Indian Scientists - Homi Bhabha
Homi Bhabha, Homi Bhabha Photos, Homi Bhabha Images, Homi Bhabha Wallpapers, Homi Bhabha Pictures, Homi Bhabha Graphics. Homi Bhabha, Homi Bhabha Photos, Homi Bhabha Graphics, Homi Bhabha Wallpapers, Homi Bhabha Pictures, Homi Bhabha Images.
Indian Scientists> Homi Bhabha
Homi Bhabha
Indian Scientists

The father of Indian atomic energy and a great scientist, Dr Homi Bhabha was born on October 30, 1909 in Mumbai (Bombay). His full name was Homi Jehangirji Bhabha. His grandfather Horamsji Bhabha was the inspector general in the Education department of Mysore State. Homi Bhabha’s father Jehangir H Bhabha was an Oxford graduate and a leading barrister. He practised law in Mumbai and was the legal adviser to the Tata group. Besides, he represented the Tata family as the council member of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Homi’s mother Mehraben was the daughter of Mumbai’s leading industrialist and citizen, Sir Dinshaw Petit. She was a beautiful, smart and cultured lady.

Homi, in his childhood, hardly slept. It was but natural, a cause for concern for his parents. They decided to get him checked by some specialist doctor. Since they did not come across any specialist doctor here in India, they took him to London. The doctors checked the child and declared him perfectly fit. The reason for his lack of sleep was his hyperactive mind. He will grow up to be a very intelligent man, they said. The parents were happy and returned home.

At that time rich, educated Parsi families followed the English lifestyle. Homi’s family too had that high status. They admitted Homi to Mumbai's Cathedral School. All the teachers of this school were British and many students were from English families. The whole atmosphere resembled a ‘mini England’. He excelled In his studies and won several scholarships and awards at school. Besides studies, he was interested In poetry, music and painting. Since childhood he used to make good copies of original paintings. He made beautiful landscape paintings and self-portraits. At a painting exhibition he even won a prize. Many of his paintings are still displayed at London’s art gallery. Science and mathematics were his favourite subjects. He made good use of his school library. He also had a good library at home. In class he was always ahead of the other students.

At the age of 16, he cleared the senior Cambridge examination and got admission in Mumbai’s Elphinstone College. His father and other family members wished that Homi should obtain an engineering degree from England and join the Tata Steel Company at Jamshedpur. He joined the engineering study in England, but his interest lay in mathematics and physics. He wrote a letter to his father and asked permission to pursue further studies in physics. The wise father put him a bet. If he came first in the engineering examination he could stay in England for two more years to study his favourite subject.

The obedient son took up his father’s challenge. He concentrated on his engineering education and stood first at the examination. He first graduated as an engineer. His father was pleased and as promised he arranged for his son to continue with the study of his favourite subject for two years.

Homi was encouraged further. He took up theoretical physics for his study. Now he spent a lot of time at the Cavendish Laboratory. He also excelled in his study. In 1932, he received the Rouse Ball scholarship for the study of mathematics. In 1933, he was selected for the Isaac Newton scholarship. At that time an informal group, Kapitza club used to run in England. The members of this club used to meet every Tuesday evening for a discussion on matters related to physics. Besides, these members were interested in drama and athletics. Bhabha got the opportunity to Join this club. During his stay here, he was deeply involved in the study of cosmic rays and fundamental particles. His first research paper was published in 1933. While studying there, he also visited various important educational institutes in Europe. In Copenhagen, he met scientist Niels Bohr, in Zurich Prof Wolfgang Pauli and in Rome Enrico Fermi. At Cambridge, he developed a strong relationship with Sir John Douglas Cockcroft and Gilbert Newton Lewis. These relations came in handy in fulfilling his dreams after he returned to India.

The 30’s decade (1930-39) was an important period in the field of physics. Many new discoveries were announced during this period. The spotlight of scientists was focused on atomic energy. How could atomic energy be produced? Where and how could it be used? At this time Bhabha had shed light on the nature of cosmic rays. He had gained insight into the meson sub-particles in the cosmic rays. He had put forth important information regarding the principles of ‘Cascade Theory’. Homi Bhabha’s knowledge too flowered during this period.

In 1934, he took PhD degree from Cambridge University. Thereafter till 1939, he was at Cambridge. During this time he had the opportunity to conduct research and exchange ideas with many world-famous scientists. Dr Homi Bhabha came to be recognized as a brilliant scientist among world scientists. In 1937, he received another scholarship. The same year he received the ‘Adam Pright’ prize for his research publication.

In 1939, he returned to India to spend his holidays. During this period, World War II broke out in Europe. Many of his colleagues at Cavendish Laboratory were assigned war duty. He now found India to be the most suitable place for research in science. Meanwhile. Professor Sir C V Raman Invited Bhabha to Join the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore as faculty member, which he accepted. He Joined as Reader In physics.

Dr Homl Bhabha brought here new physics from Europe. His Joining added to Raman’s enthusiasm. Here, he got the opportunity to conduct experiments In cosmic rays. Vlkram Sarabhai too, had Joined here at that time for his research on cosmic rays. It was a combination I of two great scientists. Within two years, at the recommendation of C V Raman, Dr Horn! Bhabha was conferred the fellowship of the Royal Society. This was a big honour for him. Meanwhile, Allahabad University and Kolkata (Calcutta) association invited him for professorship. But he accepted the professorship at Bangalore and chose to stay there.

Bhabha explained the importance of fundamental research In pure and applied physics to the Tata Trust and in 1945, set up the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai. Bhabha handled the entire responsibility of the institute. After India attained independence, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru called a meeting of the top scientists in the country. He set up Indian Atomic Energy Commission and Bhabha was made its chairman. Besides, the central government started a department dealing in atomic energy. As secretary, Dr Bhabha was entrusted the responsibility. Thus, he became a bridge between science, scientists and the government. He emerged as an intellectual researcher and able administrator.

In 1954, an Atomic Research Centre’ was set up at Trombay, near Mumbai. Today this centre is known the world over as the ’Bhabha Atomic Research Centre’ (BARC). At this centre research is carried out in molecular I biology, radio astronomy, electronics and other fields.

Tata Institute is now involved in fundamental research as the country’s premier research institute at its huge complex In Colaba. In 1963, Dr Bhabha's dream was fulfilled. India’s first atomic power station was set up at Tarapur in Maharashtra. Now, there are about eight such stations in the country. In Gujarat at Kakrapar, an atomic power station with two such units is operating.

In 1956, under Bhabha’s guidance India’s first atomic reactor ‘Apsara’ was commissioned at Trombay, near Mumbai. Thereafter, two such reactors-‘Cirus’ and ‘Zerlina’ were also made functional. In 1955, an atomic fuel thorium plant was set up. In 1959, ‘Nuclear Metal Plant’ was also commissioned, which produces around 30 tons of nuclear grade uranium every year. In 1962, a Heavy Water plant was started. Today, there are around 10 such plants in the country including the one in Vadodara (Baroda) that fulfil the country’s requirements.

In 1955, the United Nations organized the first international conference on the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Bhabha was appointed as the president. Here, he advocated the message of peace. He called for a ban on the destructive use of atomic energy and advocated its peaceful use.

In 1944, Patna University, in 1949, Lucknow University and in 1950, Banaras University conferred on him honorary doctorate degrees. Thereafter, many Indian and foreign universities conferred on him honorary degrees and glorified him. In 1951, he was elected as the head of the Indian Science Committee. In 1954, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan. In 1961, he was honoured with the Dr Meghnad Saha gold medal. In 1964, he was presented with the Malchet Award.

This father-like figure of the Indian atomic age was a polite man. He remained unmarried. When someone asked him about marriage, he said, “My love is focused on creating something new.” His leisure hours were spent in listening music or painting. He strongly believed that the destructive use of the atom should be banned and its peaceful use should be encouraged.

The science related organizations of the United Nations are situated at Geneva In Switzerland. Whenever he had to go there, the flight would invariably pass over the Alps mountain range. He was Impressed by the beauty of the Alps and never failed to describe them. On January 24, 1966, the plane carrying him and other passengers exploded in mid-air over the Alps and Bhabha was burled in the snows of the Alps. For any accomplishment the country has achieved In the field of atomic energy, the credit goes to Dr Homi Bhabha. At the age of just 57, we lost our great scientist unexpectedly.