Riazuddin was a Pakistani theoretical physicist, his name looks a little bit different to me from others because he doesn't have a last name. There are some others Pakistani theoretical physicists that have a last name, like Abdus Salam. Why is it that Riazuddin doesn't have one?

It seems that his original name was رياض الدين. Why does the Occident translates this as just one name when there is clearly a space between the two words?

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    $\begingroup$ It wasn't the Occident. He was signing most of his papers as just Riazuddin since 1959, so did his collaborator Fayyazuddin. Some Western figures used to sign by first name only, Leonardo, Galileo, and we follow that too. "Uddin" is a suffix written separately, not a separate name, derived from Arabic ad-din, "of the faith". Aladdin, Alāʼ ud-Dīn, of the magic lamp is formed the same way. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Sep 19, 2020 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


I believe you are referring to the Nobel laureate's Abdus Salam's PhD student who himself became a particle physicist like his advisor. Riazuddin, physicist. A quick search of Google Scholar shows his early papers in particle physics as M. Riazuddin, which is mostly likely an abbreviated version of Mohammad Riazuddin. It is very common in South Asia to skip the first name and call by the middle name if the first name starts with Mohammad (out of respect).

You are right, in Urdu, Riaz is an independent name which is plural of "garden" , but "Uddin" cannot exist independently.

So to parse his name M. Riazuddin, it could be Mohammad Riaz Uddin but his joint spelling Riazuddin is also common.

On the other hand, it seems that associating "M." with Riazuddin is a mistake of CERN / Google Scholar.

Edit: If we check Cambridge University library for his PhD thesis, his only name appears as Riazuddin as the author. In CERN scanned papers, the databases list him as M. Riazuddin but actually only Riazuddin appears in the actual pdf of the paper. See for example: https://cds.cern.ch/record/143116

My (pure) speculation is that both last names of the twin brothers rhyme, so if they ever had first names, they just dropped them for convenience. It is very likely that he never had or used M. before his name. He just had a single name which just means "gardens of faith".

  • $\begingroup$ and what about his brother: Fayyazuddin? what was his name?, in google scholar appears as: A Fayyazuddin, Was it Ansar? $\endgroup$
    – Nau
    Sep 19, 2020 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure! Ansar Fayyazuddin is alive and serves as associate editor of Physics Review D, journals.aps.org/prd/staff. Not sure if he is his brother. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Sep 19, 2020 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ then he is not, I am refering to this one: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fayyazuddin $\endgroup$
    – Nau
    Sep 19, 2020 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ @DieDauphin Google scholar seems to make the mistaken assumption that everyone has at least two names (see academia.stackexchange.com/questions/112178/… ) so their algorithms seems to assign random initials or to wrongly take the names of other authors as the first name, so I wouldn't trust the results you get there. $\endgroup$
    – mlk
    Sep 20, 2020 at 5:13
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    $\begingroup$ Sometimes we see "M." placed before a name (by French speakers), where it abbreviates "Monsieur", just as placing "Mr." before the name (by English speakers) abbreviates "Mister". $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2020 at 17:02

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