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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai - "Father of Indian space program."

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai is well-known space scientist of India. If it is said that he was the first one who made India’s name notable in the field of space research, will not be wrong in any manner. He was a creative scientist. He could dream and change his dreams into reality. What is more, Dr. Sarabhai taught many others how to dream and to work towards realising the dream. It is not a common quality. In other word, he was one in millions.  

Besides, he was a great economist, industrialist and educationalist also.  Throughout his life, he remained engaged in research programme. It is an example of his life-long hard work more than 15 students completed their Ph D under his supervision. Dr.Sarabhai independently and in association with his colleagues published about 80 research papers in national journals.
          He was born on August 12, 1919 in a prosperous family of Ahmedabad. His father was Mr.  Ambalal Sarabhai and mother was Mrs.  Saraladevi Sarabhai. After completing his Intermediate from Gujarat College, he went to Cambridge  in 1937 where he obtained his Tripos in Natural Sciences in 1940.

          At the outbreak of the Second World War he returned to India and joined the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore where he took- up research in cosmic- rays under the supervision of great scientist C.V. Raman. He published his first research paper entitled "Time Distribution of Cosmic Rays" in the proceedings of Indian Academy of Sciences. After the war he returned to Cambridge to work for his PhD in cosmic ray,  Physics. In 1947, he was awarded PhD by the Cambridge University for his thesis `Cosmic Ray investigation in Tropical Latitudes'. He also carried out an accurate measurement of the cross-section for the photo fission of U-238 by 6.2 MeV gamma rays.

          He helped to establish a number of institutions. Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association (ATIRA) was the first institution that Sarabhai helped to build. Some of the most well-known institutions established by Dr.Sarabhai are: Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad; Indian Institute of Management(IIM), Ahmedabad, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Faster Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR), Kalpakkam; and Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), Jaduguda, Bihar.

          After the death of Dr. Homi J Bhabha in January 1966, Dr. Sarabhai was asked to assume the responsibilities of the office of the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission. He played a pioneering role in the development of satellite TV broadcasting in India. Dr. Sarabhai was also a pioneer of the pharmaceutical industry in India. Dr. Sarabhai was a man of deep cultural interests. He was interested in music, photography, archaeology, fine arts and so on. With his wife Mrinalini, he established Darpana, an institution devoted to the performing arts. His daughter, Mallika Sarabhai, grew up to be a leading exponent of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi.

          Sarabhai was deeply concerned with the state of science education in the country. To improve the same he had established the Community Science Centre. Dr. Sarabhai died on December 30, 1971 at Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. In a befitting honour to this great Scientist, Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) and associated space establishments at Thiruvananthapuram were renamed as the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. 

Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha - The father of Indian Nuclear Program

Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha - The father of Indian Nuclear Program
(October 30, 1909 - January 24, 1966)

1. Founded Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
2. He was the first chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission
3. He was chairman of the first United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva in 1955.
Homi Bhabha, whose full name was Homi Jehnagir Bhabha, was a famous Indian Nuclear Physicist. In Independent India, Homi Jehnagir Bhabha, with the support of Jawaharlal Nehru, laid the foundation of a scientific establishment and was responsible for the creation of two premier institutions, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). Homi Bhabha was the first chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission.
Homi Jehangir Bhabha was born on October 30, 1909, in Bombay in a rich Parsi family. After graduating from Elphinstone College and the Royal Institute of Science in Bombay, he went to Cambridge University. He received his doctorate in 1934. During this period he worked with Niels Bohr on the studies that led to quantum theory. Homi Jehnagir Bhabha also worked with Walter Heitler on the cascade theory of electron showers, which was of great importance for the understanding of cosmic radiation. He did significant work in identifying the meson.
Due to outbreak of Second World War, Homi Jehangir Bhabha, returned to India in 1939. He set up the Cosmic Ray Research Unit at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore under C. V. Raman in 1939. With the help of J.R.D. Tata, he established the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research at Mumbai. In 1945, he became director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
Apart from being a great scientist, Homi Bhabha, was also a skilled administrator. After independence he received the blessings of Jawaharlal Nehru for peaceful development of atomic energy. He established the Atomic Energy Commission of India in 1948. Under his guidance Indian scientists worked on the development of atomic energy, and the first atomic reactor in Asia went into operation at Trombay, near Bombay, in 1956.
He was chairman of the first United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva in 1955. He advocated international control of nuclear energy and the outlawing of atomic bombs by all countries. He wanted nuclear energy to be used for alleviating poverty and misery of people.
He received many honorary degrees from Indian and foreign universities and was a member of numerous scientific societies, including the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. He also authored many articles on quantum theory and cosmic rays. He died in an aeroplane crash in Switzerland on January 24, 1966.

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