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Homi Jehangir Bhabha was a prominent Indian nuclear physicist, founding director, and professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). He was popularly known as “father of the Indian nuclear programme”. Bhabha was also the founding director of the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) which is now named the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in his honor.
In this blog we will discuss the discovery, contributions, awards received, famous quotes and other important facts of the great physicist Homi J Bhabha. This article is going to be very informative for aspirants who are preparing for various competitive exams.
About Homi J Bhabha
|Homi J Bhabha|
|Full Name||Homi Jehangir Bhabha|
|Born||30 October 1909
|Died||24 January 1966
|Birth Place||Bombay, British India|
|Cause of death||Air India Flight Crash|
|School / University||University of Cambridge (BS, PhD)|
|Awards||Adams Prize (1942)
Padma Bhushan (1954)
Fellow of the Royal Society
|Contributions||Indian nuclear programme
Cascade process of Cosmic radiations
Theoretical prediction of Muon
|Institutions Headed||Atomic Energy Commission of India, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Trombay Atomic Energy Establishment|
He was the first Chairman of The Atomic Energy Commission of India. He made important contributions to quantum theory and cosmic radiation. He studied nuclear physics at Cambridge, where he published groundbreaking papers on cosmic rays and electron-positron scattering, a phenomenon now called Bhabha scattering.
In 1933, Bhabha received his doctorate in nuclear physics. Next year he also completed his doctoral studies in theoretical physics under Ralph H. Fowler.
In 1935, he published a paper to determine the cross section of electron-positron scattering; which was later named Bhabha scattering, in his honor.
Bhabha’s research also led to the straightforward experimental verification of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Bhabha continued his work at Cambridge until the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
Homi J Bhabha died in a plane crash near Mont Blanc in the Swiss Alps while on his way to Vienna for a meeting on 24 January 1966. He was 56 years old.
Homi J Bhabha History and Inventions
Homi J Bhabha was born in 1909 into a wealthy and intellectual family who lived in the western part of India. His father Jehangir Hormusji Bhabha, was a renowned lawyer. He had his schooling at Bombay’s Cathedral and John Connon School. Later he took admission in Elphinstone College.
After graduating from the Royal Institute of Science, he moved to England and enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge University. He originally planned to study engineering as his family wished and return to India to work in his family’s steel mills.
However, once Bhabha was at Cambridge, he decided to pursue a degree in nuclear physics instead. While in graduate school, he also spent a lot of time working with the legendary scientist Niels Bohr. He graduated with a Ph.D. in 1933, just after publishing a groundbreaking paper on ”The Absorption of Cosmic Rays,” which explained how cosmic rays produced showers of electrons and described some of the absorption features of cosmic rays. His work was considered so outstanding that he was awarded the Isaac Newton Studentship in 1934, which he held for three years.
In 1935, he would also make another important scientific discovery. Working with Niels Bohr, he was able to determine the properties of electron-positron scattering. This was later renamed Bhabha scattering in his honor.
He continued working at Cambridge for several years, but in 1939, he decided to return to India to visit his family for a few weeks. While he was in India, World War II broke out in Europe. Afraid that he would not be able to return to England, Bhabha decided to remain in India for the duration of the war. He took a job as a professor of physics at the Indian Institute of Science and founded a new research unit dedicated to the study of cosmic rays.
The consumption of energy in the world is on the increase. Naturally available resources of energy like coal and oil are on the decrease.
Added to this, there is a shortage of hydel energy in certain places. Realizing this, Bhabha declared that atomic energy is the only foundation for the progress of industries in India. He suggested that producing electricity could affect the economy by nuclear methods.
Electronic instrumentation is required in all spheres of atomic energy work. Bhabha prepared blueprints for various projects relating to electronic instruments. Nuclear instruments worth a few million are fabricated at Trombay every year. At present Trombay turns out over 2,000 electronic instruments annually. They include radiation survey meters, amplifiers, and spectrometers.
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Bhabha’s Work in India
After his return to India, Bhabha realized that there were no research institutes in the whole country that were equipped to study cutting-edge topics in physics. He wanted to change that, so in 1945, he founded the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. In 1948, he became the head of the new Indian Atomic Energy Commission. He was very much opposed to India devoting its resources to making an atomic bomb. Instead, he wanted to see his country use its natural resources to provide affordable energy to the public.
On May 18, 1974, India conducted its first nuclear explosion for peaceful purposes, at Pokhran in Rajasthan and joined the galaxy of nations with atomic energy. It thus became the world’s sixth nuclear power. The other five countries with nuclear know-how are America, Russia, Britain, France, and China. India’s explosion of a nuclear device is a great milestone in the path of technological progress. This achievement was based entirely on Indian effort. The success of this achievement is due mainly to Bhabha who put India on the world map of nuclear science.
Birth of Nuclear Power in India
In the 1940s, when the sun went down over India, most of the country was dark. Power plants were few and far between, and most people living in India did not have access to electricity. However, things were about to change. A visionary scientist named Homi Jehangir Bhabha thought that providing India with nuclear power was one way to help relieve some of the suffering of Indian citizens, many of whom lived in extreme poverty.
He set out to make his dream a reality, and within three decades, it had been accomplished. In 1969, the first nuclear power plant in India, known as the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, began providing power to the area around Mumbai, and it’s still operating today. This would never have been possible without the man known as the ”Father of the Indian Nuclear Program,” Homi J Bhabha.
Contributions of Homi j Bhabha
- He made important contributions to quantum theory and cosmic radiation.
- He secured a doctorate in nuclear physics in 1993 under the doctoral thesis paper ‘The Absorption of Cosmic Radiation’. This paper give chances to win the Newton Studentship which he held for three years.
- He also completed his thesis under Ralph Fowler. Apart from working at Cambridge, he also spent time working in Copenhagen with Nobel laureate Niels Bohr.
- A paper he published in 1935 on electron-positron scattering was appreciated much by the scientific community and this phenomenon was later renamed Bhabha scattering.
- In 1939 he returned back to India and he became the Reader in the Physics Department at the Indian Institute of Science, which was then headed by great scientist and Nobel laureate C V Raman.
- He established the Cosmic Ray Research Unit at the IISC. He also contributed a significant role in the establishment of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.
- Homi J Bhabha convinced the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to start a nuclear programme.
- In 1944 he started research on Nuclear weapons. Then he put an effort to establish the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 1945 and also the Atomic Energy Commission in 1948. He was the first chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India and He was a competitive promoter of nuclear weapons for the country’s defence.
- Homi J Bhabha was involved in to contrive the blueprint behind the country’s nuclear programme. He pioneered the use of thorium to extract uranium from it rather than relying on the meagre reserves of uranium in India. He formulated India’s three-stage nuclear power programme.
- Homi J Bhabha represented India in IAEA and was also the President of the United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva in 1955.
- Various institutes have been named after this eminent physicist such as the Homi Bhabha National Institute, the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). BARC (formerly known as the Atomic Energy Establishment) is India’s leading nuclear research facility located in Bombay.
Homi J Bhabha- Awards
Bhabha was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1941. In 1943 he was awarded the Adams Prize by the Cambridge University for his work on cosmic rays, and in 1948 the Hopkins prize of the Cambridge Philosophical Society.
In 1963 he was elected Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and Honorary Life Member of the New York Academy of Sciences. In 1964 he was made Foreign Corresponding Academician of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Madrid.
From 1960 until 1963 he was President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. He was president of the historic International Conference of the Peaceful uses of atomic energy held, under U.N. auspices, at Geneva in August, 1955.
Bhabha was President of the National Institute of Sciences of India in 1963 and President of the Indian Science Congress Association in 1951. He was awarded the title of Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1954.
Fellow of the Royal Society
Fellow of the Royal Society is one of the awards granted by judges of the Royal Society London. Homi J Bhabha was honored with the fellowship of Royal Society on 20 March 1941.
Adams Prize is one of the most prestigious awards and awarded by Cambridge University. In 1942 the Indian born Physicist Homi J Bhabha won the award for research in the Theory of Elementary Particles and their Interactions. It is awarded each year by the faculty of mathematics in Cambridge University for the research of Mathematical Sciences.
The Padma Bhushan is the third highest civilian award among the awards in the country. Awarded for the recognizing service of a High Order to the Nation in any field. Homi J Bhabha received Padma Bhushan in 1954 for outstanding contributions to nuclear science and he was involved in the development of Quantum Theory.
Homi J Bhabha- Quotes
- “My success will not depend on what A or B thinks of me. My success will be what I make of my work”.
- “For, each man can do best and excel in only that thing over which he is passionately fond, in which he believes, as I do, that he has the ability to do it, that he is in fact born and destined to do it.”
- “A scientific institution, be it a laboratory or an academy, has to be grown with great care like a tree. Its growth in terms of quality and achievement can only be accelerated to a limited extent.”
- “I know quite clearly what I want out of my life. Life and my emotions are the only things I am conscious of. I love the consciousness of life and I want as much of it as I can get”.
- “Physics is my line. I know I shall do great things here”.
- “Art, music, poetry and everything else … I do have this one purpose — increasing the intensity of my consciousness of life”.
- “I am burning with a desire to do physics. I will and must do it sometime. It is my only ambition. I have no desire to be a “successful” man or the head of a big firm. There are intelligent people who like that and let them do it”.
- “I do not think that anyone acquainted with scientific development in other countries would deny the need in India for such a school as I propose”.
- “There are, however, scattered all over India competent workers who are not doing as good work as they would do if brought together in one place under proper direction”.
- “Now, when you look at somebody, it’s not simply, ‘Are you like me or unlike me? Has your culture produced great artists? What are your rituals?’ It’s: ‘Is your culture safe or not? Will it produce terrorists?”.
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