Today is the day when the guy who changed the face of Indian Nuclear programme was born. HomeJahangir Bhabha who is also known as the Father of Indian Nuclear Programme was an Indian nuclear physicist, who was also the founding director, and professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and also the founding director of the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET), now known as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
So, on the occasion of this day, here are some of the most interesting piece of facts about the father of India’s Nuclear Program, Homi J. Bhabha
1. Homi Jehangir Bhabha was born on 30 October 1909 Jehangir Hormusji Bhabha (Father) & Meheren (Mother). His family was a rich one with an industrial business background. He completed his schooling from Bombay’s Cathedral and John Connon School and got admission into Elphinstone College at age of 15. He passed his Senior Cambridge Examination with Honours.
2. His father & his Uncle wanted him to obtain a degree in mechanical engineering from Cambridge and then return to India to become a metallurgist at Tata Steel or Tata Steel Mills in Jamshedpur. This is why they made Homi attend the Royal Institute of Science in 1927 before joining Caius College of Cambridge University.
3. Bhabha further went on to complete his mathematical studies under Paul Dirac to complete the Mathematics Tripos from Cambridge University in 1932. Not only he completed his graduation with first class but was also awarded Rouse Ball travelling studentship in mathematics & Salomons Studentship in Engineering during the session.
4. During the 1930s, nuclear physics and research was an emerging topic & was attracting the greatest minds. Homi was one of them. He received his doctorate in Nuclear Physics in January 1933 after publishing his first scientific paper, “The Absorption of Cosmic radiation”.
5. In September 1939, Bhabha returned to India for a brief holiday. Soon the World War II started, and then 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, when the institute was headed by renowned physicist C. V. Raman.
6. He has been awarded with the Adams Prize in 1942 and a Padma Bhushan award in 1954. Adams Prize is awarded by the University of Cambridge to a mathematician for distinguished research in the Mathematical Sciences. It is one of the most prestigious prizes. Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian awards of the Republic of India. Homi was also nominated for the Nobel Prize for Physics in the year 1951 and 1953–1956.
7. Apart from being interested in Nuclear Physics and related sciences, he was heavily into the arts and culture. He was a painter and a lover of classical music and opera.
8. In 1955, the UN formed held a conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy. Bhabha was the first person to hold the chair of the committee as a chairperson.
9. Apart from being a great scientist, Bhabha was a visionary. He never wanted nuclear power to be used as weapon. Rather, he wanted atomic energy to be used to alleviate poverty and advocated the outlawing of nuclear weapons worldwide.
10. He worked with German Physicist Walter Heitler to develop the Cascade Theory to better understand cosmic radiation point particles. He also worked with Niels Bohr and played a major role in the development of The Quantum Theory. Further, he is been credited for identifying and naming a significant mystery of that time, the Meson Particle. He is also known for Habha Scattering and Theoretical Prediction of Muon.
11. Bhabha used to live in a sprawling colonial bungalow in Malabar Hills named Mehrangir, which was probably named after his mother. Homi never got married and was so much into work and his passion that he dedicated all his life towards science as a bachelor.
12. Homi Bhabha died in the Air India Flight 101 which crashed on January 24, 1966. The accident happened because of a miscommunication between the Geneva Airport and the flight’s pilot about the aircraft’s position near the Mont Blanc Mountain. Since Bhabha played a vital role in the nuclear Programme of India, several conspiracy theories surfaced after his death about Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the USA being involved in the plane crash to paralyze India’s nuclear program.