By Zainab Arain
From a young age, science held an allure for Muhammad Arfin Khan Lodhi. Born in the urban city of Agra, India, Lodhi chose to pursue his interest in mathematics and physics, first at St. John’s School in Agra, and later at the Imperial College in London. Dr. Muhammad Abdus Salam, the renowned Nobel Prize-winning physicist, was among those who encouraged him to travel to London to develop his interests and research.
After receiving his Diploma of the Imperial College, a certificate awarded to postgraduate students, Lodhi complete his Ph.D in Nuclear Physics from the University of London. His work focused on theoretical nuclear physics and nuclear structures with special reference to a particular lithium isotope – 6Li.
Immediately afterward, in 1963, Lodhi decided to come to the United States to begin his academic career at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. His decision to do so was molded more by the natural flow of events than a deliberately conscious decision. He started to teach courses in mathematics, astronomy, and physics to both undergraduate and graduate students. Simultaneously, he delved deeper into research on particle physics, new and renewable energy sources, and advanced space power generation. He collaborated with local and international physicists and, in addition to publishing four books, produced more than 250 papers in journals, conference proceedings and encyclopedia.
His exemplary work and research earned him numerous scholarships, fellowships and awards, including the Al-Khwarizmi award, a Fulbright Fellowship, a NASA Faculty Fellowship, a US Air Force Faculty Fellowship, a Tate and Hall Scholarship, and a Humboldt Fellowship.
After nearly half a century at Texas Tech, Lodhi announced his retirement earlier this year and, in his words, graduated to research professor. He will continue his research in nuclear and particle physics but will no longer teach at the university. He has left a $100,000 endowment for Texas Tech’s nuclear theory program.
Lodhi believes that his faith has played both an ideological and practical role in his accomplishments. He attempted his best in each of his undertakings in order to do justice to his work. Time management allowed him to handle the numerous demands made on him in various capacities as a teacher, researcher, writer and consul.
It is his commitment to faith that drew him, and his like-minded peers, to establish the Islamic Circle of North America in the early 1970s. Lodhi has been a part of the organization from its inception to its current status as a leading grassroots American Muslim organization. He hopes to see ICNA continue to grow successfully in all areas of focus – self-development, education, outreach and social service.
Although retiring from his academic career, Lodhi will continue his involvement with ICNA in whatever capacity he is able: “I am always at the call of ICNA leadership.”
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.