The ‘basic science’ is the foundation of the development of `modern technology’ without which a country cannot be developed or cannot be independent economically. I am against brain-draining, and against making Bangladesh an exporter of scholars. However, I want to see that our brilliant students will go abroad only for higher studies or for advanced research, and will return Bangladesh to utilize their scientific research/teaching experiences in developing our beloved motherland Bangladesh-Prof. A A Mamun
Scientific Bangladesh, in its pursuit to give Bangladeshi researchers (at home and in abroad) scope to talk about their present research, future plan, giving directions to future researchers and government, has talked (by email) with Prof. A A Mamun to get his insight on different issues…….
Scientific Bangladesh: What or who had made you physicist?
Professor Mamun: There are many points. The most important ones are:
Professor Mamun: To be a good physicist, of course, one must be talented as well as passionate. The output of the research work always follows ‘sine curve’ (at least in my opinion), so without passion and dedication one cannot continue his/her research work. There are some other important points which are essential to be an award winner scientist. These are as follows:
I was really lucky to have my M. Sc., Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral supervisors (who are also many national and international award winners), and to have all the opportunities mentioned above. It should be noted here that my post-doctoral supervisor (Indian Born-German Scientist) is now regarded as the ‘father of modern plasma science’.
Scientific Bangladesh: Which of the awards was the most exciting for you and why?
Professor Mamun: I was awarded a number of national and international awards and prizes. Two international awards and one national award are the most exciting from the view of different aspects mentioned below:
Professor Mamun: There are many reasons that made me return to Bangladesh. The most important ones are:
It is very difficult for me to forget all of these facts mentioned in 1-3. It is also very difficult for me to survive without being the part of my beloved Jahangirnagar University. The last but not the least, I returned to Bangladesh ignoring many offers of position in different world-class research organizations because of my firm commitment or strong determination to serve my own country, because of my strong desire/interest to teach my students using my mother tongue, and because of my love in own motherland and own university (Jahangirnagar University), where my education life was grown up. I want to be in touch with my beloved Jahangirnagar University Campus until the last moment of my death.
Scientific Bangladesh: Keeping in mind so many awards for your research excellence, we dare to ask; do you think you have contributed as much as you wanted when took decision to return to Bangladesh? If yes, what facilities helped you? If not, what are the obstacles you face?
Professor Mamun: We have many limitations to continue the world class research in Bangladesh. Still I do believe that it is possible to do world class theoretical (computational) research in Bangladesh if someone has a very strong determination and dedication in research. You will be happy to know that with the help of TWAS (Trieste, Italy) and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Bonn, Germany), at JU I already set up two theoretical (computational) plasma physics laboratories where 15 research students can carry out the world class research at a time, and that in every year on average nearly 30 research articles are being published by my research students in prestigious American/European journals. I am happy to inform you that almost every year 3 or 4 students are getting full scholarships for their Ph. D. degrees from European/Australian Universities.
Scientific Bangladesh: What do you feel about research culture in Bangladeshi Universities in general and in Jahangirnagar University in particular?
Professor Mamun: The research culture in Bangladeshi Universities, including Jahangirnagar University, is not blowing up. I am sorry to say that dirty politics (or flattering of the employers by employees who want to go up without teaching or research) in Bangladeshi Universities is blowing up. This is, of course, a kind of self-criticism; at least in my opinion, we cannot be improved if we don’t believe in self-criticism.
Scientific Bangladesh: What would be your suggestions to improve research culture and facilities in our universities to our VCs and Government from your vast experience at home and in abroad?
Professor Mamun: I do believe that ‘basic science’ is the foundation of ‘modern technology’ without which a country cannot be developed or cannot be independent economically. So the government or the authorities of the universities or research organizations should think the following points: To stop brain-draining, all young genius brains and scholars of our own must be encouraged (attracted) to return our own country by making appropriate policies. I am sorry to say, in every sector of Bangladesh (during the period of every government), the contribution in (dirty!) politics is more important than the contribution in education or research. This cannot stop brain draining, but this can help to make Bangladesh an exporter of scholars. I am against brain draining, and against making Bangladesh an exporter of scholars. However, I want to see that our brilliant students will go abroad only for higher studies or for advanced research, and will return Bangladesh to utilize their scientific research and teaching experiences in developing our beloved motherland Bangladesh. The government or policy makers of higher education sector should have a long-term vision to try to create some kind of environment for them.
Scientific Bangladesh: What suggestions or advice you usually give when your students graduate and go abroad for higher study and research?
Professor Mamun: I already supervised a large number of M. Sc. and Ph. D. students. I always strongly advised (and show dreams) my research students along with my other students (in class room) to go abroad at least to open their eyes and to widen their mind by interacting with students/scientists of different cultures of different nations. The most of my M. Sc. research students, after their M. Sc. thesis, are doing Ph. D. in western countries with full scholarships. The rest of my research students are waiting to go abroad for Ph. D. just to make permanent their positions in public universities of Bangladesh. The suggestions or advices that I usually give my students (before leaving Bangladesh for higher studies) are as follows:
Scientific Bangladesh: Are you contributing by any other way for scientific advancement of Bangladesh other than teaching and research, such as involvement with professional bodies of scientists? What’s your evaluation of the Bangladeshi professional bodies of scientists’ in comparison to other countries you have experience?
Professor Mamun: Truly speaking, I am not in a position to contribute by any other way for scientific advancement of Bangladesh other than teaching and research. I feel that the Bangladesh Academy of Science (BAS) is encouraging or recognizing our young and senior scientists to go ahead with their research.
Scientific Bangladesh: Have we missed any point that you would like to share with our readers?
Professor Mamun: Yes, I would like to share my research field with your readers. I am working in `Physics of Complex (Dusty) Plasmas’, which, because of its versatile applications, infinitely large domain, and unsolvable complexities, has become a challenging research topic not only for near future, but also for long—long—period of time to come. Your readers will be happy to know that working on this research field, I wrote one text book [published 1st edition by the Institute of Physics (London) and 2nd edition by Taylor & Francis] and wrote over 250 research articles [published in foreign international journals, like Phys. Rev. Lett. (USA), Geophys. Res. Lett. (USA), J. Geophys Res. (USA), Astrophys. J. (USA), Phys. Rev. B (USA), Phys. Rev. E (USA), Phys. Plasmas (USA), IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci. (USA), Phys. Scripta (Sweden), J. Plasma Phys. (UK), Phys. Lett A. (Netherlands), etc. I would like to share another point with your readers that the quality of research work is more important than its quantity. One of the important indicators to measure the quality of research work is its citations. Your readers will be happy to know that my research works already received over 5000 citations (in total). To see the detailed information of my research work, I suggest your readers to click: Dr. A A Mamun – Google Scholar Citations.
Scientific Bangladesh: Thank you very much for your time and valuable opinions. Professor Mamun: Thank you very much. I really appreciate you for all the nice questions you ask