McMaster https://fhs.mcmaster.ca/pathology/contact_us/faculty/faculty_bios/wainman.html)
- Dr. Adeel Razi (https://www.monash.edu/turner-institute/adeel-razi-lab)
- Dr. Faisal Cheema (https://www.linkedin.com/in/doccheema/)
- Dr. Wasim Malik (http://www.mit.edu/~wqm/)
- Dr. Zahid Bashir (Principal Shalamar Medical and Dental College, https://www.linkedin.com/in/zahid-bashir-b53a252a/)
- Dr. Safeeullah (GIKI, KAIST, LUMS, http://biolabs.lums.edu.pk/BIRL)
- Dr. Shaper Mirza (Karachi Univ., Alabama, Houston, LUMS)
- Dr. Shahana Khurshid (MIT, Texas, NIST, LUMS)
- Dr. Adnan Khan (NED, Delaware, Rensselaer, LUMS)
- Dr. Suleman Shahid (Tilburg, Eindhoven, LUMS)
- Dr. Naveed-ul-Hassan (Rsalpur, Ecole Superieure d'Electricite, Singapore Uni. of Technology and Design, LUMS, https://adcom.lums.edu.pk/)
New cohort of science writers. Two new science writes have been hired as interns for the Carl Sagan Write for Science Internship program.
26 PhD graduates. I wanted to announce the successful graduation of 26 PhD students in the calendar year 2021, going up from 18 of the last year. These students have all partnered with Faculty on significant research questions and have contributed to furthering scientific and engineering knowledge and practice.
Task force for contemplating an MS programme in the area of lasers, optics and photonics. The task force consists of the following members:
Dr. Umer Shahid (UET, UNC Charlotte, Bright View Technologies, Tessera, Magna Electronics, Amazon)
Dr. Joveria Baig (LUMS, Delft, Ecole Normale Superieure, Ecole Polytechnique, Oxford, Princeton, Thorlabs)
Hira Shahzad (LUMS, Dartmouth and Medtronic)
Dr. Imran Cheema (UET, FAST, McGill, LUMS)
Dr. Tayyab Imran (PU, KAIST, IST Lisbon, King Abdul Aziz University, COMSATS, LUMS)
Dr. Ata-ul-Haq (GIKI, Stuttgart, Sheffield, LUMS)
Dr. Muhammad Faryad (QAU, PennState, ICTP, LUMS)
Safety signage being revamped across SBASSE. The new version is bolder, easier to read and gets rid of clutter. This is to ensure a uniform, more efficient design for these important messages across the School.
Third Math Circle. The Department of Mathematics organized their third Math Circle event at the Dean's Smart Lab. This time, the attendees calculated the value of Pi using different techniques.
Second Math Circle by the Department of Mathematics. Details about future Math Circle activties can be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/lumsmathcircles/upcoming-plans
Research Assistant position. I have created an open position for a research assistant who can help with the our industrial liaison efforts. Applicants can send their resume to Dr Tauqeer Abbas, who is the associate dean for innovation and enterprise at the School.
Team teaching encouraged at SBASSE. I have encouraged faculty to explore cross-department teaching for interesting, elective courses. I will try my best to provide any and all necessary resources that may be needed for executing such fascinating teaching ideas.
Recommendations of the Adhoc Committee on Undergraduate & Graduate Admission 2021. Subsequent to the very useful recommendations of the adhoc admissions committee in SBASSE, we are proposing to make some innovative adjustments to our admissions, including a science literacy test in lieu of subject-specific admissions test and a stronger thrust on internationalization.
Inaugurated the first Maths Circle session. Around 32 school kids attended this event in the Dean's Smart Lab. The first Circle was instructed by Imran Anwar and Shaheen Nazir, from the Department of Mathematics.
Stargazing activity. A star gazing session was organised to view the planets Jupiter and Saturn, along with the Moon.
SEM Sample Request Form. Students, RAs or faculty can generate an online SEM characterization request by filling out an "SEM Request Form" at the following link: https://form.jotform.com/212372182433045.
More information here: https://centrallab.lums.edu.pk/
Forming a committee to brainstorm a new MS programme on "Earth and Planetary Systems". I have constructed the following task force with the mandate of brainstorming on the feasibility and rubrics of this programme.
Dr. Mian Muhammad Awais (convener)
Dr. Fozia Parveen
Dr. Talha Manzoor
Dr. Amna Ijaz (Afiniti Fellow)
Dr. Zahra Lakdawala (to be confirmed)
Dr. Muhammad Zaheer
SBARA Awards 2021. I present to you the winners of the 2021 cohort of the Syed Babar Ali Research Awards. You can read more about these awards here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/syed-babar-ali-research-awards-sbasse#link-d
Fall 2021 courses. New courses have been announced for Fall 2021. More details here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/course-advertisements
Adhoc Committee on undergraduate and graduate admissions. I am pleased to announce the following committee to look at undergraduate and graduate admissions for SBASSE.
Falak Sher (convener)
Agha Ali Raza
Kanzal Iman (PhD student)
The Particle issue 17 is out. You can now read issue 17 of the Particle here: https://www.flipsnack.com/lumsflipbook/the-particle-cfevqefcjl.html
Honorific Fellowships have been launched. I am pleased to announce the creation of twenty-four (24) Honorific Fellowships for undergraduates in the basic sciences (biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics). For more details, visit this page: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/honorific-fellowships
September 2021 session of the Carl Sagan Write for Science Internship Programme has been rolled out.
The School's undergraduate orientation this year is online. The programme is for 31 August and 1 September.
Calling prospective students for MITACS global internship. We are calling for students interested in being considered for an international 12 weeks long internship supervised by Canadian academics. See the weblink here: https://www.mitacs.ca/en/programs/globalink/globalink-research-internship. We will select ten students from across SSE.
Relocation of Sohrab server to another lab. The Sohrab server has been handed over to Al faribi team member Farhan and Abubakar. The server is being placed in Al-Farabi environment.
Workshop on Scanning Electron Microscope. The course will be conducted on an FESEM FEI Nova 450 NanoSEM system housed within the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering. More details here: A Hands-On Course on Scanning Electron Microscopy | SBASSE (lums.edu.pk)
LUMS becomes a voting centre for upcoming PEC General Elections. The election will be conducted on Sunday, 8th August, from 8am till 5pm.
Change in SSE core curriculum. The school has approved multiple courses of Linear Algebra that will now be offered in Freshmen Spring each year by the Department of Mathematics.
Freshmen Peer Support System for 2021 has been launched. The names of SSE Peer Advisors for year 2021 have been finalised. Names of student mentors from the current academic year can be found here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/peer-support-system. The programme this year is led by Dr. Salman Arshad and Dr. Ammar Khan and my office.
Established the SBASSE Peer Support System. The purpose of this program is to support incoming first year students in the online setting about non-academic concerns. Peer mentors, who are junior and senior students, guide freshmen about the available resources of the university, help them get accustomed to the LUMS and SBASSE environment and be accessible for students if they face any non-academic issues. More details can be found here: Peer Support System | SBASSE (lums.edu.pk)
Initiated Research, Ethics and Compliance Training in Research by CITI. Thanks to an agreement made by our Office of Research, SBASSE Faculty, staff and students can receive this training through an institutional license.
CV's of all shortlisted PhD applicants are now available online. The School has decided that in order to encourage cross-pollination of ideas and laterally translatable supervision of PhD students, the CV's of all shortlisted PhD applicants will be made accessible to the faculty.
Announcing call for applications for SSE Peer Support System Year 2021-2022. SSE Peers advisors will help the school achieving its goal of successful transition of students into new environment and help them overcome any isolation or disconnection they feel during their transition phase. All Peers will be supervised by School Advising Office. They can approach at email@example.com. Please apply using this link: SBASSE Ambassador Program (jotform.com). The deadline to apply is Tuesday, July 13, 2021.
Instrument Cell launched. I am pleased to launch the School's Instrument Cell: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/instrument-cell. The idea is to have a functional, accessible unit that can conduct repairs and troubleshooting of our scientific instruments and equipment.
Acquired institutional license for CAS SciFinder. I find great pleasure that working with the LUMS Library, our School has received an institutional license for CAS SciFinder which is the world's most recognized mining solution for chemical reactions, catalysts, yields, chemical substances, protein and nucleotide sequences. These resources will bolster our research in chemical and life sciences and will particularly help our synthetic chemistry, an area which we consider to be our forte in Pakistan.
Summer semester advertised in newspaper. The Jet Engine and Stars and Galaxies are two flagship courses from the summer semester that are the face of summer semester advertisement in the local news paper. The advert can be seen here: https://e.thenews.com.pk/lahore/6-27-2021/page2.asp
New Chair of the Physics Department. Dr. Adam Zaman has been appointed as the new Chair of the Physics Department, for a period of three years, commencing from 1 July 2021.
Invited summer courses on the Jet Engine and Stars/Galaxies. For the second summer semester, we are excited to add two invited courses to our list that ought to invigorate the semester’s overall experience. These are ‘The Jet Engine’ and ‘Stars and Galaxies’.The full course outlines can be found here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/course-advertisements
Mandatory safety training for graduation. I am pleased to announce that the SBASSE Safety committee and the undergraduate curriculum committee have approved the recommendation that "all undergrads admitted into the School, 2021 and onward, will be required to complete the safety training". The curriculum will be integrated with the LMS. The training will be required for every SBASSE undergraduate and will be marked as a pre-requisite to graduate.
More details on all safety initiatives have been placed here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/sbasse-ohs-overview
New setting for the Office of Science Communication's 'Ionic Room'. The interior of science communication cell has been re-arranged, resulting in a larger, more spacious working area. More work is expected to be done in the future to tag this 'ionic room' with inspiring artwork and decor.
Science writing internship begins. Around two weeks ago, we announced the launch of the Carl Sagan Write for Science Internship Program - an opportunity for students to merge creativity of expression with the rigour of scientific research. Since then, we have received an overwhelming number of applications. Over the past two weeks, the Office of Science Communication has been sifting through each application and I am pleased to announce our first cohort.
Snapshot of research grants (2020 and 2021). The SBASSE Faculty have been extremely active in applying for extramural funding. Ove the past year and a half, they have submitted about 200 research proposals with a total sum value of Rs. 7 billion. This year's proposals are mostly under review. In 2020, the turnaround of acceptance (in terms of monetary value) has been around 14%.
Reading through the executive summaries of these submitted grant documents is a delightful experience in its own right, revealing the diverse, trans-disciplinary and high impact work these proposals promise. I want to congratulate all my colleagues on making these remarkable strides in the direction of sustainability.
Initiated the Carl Sagan Write For Science Internship program. This internship offers to gel together creative writing skills with serious science emanating from the School, and help pave the way for active science journalism. It is open for all students of SBASSE and shall commence from 1st June. Each intern will be given an honorarium of PKR 15,000 after successfully completing the internship.
Signage overhaul at SBASSE. Science Communications Office has been tasked with creating new signage across the School. Design for wing titles has been finalised. Office of the Dean has been renamed Al-Biruni wing.
Al-Farabi system has been launched. I am pleased to announce that the School of Science and Engineering is now offering a Windows and GPU based high-performance computing environment for all LUMS Faculty. A brief overview of Al-Farabi, which is how the system is named, is here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/node/8813
16th edition of The Particle is now available.
Pakistan's Global Graduates Programme with UPSIGN. UPSIGN is partnering with the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering to train 40 students for the Pakistan's Global Graduates Programme. In this initiative, selected students will receive training in essential skills including interpersonal communication, technical writing, scientific conduct and ethics, inter-cultural competencies, and critical analysis. The programme will be conducted over summers in a six week long course and will be taught by leading academics from six British Universities. The programme is free and is open for PhD, MS students, juniors and seniors. Application link: https://form.jotform.com/211223237398050
Call for Afiniti Fellows ad published in the local newspaper. The ad has been published in The News.
Retrofitting of exhaust ducting in SSE Building. An exhaust duct is installed in the central lab wing connecting all labs. Volume control dampers are installed on all connection points (in each lab), which can be controlled as per requirement and system design. This exhaust duct is extended to SSE’s roof and connected with an exhaust fan (capacity: 1500 CFM), and the exhaust fan outlet is further connected with an air stack to attain better air dilution. The project team includes the NMF department, Facilitate and Engineering department, the Central lab department, and the Safety office.
Cultivation of SSE's experimental farms has begun.
Supporting the School in accreditation. A working cell has been established in the Dean's office that will look after the academic modalities required for accreditation. This cell comprises Anam Aftab (electrical engineering), Afaq Butt (computer science) and Shama Rashid (physics). They will be assisted by Dr. Shahid Masud and Dr. Qasim Imtiaz. Anam will lead this unit. The purpose of this cell is to remove duplicate efforts, streamlining information flow between the academic programmes, collating course objectives and learning outcomes for the core courses and providing support to the undergraduate curriculum committee who may like to assess the overall quality of the SSE core programme.
Matlab access for everyone at SSE. The School has now acquired a Matlab license for everyone working at SSE including faculty, staff, researchers and students. It shall be valid up to 31 March 2022, and will also grant access to all Matlab toolboxes. I hope this licensing mechanism, and the training material that comes with it, will help our students in enhancing their computational prowess.
Letter from the Dean to welcome undergraduate applicants has been released.
Nobel Laureate speaker at 7th Abdus Salam Annual Memorial Lecture. Dr. Donna Strickland, Nobel Laureate in Physics (2018) was the guest speaker at the 7th Abdus Salam Annual Memorial Lecture. She delivered an exciting talk on her journey to the Nobel prize, including her groundbreaking work on generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.
Central Lab brochure has been published.
Efforts are being made to spread the message, enhance productivity and garner student support and involvement for the Central Lab SBASSE, LUMS. Student apprenticeships, restructuring of the Central Lab committee, efforts to add new equipment and the attached brochure all speak to this.
Central lab website: https://centrallab.lums.edu.pk/.
More on student apprenticeships: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/opportunities-for-students
ماسٹرز اور پی ایچ ڈی طلبہ کے لیے ایک مُفید تجویز۔
ماسٹرز اور پی ایچ ڈی کے طلبہ و طالبات کے لیے یہ بات مفید سمجھی گئی ہے کہ اُن کے حتمی مسودوں کے شروع میں کام کا عنوان اور خلاصہ صاف ستھری، سہل اور قابلِ مہم اُردو میں لِکھے جائیں۔ اس سے نہ صرف ہمیں سائنسی اور تکنیکی حلقوں کے باہر اپنی تحقیق کی اشاعت اور تفہیم کا موقع مِل سکے گا بلکہ تحقیق کو صحافتی حلقوں میں بھی نشر کرنے کے لیے یہ کوشش نہایت ضروری ہے۔
- Making PhysLab covid-19 compliant. Separators, floor charts and hand sanitizers have been installed in the PhysLab. The effort was spearheaded by the team of Khadim, Ali Hassan and Hafiz Rizwan. This is to ensure our students can continue to work in the lab with necessary safety protocols in place.
- Another cloud classroom established. The fifth cloud classroom has been established in the SBASSE basement floor. These classrooms are equipped with state of the art equipment including roving cameras with zoom capability and can provide the instructor with the ability to see a large number of students at any given time through a full-wall projection setup.
- Temporary staff position at the Dean's Office. There is a new temporary staff position in the Dean's Office, precisely the academic affairs office. The job description requires this resource person to have a background in a scientific or engineering discipline, with additional strengths in informatics, writing, researching the educational ecosystem, assessing our undergraduate programs in the School and the appropriate presentation of data. This will be more of a foundational and strategic position. For detail, please visit this link: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/opportunities
- New website for SBASSE is live. The new website outlines our safety enterprise, communicates our work to the citizenry, snapshots our research, and portrays the many exciting stories emerging from the School, enlists our human resource, reminisces about the past, and glances into our future. Original artwork enriches these pages. There are pointers to the research and teaching groups in the School, the tapestry of academic programs, a repertoire of activities and projects undertaken at the Dean's office and much more. Please visit this link to take a look: http://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/
Video showcase of research at SSE has been released. Three, high-quality videos have been produced that highlight and showcase some of the research streams at SSE. These include fundamental research on quantum computers, novel drug compounds to fight HIV and Hepatitis-C virus, and development of a new class of Perovskite based solar cells. They can be accessed through SSE's social media platforms and its YouTube channel.
The Quantum Revolution: https://youtu.be/wldRFklZlFM
Targeting Disease: https://youtu.be/k_eAFd32f8w
Go Green with The Sun: https://youtu.be/_HsROGen4-Q
SSE MS/PhD Programme Videos. Video messages have been created to invite candidates for application to the SBASSE MS and PhD programmes.
Electrical Engineering: https://youtu.be/6jTvKOhgkjc
Computer Science: https://youtu.be/Zz7AQ-HSEBA
MS and PhD brochures have been printed. These contain details of the program including structure and courses offered.
Siemens Initiative on Medical Physics and Medical Technologies. Today I presented two proposals to prospective donors. They revolved around sustainable cities and medical physics. It appears that our school has developed highly advanced niches in these inter-disciplinary areas. I look forward to welcoming partners and collaborators to work with us on these matters, which have significant national value.
Mapping startups emerging at SBASSE. Innovation and impact are central to our mission. For this purpose, I am mapping the startups founded at SBASSE, LUMS by our students, staff and Faculty. The data will help refine our processes for encouraging academic entrepreneurship, can project these initiatives many of which have wide social and national benefit, will reward the inventors in the University, forge new connections and help us usher in a milieu that encourages innovation and invention.
Afiniti Fellow - call for applications. I am pleased to announce on behalf of the School, the call for applications for the Afiniti Fellow. This Fellowship is aimed at attracting an outstanding young investigator working in futuristic scientific disciplines, generally under-represented in Pakistan. The Afiniti Scholar, preferrably a fresh PhD holder, will be expected to engage in teaching of the highest order, catalyzing research directions in her area of choice and taking up a leadership role to inspire other youngsters, especially women into STI careers.
Full details can be seen here: https://sbasse.lums.edu.pk/opportunities.
- Upgrading Noether Wing with modern exhaust systems. The Noether wing houses the central and physics laboratories. We have now received a go-ahead to retrofit these labs with a modern exhaust system. This will help improve the safety specifications of this vibrant experimental area.
- Portal to access online courses. Our school's website now hosts a portal that provides access to diverse online courses produced by our faculty. The offered courses range from introductory to advanced levels.
- Presentation at the 2021 Advisory Board Meeting. Here is my presentation that, in addition to sharing a glimpse of the present academic and administrative status of the SBASSE, also talks to our place in society, our learning and education, research streams, culture, sustainability and an overarching look at the future of the school: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuVDZFyRdq0
- Magazine subscriptions of the Dean's Office. The SBASSE Dean's Office is subscribed to the following magazines and has received a fresh lot of latest issues.
- Popular Science (Quarterly)
- Discover (Monthly)
- Popular Mechanics (Bimonthly)
- Progress (Monthly)
- Maximum PC (Monthly)
- BBC Science Focus (Monthly)
- High Voltage lab under-construction. The high voltage lab is under construction. I hope this place will be set up expediently and could become a nursery for important work in the field of high voltage and power systems. I also hope previous investments in equipment would come to fruition and we could also develop expertise to help the professional community.
- An elective course on Fundamentals of Bio-Nanotechnology. This elective course conducted by Dr. Samir Iqbal, will offer an insight into basics of nanotechnology, it's applications in biosensing and nanofabrication. This course will be open for public audit.
- Launch of The Particle (issue 15). The latest edition of SBASSE's quarterly science magazine features exciting science and technology stories emerging from the School, the University and beyond, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It also highlights sub-continent's first Engineering College in Rourkee that conducted its education in Urdu.
- Filming for our research stories started today. (6) Our media consultants and filming crew started with covering our flagship research on quantum technologies. They will then move to green energy, drug discovery and vaccine research. A glimpse from the filming activity is here.
- Grading approvals of courses will now be done by Department Chairs while I will approve courses with the SCI and ENGG course code. This will save time and bring academic decision making closer to the ground realities and disciplinary specializations. (2)
- Increased timings of HVAC in chemistry and biology. We are totally committed to safe science. In this respect, we have planned to enhance the timings of ventilation at the fume hoods and safety cabinets. This system will now be operative from 8 am to 10 pm, Monday through Saturday. See the schedule below. (2)
- The Physlab conducted a 5 S survey of a particular CNC machining lab and proposed practical examples of how 5 S could lead to better workplace organization.
- Corporate credit card enabled for the School. Hopefully this will help in expediting purchases and facilitating the needs of our experimentalists better, who often require rapid access to materials, need to purchase from distributors in the local and international markets who only accept this mode of transaction and I hope this will help alleviate any remaining procurement challenges. Creating seamless processes for research remains our utmost mission. (22
- Looking for a photographer! Is there an SSE staff member in SSE whom I could engage for some DSLR photography on an ongoing basis---someone who loves to image, has the photographer's acumen and can devote about 5% of one's time to assist me. These photographs will assist the work of our science communication team, will build our image bank, will seep into the Particle and will help our team to create attractive advertisement material. This will count as service to the School, key is the passion for this form of artistic expression. (22)
- Head of the chemical engineering programme. I am pleased to announce that Dr. Qasim Imtiaz, Assistant Professor in chemical engineering has been appointed as the head of the chemical engineering programme, within the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
- Convener of the graduate programme committee. Dr. Muhammad Usman from the mathematics department is the new convener of the SBASSE graduate programme committee. He replaces Dr. Basit Shafiq who is taking up the leadership role of the Chair of the Computer Science Department. (23)
- In Physics, we are creating a new research project laboratory---a space for research oriented projects.