Rathnam Chaguturu and M. Iqbal Choudhary Pages i - iii ( 3 )
History rarely witnesses the emergence of personalities whose monumental achievements change the course of science and technology in a country. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman FRS, is one of such outstanding personalities whose contributions are multi-dimensional. For over half a century, he advanced our understanding of natural products and bioorganic chemistry, and inspired several generations of young scientists to choose these branches of chemical science as their future endeavors. From a humble beginning of independent research in an institution of a developing country, he advanced to capture the attention of the world’s natural product and medicinal chemistry communities with his seminal discoveries and his excellent leadership. He mentored a large number of young scholars from all over the world. Thus his enthusiasm for research and learning has spread globally. His research journey began with the development of synthetic approaches to complex anti-tumor alkaloids. He discovered over a thousand natural products, many of which proved to be novel with exciting biological properties. Around 850 publications, 25 international patents and over 114 books, published by major international publishers, are evidence to his enormous contributions in the field of natural products.
The contributions of Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman go beyond his achievements in the field of chemical sciences. His leadership as the Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Information Technology and Higher Education of Pakistan, during 2000-2008 has completely changed the landscape of higher education in Pakistan. This included a significant increase in the number of universities from 57 to 137, tripling of the students’ enrolment from 257,000 to 810,000, increasing the national research output from 600 publications annually to 5,000 publications annually and raising university standards so much so that several universities in Pakistan are now ranked among the top 400 in the world.
His work has received universal recognition and for this, he was honored with numerous awards and honorary doctorate degrees by many universities including the University of Cambridge. He is also the only scientist from the Islamic world to have been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (London) in recognition of research work carried out within an Islamic country in the 350 years old history of the Royal Society. Prof. Rahman is the first scientist from the Muslim world to have won the prestigious UNESCO Science Prize (1999) in the 35 year-old history of the Prize. He was elected Honorary Life Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University, UK in 2007. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman was conferred the TWAS (The Academy of sciences for Developing World) Prize for Institution Building in Durban, South Africa in 2009 in recognition of his contributions for bringing about revolutionary changes in the higher education sector in Pakistan. The Austrian government also honoured him with its highest civil award (“Grosse Goldene Ehrenzeischen am Bande") (2007) in recognition of his eminent contributions....A, TRIBUTE, TO, A, LIVING, LEGEND, (Special, Issue, in, Honor, of, the, 70th, Birthday, of, Dr., Atta-ur-Rahman.)
Deputy Site Head, Center for Advanced Drug Research, Senior Director, Exploratory Research SRI International, 140 Research Way Harrisonburg, VA 22802, USA.