Year after setting sail for his academic journey, Dr. Muntazir Abidi has gathered respect and recognition for his dedication to curiosity and perseverance. A celebrated alumnus of the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Diploma programme, Dr. Abidi, who graduated from the Physics programme from SBASSE back in 2012, is the subject of the center’s latest alumni spotlight.
Like many before him and possibly more after, Dr. Abidi’s interest in science was catalyzed by his read of Stephen Hawking’s best-seller “Brief History of Time”, a gift to him one of his teachers. Recalling memories from his early days at ICTP, Dr. Abidi said “After reading that book, I took a special interest in physics, but when I went to university in Lahore, for my bachelor’s the focus was mostly on engineering. When I arrived at ICTP I still did not know what I wanted to specialize in, I was just genuinely interested in physics. I was taking courses and most of the time I was just reading random books in the library. I really liked the ICTP Library, I spent a lot of time there."
After landing in Trieste in 2012, his exploration of the universe began through studies in High Energy, Cosmology and Astroparticle physics. During the time it took for him to complete his Diploma at the ICTP, the grit of work, warmness and support of colleagues and teachers and the very well-structured program overall helped transform him on a professional as well as personal front. "I think the Diploma Programme changed my life and if I am where I am it's because of ICTP. There's no doubt about it," says Dr. Abidi. “Researchers at ICTP come from all around the world and people are very friendly and cordial. Here I met a lot of great scientists, I got to meet people who I considered my heroes."
Dr. Abidi returned to Pakistan and settled in Karachi to continue his journey as a lecturer at the Karachi Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship and later at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. It was then, that the threads of fate weaved a net large enough to catch both his biggest ambitions and his wildest dreams; he was awarded a special fellowship at the University of Cambridge, UK. Like a well-written story of completing life’s proverbial circles, he was positioned at the Stephen Hawking Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. The center bore name of the scientist whose book flamed Dr Muntazir Abidi’s love for science in the first place! "When I went to Cambridge for my Master's, it felt like a great time in my career, because I had the chance to really explore things and because I got to meet people who are working on specialized fields," says Dr. Abidi.
Since November 2020, Dr. Muntazir Abidi has joined the University of Geneva as a post-doctoral researcher, where he is working with Prof. Camille Bonvin on testing gravity using galaxy and intensity mapping surveys. He was also invited as a short-term researcher by the Cosmology X Data Science group at the Simons Foundation's Flatiron Institute in New York, USA. He has been collaborating with Prof. Shirley Ho’s group on simulation-based analysis of galaxy surveys as well as applications of deep learning in cosmology.
Dr. Muntazir Abidi’s brilliant yet young career spawns motivation. We congratulate him on receiving the recognition from the ICTP. Looking back the story of Dr. Abidi, perhaps the force needed to guide the compass of our mind and get the impetus of learning going is as nimble as reading an interesting book on one’s favourite subject.