Do you ever contemplate the future of science in Pakistan, and wonder if there even is one? Are you intrigued by the paradox of science and religion? Have you ever looked up at the sky and marveled at its unparalleled beauty? If your answer to these questions is yes, the work of Salman Hameed would strike you as infinitely inspirational and paramount in the world of science. Born in Pakistan, Salman Hameed is currently an associate professor of integrated science and humanities in the school of Cognitive Science, Hampshire College, Massachusetts. He is also the director of Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies and the founder of Kainaat Astronomy YouTube Channel. His research previously focused on astronomy, particularly the formation of galaxies. His current research takes a sociological approach to science. He focuses on the reception of science and the relationship between science and religion as perceived by the Muslim world, especially on “controversial” topics such as biological evolution.
Read Salman Hameed’s interview by Spectra Magazine, Inspiring the Sagans of Tomorrow.
As far as Salman Hameed’s life-changing astronomical fascination is concerned, it arose from watching a documentary. To quote him,
I have my own affinity with the bright night sky of Karachi. I was first smitten by astronomy in the early 1980’s, when Pakistan Television (PTV) aired the first episode of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.
By the end of the first episode of the documentary, Salman Hameed knew that he wanted to diverge from the path of engineering already laid out for him and carve his own way towards the realm of astronomy. Not only did he succeed in becoming an astronomer himself, he hopes to extend his fascination with the marvels of astronomy to the rest of the world. He has written science articles for popular newspapers, such as The Guardian in the United Kingdom and the Express tribune in Pakistan. He also does regular weekly and monthly radio segments on astronomy with FM 93.9 and FM 96.9, respectively.
Salman Hameed is a strong advocate of investing in the youth to promote science. He is critical of the inadequacy of academia in equipping the youth with the tools to gauge various phenomena critically and scientifically. To fill this gap, his latest endeavors involve familiarizing the Pakistani youth with debates surrounding cosmology. In this context, he runs a blog called Irtiqa (Evolution). Irtiqa is true to its name as it seeks to unravel the evolution of various scientific concepts as well as the lenses that determine the way they are perceived. He also hosts several Urdu podcasts on YouTube about cosmology, namely Science ka Adda (Café Scientifique), Kainaati Gup shup (A Chat About our Universe) and Hamari Kainaat (Our universe). All of these are available on his YouTube channel Kainaat Astronomy in Urdu. The videos under this channel are a product of thorough research and gripping story telling, making the vast horizons of astronomy less intimidating for the Pakistani youth.
It is an honor for Spectra to introduce the astronomy series to our platform.
We hope to help Salman Hameed achieve his goal of making Pakistan a little more curious and a little more informed, one podcast at a time.