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  • Jenna Qaddoumi and Reem Mohamed

Physics Permeates Our Everyday Lives

Guest speaker, Dr. Muhammad Shah Jahan, spoke at PVS on January 10 to have a discussion about physics and encourage more people to take the Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment Physics classes. The presentation was casual, a discussion on a complex field between young students and an experienced master.

Dr. Muhammad Shah Jahan, a world renowned physicist and accomplished researcher, took his study of physics a few more steps than the average person would. Dr. Jahan initially received his Master of Science degree in 1964, at Rajshahi University, Bangladesh. With this Master’s degree, he took it a step further and received his Ph.D. in 1977 at the University of Alabama. In 1980, after achieving his Ph.D., he worked as an assistant professor at the University of Memphis, then known as Memphis State University. He recently celebrated his 38 years of working there.

Surprisingly, physics wasn’t always Dr. Jahan’s path. He began his higher education by pursuing the chemistry program at his university. However, he felt it wasn’t a perfect fit for him. He then switched to the physics program, where he felt much more comfortable. Dr. Jahan’s passion for physics stems from more than an interest in the subject. He loves it because of how integral it is to other subjects and how innate it is to our world. He said many animals inherently know physics — knowledge given to them by Allah. He used a simple example to express his point. Dr. Jahan says, “The squirrel crossing the road uses physics, and the monkey jumping from tree to tree, and even the falcon diving in a hunt. Physics is also important to other subjects like chemistry and the sciences. People use physics for so many things; it’s necessary for so much of our daily lives.”

Dr. Jahan has been a valuable asset to the University of Memphis. He created a niche field unique to the university, rooted in his interest in radiation physics, material sciences, and medical physics. He was integral to the development in physics research at the University of Memphis, a catalyst to the department that exists today. Dr. Jahan even proposed the change of name of the physics department to that of “Physics and Material Sciences”.

Dr. Jahan’s discussion was incredibly enlightening, not only educational but also inspiring. He effectively made physics fun, tying it to other subjects and revealing its fundamental importance. An invaluable resource to both the University of Memphis, Pleasant View School was honored to have Dr. Jahan visit.


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