Born on 5 January 1947 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is married with two children. He lives now in the United States of America.
He earned a BSc with Honors in Physics (1968), and an MSc in Theoretical Nuclear Physics from Dhaka University (1970), his PhD in Experimental Particle Physics from the University of Indiana, USA (1975).
He worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Indiana (1971-1974), senior research assistant at Vanderbilt University, USA (1974-1975), research associate at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), USA (1975-1979), senior research associate (1979-1981) and then assistant professor (1981-1984) at Vanderbilt University. At Albany, he served as chair of the physics department (2003-2006) and director of the Albany High Energy Physics Lab. Still currently associated with Albany, since 2010 Alam has also held the chair professor of physics at the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals.
During his career, Prof. Alam has been involved with the SLAC-E82 (1971–75) and MARK II (1976–79) experiments at SLAC, and been part of the CLEO collaboration at Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR) at Cornell University, USA. Since 1995, he has also been part of the ATLAS collaboration at the Center European Research Nucleare (CERN), Geneva Switzerland (ATLAS is a collaboration of 1700 physicists from 35 countries studying proton-proton collisions at center-of-mass energies of 14 trillion electron volts).
As part of the Mark II (1975-79), CLEO (1979-2001), GEM (1992-94), and ATLAS (1995-2001) collaborations, he has contributed to over 450 research papers in journals such as Physical Review, Physical Review Letters, Physics Letters and Nuclear Instruments and Methods. Of these, his PhD experiment produced 4 papers (1972-1976). The CLEO collaboration itself has produced approx. 350 publications; his direct contribution was about 35 papers during the same period. He and his fellow researchers have been responsible for a number of new discoveries in the field of high-energy nuclear particle collisions and decay. After his primary research interest (experimental particle physics), secondary interests include all aspects of computer science and engineering, semiconductor-based particle detectors, and exploring new technologies for teaching. He has supervised a number of top PhD students including from Muslim countries.
He has received the following prizes and awards: the P.N. Wang Doctoral Dissertation Award (1992) and the M.M. Zoeller Doctoral Dissertation Award (1993) both from Albany State University, Discovery of New Particles (1989), Excellence in Research Award (1993), the Abdus Salaam Award for Achievement in Science from the League of America (a New York community-based organization of Pakistani Americans) (2000) and the Basit Athar Doctoral Dissertation Award (2001), also from Albany State University.
Prof. Alam was elected as a Fellow of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) in 2002.