Mahjoub Obeid Taha, An Exceptional Scientific Genius

Mahjoub Obeid Taha, An Exceptional Scientific Genius

By: Rogia al-Shafee


KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - A born scientist, Professor Mahjoub Obied Taha, is known to have introduced a number of scientific inventions in the field of physics and mathematics. 

He developed, the first relativistic generalization, developed the Taha's method for general polynomial 0-1, developed the Taha sum rule, discovered a new sum rule for the reaction between protons and electrons addition to other referential published works in international scientific periodicals and journals.      

Due to his value-added scientific contributions, the American space agency NASA and several international universities sought his service. Mahjoub was twice offered a job by NASA, while he was working at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, USA, which he politely declined. A third offer was made to him by NASA, as related by his son Obeid, where NASA left the salary column free for his late father to state his preferred salary, but he declined that third offer as well and preferred to come back and work as professor of physics at the University of Khartoum at a salary equivalent to just $1200. 

Taha’s genius blossomed at a very early age. Had it not been for the persistence and strong will of his mother, the world could have been deprived of the scholarly knowledge of one of the most notable physicists in modern times.

 His life-long friend Dr. Kamal Al-Hadi of the International University of Africa related to Sudanow the really interesting story of Taha’s mother. He said the story happened at a time when schools are scarce and scattered along far distances in Sudan. Hundreds competing candidates from remote villages and rural areas at the school age of 7 were striving neck-a-neck to get a seat from the already limited number of admission seats. Admission seats were limited to 40 only at the district where our scientist Taha resided. Admission committee was composed of education ministry officials, tribal chiefs and community leaders. Taha applied to join elementary school when he was seven but his application was declined. Then he applied again next year at the age of eight, only to be rejected admission once again. He was insistent and applied for the third time at the age of nine, but still he was denied admission to school! That was supposed to be his last chance as the admission committee did not consider elementary school admission applications from children over nine years of age.

With all the carefree attitude of a young chap, Mahjoub Taha opted to dash for game-play on the river bank with his peers rather than return home to disclose the rejection news to his mom.

When she sensed he was late, his mom went out looking for him. But upon hearing of her son’s non-admission news, Mahjoub’s mom was furious and she went straight into the admission committee venue to address the committee members angrily: “Why have you denied him admission for the third time? Is it because he is orphaned? Don’t you have conscience? Aren’t you God-fearing?” The committee members had to change their decision and finally Mahjoub got a chance to join elementary school. 

At the final end-year exams Mahjoub scored the best marks and ranked first amongst all his peers. Ever since he remained on top of class until he finished his undergraduate schooling.

By the end of 1956, the American Herald Tribune organized the international Herald Tribune forum with the aim of introducing international student achievers to their American peers. Mahjoub was at secondary school level when he was nominated to represent Sudan in that forum based on the results of a national secondary school competition.

When he was back from the Herald Tribune Forum Mahjoub toured secondary schools and scientific institutes delivering lectures about learned lessons from his participation experience in the forum. 

He had reportedly skipped some grades during his elementary, intermediate and secondary school education.

Upon his admission to the University of Khartoum, Mahjoub continued his path of scientific excellence achieving the best-student award for the final scientific preparatory exams for intermediate level at his first and second academic years successively.                        

In 1961, he was delegated by the University of Khartoum to the United Kingdom to complement his college studies in physics at Durham University. Accompanying him in that assignment was his peer Mohammed Abdulkarim Ahmed. The decision to delegate both of them to complement their studies in Durham University was motivated by the Faculty-of-Science’s interest to qualify a core Sudanese teaching staff from amongst the ranks of its most distinguished students. 

Professor Mahjoub was greatly attracted to the interacting issues of science and faith particularly with regard to the cosmic formation theories. He had delivered many lectures and written several articles on this topic at a time when atheism was a common dogma among scientists and physicists. 

For example in 1966, the American “Time” magazine published a scientific article astonishingly entitled “Has God Died?” The title reflects a common supposition among scientific circles that with the great advancement of science there was no longer a need to inject theological existence into the interpretation theories of cosmic formation. 

Mahjoub devoted a number of articles to refute atheist scientist’s claims against the existence of god. 

With all those distinguished scientific and academic achievements, professor Mahjoub was recognized for his genuine humility and modesty. He always avoided the lime lights and preferred to work and achieve in silence. 

Mahjoub’s colleague at King Saud University, Dr. Khidir Mohammed Al-Shaibani, wrote the following tribute in Mahjoub’s commemoration:

“Mahjoub has left behind a rich legacy of scholarly and scientific contributions. But most important of all is that he has left behind memorable attributes of radiating love, high ethics and infectious genuine attitude of modesty. Deep inside me I have always known that Mahjoub’s best enemies were his excessive modesty and severe asceticism. He used to avoid all sorts of lime lights though he was always keen on passing through the gist of his thoughts and academic knowledge to his students all through his academic career within the strict standards and guidelines he had set for his life, where he preferred his work to be free from hypocrisy and any search for notoriety”. 

Following is a detailing of Taha’s life history and scientific achievement and activity as presented in his Face Book page:

Mahjoub Obaid Taha, a Sudanese physicist who received his doctorate and professorship from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

- He was born in the city of Al Qatina in Sudan in 1937 and died in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 26 August 2000 - 26Jumada II 1421 AH.

- All stages of pre - university education in Sudan

- Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) with honors from the University of Durham, Britain in 1964.

- PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge, Britain (1967)

  - Lecturer and then Associate Professor and Professor of Physics, University of Khartoum until 1976

- Professor of Physics at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia until his death

- Appointed Dean of the Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum in 1974

- He was a Research Fellow at Downing College, Cambridge in 1966

- He was appointed a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1967

- Appointed research fellow at the World Center of Theoretical Physics in Trieste 1968

- Appointed First Fellow of the World Center of Theoretical Physics in Trieste, 1975

- He was a member of the American Physical Society

- He was a member of the Sudanese Atomic Energy Commission

- He was a member of several university councils at the Universities of Khartoum and King Saud.

- He represented the Universities of Khartoum and King Saud in many international conferences

- He was a member of the editorial boards of several specialized scientific journals and editor of the Journal of the Faculty of Science, King Saud University

- He supervised several master's and doctorate degrees at the Universities of Khartoum and King Saud

- Appointed Dean of the Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum in 1974

- He was a Research Fellow at Downing College, Cambridge in 1966

- Presented many lectures and wrote many articles in the philosophy of science, the structure of scientific theories, the concept of natural laws, the concept of time and the beginning of the universe and the scientific miracle of the Koran, the consistency of faith and natural science.


Professor Mahjoub Obeid Taha’s List of Publications:

1. A Model For Final State Interactions Nuovo Cimento 42, 207, (1966).

2. Reduced - Amplitude Equations For Two and Three Particle Systems I Nuovo Cimento 44, 561 (1966).

3. Reduced - Amplitude Equations For Two & Three Particle Systems II Nuovo Cimento 44, 849 (1966).

4. Coupled Equations For Scattering Amplitudes And Hadronic Currents Phys. Rev. 152, 1507 (1966) (With E.Y.C.Lu).

5. Approach To Currents and the Derivation of Current Algebra Phys. Rev. 158, 1623 (1967).

6. General Sum Rules and the Form of the Equal-Time Commutator Phys. Rev. 162 1694 (1967).

7. Parity - Conserving Hyperon Decays In Su(3) Phys. Rev. 169, 1182 (1968).

8. Parity - Conserving Hyperon Non-Leptonic Decays In SU(3) Phys. Rev. 171, 1481 (1968).

9. A Method and Some Results in Current Identities Nuovo Cimento 60, 651 (1969).

10. Sum Rules And High Energy Behaviour Nuovo Cimento 60, 663 (1969).

11. Continuous Parameter Sum Rules Nuclear Physics 10B, 656 (1969). 12. Extension of Sugawara's Theory of Currents Phys. Rev. 188, 2517 (1969) (with M.A. Ahmed).

13. Sum Rules From Sugawara's Theory of Currents Phys. Rev. D1, 1764 (1970).

14. Pion Electromagnetic From Factor and the Veneziaro Model Phys. Rev. D1, 2147 (1970) (with A. Amatya).

15. On the Off-Shell pp Veneziano Amplitude  Progr. Theoret: Physics 44, 444, (1970) (with M.A. Ahmed).

16. Veneziano Amplitude for pA, Scattering Progr, Theoret: Physics 44, 448 (1970) (with M.A. Ahmed).

17. Cross-Duality Model Lett. Al Nuovo Cimento 3, 861 (1970).

18. Direct - and Cross - Duality Amplitudes, Physics Phys. Rev. D3, 498 (1971).

19. Super convergence Sum Rules and Exchange Degeneracy in Cross Duality Model Phys. Rev. D3, 1461 (1971).

20. Regge Behaviour, Crossing Symmetry and Unitarity In the Nakanishi Representation Phys. Rev. D4, 3768 (1971).

21. Dual Amplitudes with Mandelstam Analyticity Lett. Nuovo Cimento 2U, 290 (1971).

22. Dual Amplitudes with Arbitrary Trajectories Phys. Rev. D5, 1015 (1972) (with R. Ramachandran).

23. An Analytic pp Dual Amplitude Nuovo Cimento 13A, 679 (1973) (with A. Tahir).

24. The Kl3 Decay in Light-Cone Algebra Nuovo Cimento 16A, 209 (1973) (with A.M.A. Rahman).

25. Connection Between Equal-Time and Light-Cone commutators Phys. Rev. 8D, 491 (1973) (with A.M.A. Rahman).

26. Causality And Scaling Restrictions On The Electromagnetic Equal-Time Commutators Nucl. Phys. B66, 245 (1973).

27. Equal-Time Algebra and Light-Cone Commutators Nuovo Cimento 18A, 663 (1973). 

28. Causality, Current Algebra and Fixed Poles Phys. Rev. D9, 2349 (1974) (with A.M.A. Rahman& M.A. Ahmed).

29. Remarks On Vanishing Longitudinal Cross - Sections and Operator Schwinger Terms

30. New Sum Rule In Electro-production Lett. Al. Nuovo Cimento, 13, 645 (1975).

31. Regge Expansion of a Causal Spectral Function Nuovo Cimento 30A, 212 (1975) (with M.A. Ahmed).

32. Causality, Equal-Time Algebra and Light-Cone Commutators Phys, Rev. D11, 924 (1975) (with A.M.A. Rahman).

33. Convergent Fixed-Mass Sum Rules From Current Algebra Nuovo Cimento 30A, 144 (1975).

34. Causality and Asymptotic Behaviour in Electroduction  Phys. Rev. D14, 189 (1976).

35. Causality and the Proton-Neutron Mass Difference Phys. Rev. D15, 2472 (1977) (with A.M.A. Rahman).

36. Causal Basis of the Dual-Yan-West relation Phys. Rev. D18, 2332 (1978).

37. Periodic Solutions to Classical Field Equations Physical Scripta 20, 447 (1979).

38. Remarks on Causality and Electromagnetic Mass Shifts Phys. Rev. D21, 2708 (1980) (with A.M. A. Rahman).

39. Integral Representation of Green's Functions for Asymptotically Free Field Theories Phys. Rev. D25, 387 (1982).

40. Asymptotic Behavior of The Effective Potential Phys. Rev. D26, 2766 (1982).

41. Transformation of The Renormalized Coupling Constant Phys. Rev. D29, 253 (1984).

42. Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking In The Effective Potential Phys. Rev. D33, 1108 (1986).

43. A Possible Solution To The Main Cosmological problems Phys. Letts. B171, 363, (1986) (with M. Ozer).

44. A Model Of The Universe Free of Cosmological problems Nucl. Physics B287, 776 (1987) (with M. Ozer).

45. The Higgs Boson Mass in Standard Electroweak Theory Z. phys. C36, 639 (1987) (with H. Hendi and M. Ozer).

46. Noether's theorem and local gauge invariance Am. J. Phys. 59, 363 (1991) (with H.A. Al-Kuwari).

47. The Effective Potential and the Renormalization Group Equation Europhys. Lett. 15, 827 (1991) (with A. Alhendi).

48. Application of the renormalization group to the Decay of the False Vacuum Phys. Lett. B279, 250 (1992) (with H.A. Al-Kuwari).

49. Asymptotic Behavior Of The Higgs Coupling In SU(2) X U(1) Theory Phys. Rev. D46, 428 (1992) (with H. Alhendi& M.Ozer).

50. Exact Solutions In String-Motivated Scalar-Field Cosmology Phys. Rev. D45, R997 (1992) (with M. Ozer).

51. Remarks On The Fixed-Point Hypothesis For Fermion Masses Il Nuovo Cimento 105A, 445 (1992).

52. Massless f4 Theory is not asymptotically Free Phys. Lett. B300, 373, (1993) (with A. Alhendi).

53. Reliability Of One-Loop Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking J. phys. G. Nucl. Part. Phys. 19, 385 (1993) (with H.A. Al-Kuwari).

54. Application Of The Renormalization Group To Asymptotic Behaviour in The Mass Parameter Int. J. Mod. Phys. A9, 2283 (1994) (with H.A. Al-Kuwari).

55. Cosmology Of General Relativity Without Energy-Momentum Conservation G.R.G. 28, 935 (1996) (with A.S. Al-Rawaf).

56. A. Resolution Of The Cosmological Age Puzzle Phys. Lett. B366, 69 (1996) (with A.S. Al-Rawaf).

57. Asymptotic Behaviour Of Massive f4 Theory Mod. Phys. Lett. (1997).

58. Spontaneous Decay Of The Effective Cosmological Constant Mod. Phys. Lett. A13, 571 (1998) (with M. Ozer).

59. An Upper Bond On the Higgs Boson Mas From A Positivity Condition On the Mass Matrix Mod. Phys. Lett. A13, 753 (1998) (with Ali Al-Naghmoush & M.Ozer).

60. The Higgs Mass From A Positivity Condition At Finite Temperature Mod. Phys. Lett. A14, 2629 (1999) (with A. Al-Naghmoush & S.S. Al-Thoyaib).

61. On Proper Time In General Relativity


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