Homi Jehangir Bhabha, the father of Indian nuclear research programme

Published: Monday, Jan 23,2012, 22:21 IST
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Homi Jehangir Bhabha, father of Indian nuclear programme, bhabha atomic research centre, BARC, barc, IBTL

Bhabha was born into a wealthy and prominent Parsi family, through which he was related to Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Dorab Tata. He received his early education at Bombay's Cathedral Grammar School and entered Elphinstone College at age 15 after passing his Senior Cambridge Examination with Honors. He then attended the Royal Institute of Science until 1927 before joining Caius College of Cambridge University. This was due to the insistence of his father and his uncle Dorab Tata, who planned for Bhabha to obtain an engineering degree from Cambridge and then return to India, where he would join the Tata Iron and Steel Company in Jamshedpur.

Return to India : In September 1939, Bhabha was in India for a brief holiday when World War II broke out, and he decided not to return to England for the time being. He accepted an offer to serve as the Reader in the Physics Department of the Indian Institute of Science, then headed by renowned physicist C. V. Raman. He received a special research grant from the Sir Dorab Tata Trust, which he used to establish the Cosmic Ray Research Unit at the institute. Bhabha selected a few students, including Harish-Chandra, to work with him. Later, on 20 March 1941, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society . With the help of J. R. D. Tata, he played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay.

Death and legacy : He died when Air India Flight 101 crashed near Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966. Many possible theories have been advanced for the aircrash, including a conspiracy theory in which CIA is involved in order to paralyze Indian nuclear weapon programme. After his death, the Atomic Energy Establishment at Trombay was renamed as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in his honour.

In addition to being an able scientist and administrator, Bhabha was also a painter and a classical music and opera enthusiast, besides being an amateur botanist. He is one of the most prominent scientists that India has ever had. Bhabha also encouraged research in electronics, space science, radio astronomy and microbiology. The famed radio telescope at Ooty, India was his initiative, and it became a reality in 1970. The Homi Bhabha Fellowship Council has been giving the Homi Bhabha Fellowships since 1967 Other noted institutions in his name are the Homi Bhabha National Institute, an Indian deemed university and the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, India.

Content source & reliability : Wikipedia

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