To Ye Who Stumble onto this Website
This website presents my life and work, starting from a remote village in Bangladesh to being an Emeritus Professor at a UK University. This has been a long journey, and I believe I am a better human being now at the end of this journey than I was at its start. On these pages I have tried to depict this journey through the successes, failures and disappointments of life that I experienced – an experience that made me what I am today, a contented person, who with humility likes to do good to others and likes to see good in others. It is written hopefully in a non-boring way; for I know if it is boring, even my grandchildren would not touch it. Finally, this website covers my life, before, during and after my research career, my passion for Muslim reform, and my belief and philosophy in a world of humanity. As to the question why you should read my life experience, I cannot really answer, except to say that some people whom I did not know before had happened to have read the content of this website, and unexpectedly, and to my utter surprise, told me that they found it “fascinating”. Honestly I cannot think of anything fascinating for others in my life, except to say that we humans are all inter-connected, and sometimes one person’s experience touches another, for reasons that we cannot explain or understand. So, I do hope you will find, at least some of what is in this website, interesting for you.
A Short Biographical Sketch
I was born in Bangladesh in 1938, and got my PhD in 1965 from Imperial College (London) in Particle Physics. I changed my research topic some years later from Particle Physics (PP) to Computer Science (CS), in which I subsequently acquired an international reputation as a database researcher (see my biography in the next section). I retired 2005, when I became Emeritus Professor of Computer Science at Keele University. The retirement party was attended by many friends and colleagues from home and abroad, including some from Japan and the USA.
My best work in Particle Physics was my last paper (1970), which is still being referenced; the last recorded request for this paper was made to me in November, 2013 – forty-three years after it was written.
Having written the first text book in the UK (second in the world) on (computer) databases, I tried and succeeded in some measure in creating a database research community in the UK, for which I was sometimes, referred to as the father of British database research, which I am sure I did not deserve. In 1984, I was appointed by the World Bank an advisor to the Chinese Universities on higher education and research. For more details on these and other activities, see below.
I have also created two charities, one for Keele
University CS PhD students and the other for my village
school in Bangladesh. My post-retirement activities, including my work on
Muslim Reform that led to the book Science Under Islam, are
presented in the section The Life After Research.
Finally the Dream
My book Principles and Practice of Database Systems
(Macmillans, 1985) ends (on page 373) thus:
It is possible to imagine a future world where every single database of any type everywhere on earth is interlinked, such that anyone from anywhere (with appropriate authorisation) is able to share easily the vast storehouse of information and knowledge that is available. This is a dream which will probably never be realised, but can be aspired to.
This dream which seemed unrealisable to me thirty years ago has been realised, though not wholly but in a significant way, due to the advances in information technology, particularly of course in Internet. Given that the future is digital and the past is being digitised fast, including not only all library contents, but also all books, manuscripts, magazines, journals and papers, there is no doubt that the dream will largely become true in the next thirty years, although I shall not be there to see it.