Updates from the Dean SBASSE
The activities of the Dean's office are partially supported by the Ahmad Dawood Chair Funds.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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۔
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.
- 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/
- 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.