Ahmed, Mafizuddin

Ahmed, Mafizuddin (1921-1997) an educationist and scientist. Born in a respectable family of Tangail, Mafizuddin Ahmed obtained the BSc (Honours) and MSc degrees in Chemistry from the University of Dhaka in 1942 and 1944 respectively and did his PhD from Pennsylvania State University in 1948.

Mafizuddin Ahmed joined the Department of Chemistry of Dhaka University in 1948 as a Senior Lecturer and was subsequently promoted to the post of Professor. Apart from teaching and conducting research in the field of Organic Chemistry, he took active interest in the overall administration and development of the University in different capacities as the Provost of Iqbal Hall (now Zahurul Haque Hall) from 1954 to 1961, as the first Adviser of the Students' Affairs from 1961 to 1963 (the Teachers-Students Centre was built through his personal initiative) and as the Provost of the Salimullah Muslim Hall from 1963 to 1969. As a member of the Senate and the Syndicate of the University of Dhaka, Professor Ahmed made notable contributions in its academic and administrative affairs. He was also a member of both the Senate and the Syndicate of the bangladesh university of engineering and technology (BUET), Dhaka for a long time and took part in its activities till his death.

Professor Ahmed played a pioneering role in promoting the writing of science textbooks in the mother tongue. He also played a leading role in improving the quality of science teaching in colleges. He published a number of research articles in national and international journals. He served as a member of the Pakistan Central Public Service Commission in 1969, as the first vice-chancellor of jahangirnagar university (24 September 1970 - 01 February 1972), and as the first Chairman of the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dhaka (1973-1979). Dr Ahmed headed the National Education Commission (popularly called Mafiz Commission after him) which was constituted in 1987.

Professor Ahmed was associated with various learned societies at home and abroad and held different positions in them at different times. He was the Associate General Secretary of the Pakistan Association of the Advancement of Science (1963-1969); Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences; Fellow of the Indian Chemical Society; Fellow of the American Chemical Society; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; President of the Bangladesh Association for the Advancement of Science (1979-80); President of the Bangladesh Association for Scientists and Scientific Profession (1981); Secretary (1982), Treasurer (1984) and Vice-President (1986) of the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences. Under his leadership, the Bangladesh Chemical Society was established in 1972 and he was its founder President.

On his retirement from teaching in 1983, Mafizuddin Ahmed was appointed Professor Emeritus in 1984. In recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of education and scientific research, Professor Ahmed was awarded the 'Tamgha-i-Pakistan' in 1966, Independence Day Award in 1986, and the Bangladesh Chemical Society Gold Medal in 1988. He died in Dhaka on 26 September 1997. [Muhammad Abdus Salam]