As with many known figures, a number of erroneous stories have emerged concerning the life and work of Dr. Abdullah. This is unfortunate since neither the man himself nor his achievements as a scientist, an educator and a patriot require any embellishment. This section seeks to dispel some of these misconceptions. Other basic facts concerning his life and work can be found in the Life Timeline as well as a number of articles included in this site.
- There is some confusion regarding the true birth date of Dr. Abdullah with some claiming it is 1911 and others 1912. His official Ottoman birth certificate, as well as other official documents, list his birth date as 1911 without specifying the day or month. But according to his own estimates based on his family’s recollections, Dr. Abdullah believed that his birth date was the 14th of November 1913.
- There is a widespread misconception concerning Dr. Abdullah’s doctoral supervisor with some believing that he was a student of Albert Einstein. This is incorrect as his supervisor was the noted MIT professor of Meteorology, Bernard Horwitz. Einstein, as is well known, was a specialist in Theoretical Physics, while Dr. Abdullah studied Meteorology. Einstein was a professor at Princeton University, while Dr. Abdullah studied at MIT. The two never met.
- There is a story related to the one above that Einstein gave Dr. Abdullah a pen as a gift which was then stolen from him after he was arrested by the Ba‘thists in 1963. There is no truth to this story.
- There is a false claim that US President Truman gave Dr. Abdullah a medal in recognition of his scientific achievements. Dr. Abdullah received numerous accolades but none from a US president.
- There are various erroneous accounts of how Dr. Abdullah was arrested after the Ba’thist coup of 1963. The truth is that an army convoy came to his residence in the morning of February 9th. No one entered the house as they waited in the street at the outside gate while he changed. He was allowed to get ready and walk out to them himself without anyone setting a hand on him. This, of course, is not to absolve that regime from his subsequent maltreatment while he was in prison.