Martyrs of Science
Professor Masoud Alimohammadi (Persian: مسعود علیمحمدی) (c. 1959 – 12 January 2010) was an Iranian quantum field theorist and elementary-particle physicist and a distinguished professor of elementary particle physics at Department of Physics of University of Tehran. He was assassinated on the morning of 12 January 2010 (some minutes before 8 o'clock, local time) in front of his home in Tehran, while leaving for university. His burial is arranged at Emamzādeh Ali-Akbar Chizar in Tehran for Thursday 14 January 2010.
Professor Alimohamadi was the first PhD graduate student in physics of the Sharif University of Technology. He published some 53 research articles in peer-reviewed academic journals and wrote and translated several physics textbooks, including Modern Quantum Mechanics, revised edition, by J. J. Sakurai, which he translated from English into Persian in collaboration with Hamidreza Moshfegh.
He was a quantum field theorist with interests in such diverse fields as Condensed matter physics (Quantum Hall effect in curved geometries), cosmology (modified gravity, dark energy, etc.) and string theory. Although field-theoretical methods have wide-ranging applications in many branches of theoretical physics (and applied mathematics), quantum field theory is a subject matter quite distinct from nuclear physics, nuclear engineering in general, and nuclear weapons and nuclear power in particular. Consequently, the reports in some media that Professor Alimohammadi was a nuclear physicist are unequivocally incorrect. Iran's Atomic Energy Agency has in an official statement rejected the governmental media reports that Professor Alimohammadi was associated with Iran's nuclear program.
Initial reports of who has been behind the bombing were disputed. Iranian state media accused Israel and the US of responsibility, while the US State Department called the allegation "absurd". Ynetnews noted, that for the major Israeli news outlet, there is no known connection between his participation in the SESAME, an international synchrotron-radiation facility located in Jordan, and the assassination. According to US intelligence sources Israel is running a secret war against Iran, among techniques used are the killing of important persons in the Iranian atomic energy program.
Professor Majid Shahriari (ca. 1970 - November 29, 2010), was a quantum physicist who worked with the Iranian Atomic Energy Commission. He specialised in neutron transport, a phenomenon that lies at the heart of nuclear chain reactions in bombs and reactors. According to The Guardian he "had no known links to banned nuclear work". According to Al Jazeera he was a quantum physicist and was not a political figure at all" and he "was not involved in Iran's nuclear programme".
Some media reports said he taught at the Supreme National Defense University, which is run by the Iranian Army. Shahriari published dozens of esoteric conference reports and peer-reviewed articles on nuclear research.
On November 29, 2010, unidentified assailants riding motorcycles launched separate bomb attacks, killing Shahriari and injuring nuclear scientist Fereydoon Abbasi, a professor at Shahid Beheshti University where Shahriari also taught. Dr. Abbasi's wife was also hurt. The killers had attached bombs to the professors' cars and detonated them from a distance.
Iranian officials have variously blamed Israel and the United States for assassinating Shahriari. Saeed Jalili, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, was quoted as saying Western nations "exercise terrorism to liquidate Iran's nuclear scientists."