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Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was the man who spearheaded India’s space programme and he is considered as the Father of the Indian space program, Who Orchestrated The First Satellite Launch In The Country. He was born on 12 August 1919 in Ahmedabad, Bombay Presidency. He is popular across the country for establishing the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR), which was renamed later as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) in 1972.
This article gives you a glimpse of Inventions, contributions, awards received, famous quotes and other important facts of the well known physicist and astronomer who initiated space research and helped develop nuclear power in India. Going through this article will be very useful in GK parts for the candidates who are preparing for various competitive exams.
|Full Name||Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai|
|Born||12 August 1919|
|Died||30 December 1971, Trivandrum, Kerala|
|Birth Place||Ahmedabad, Bombay|
|Education||University of Cambridge (BA, PhD)l|
|Known for||Indian space program
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
|Awards||Padma Bhushan (1966)
Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) (1972)
|Contributions||Indian Space Research Organisation
Physical Research Laboratory
Sarabhai started a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian satellite. As a result, the first Indian satellite, Aryabhata, was put in orbit in 1975 from a Russian cosmodrome.
In order to promote all round development in the field of science and technology he helped establish several institutions.
Sarabhai along with Homi Jehangir Bhabha set up the first rocket launching station in the country. The Father of India’s space programme Vikram Sarabhai was also the man who brought television and cable to India.
Dr Sarabhai died in December 1971 at Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram aged 52.
History and Invention of Vikram Sarabhai
Vikram Sarabhai was born on 12 August, 1919 in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India. He is one of the eight children of Ambalal Sarabhai and Sarla Devi. He belongs to rich family who managed several textile mills. He passed his intermediate examination in Science subject from the Gujarat College in Ahmedabad and then for further studies he went to England. He was an intelligent student and from his childhood he had an interest in science. In England in 1940, he took admission at the St John’s College, University of Cambridge and pursue Tripos in Natural Sciences. In 1942, he published his first scientific paper ‘Time Distribution of Cosmic Rays’. In 1945, he came back to Cambridge for further research on cosmic rays and earned his PhD degree for his thesis ‘Cosmic ray investigations in tropical latitudes’. In 1947, he came back to India and then joined the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore to carry out research on cosmic rays.
Sarabhai earned his doctorate from the University of Cambridge, England. After moving to India during World War II.
He did research in cosmic rays under physicist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
In 1945 he returned to Cambridge to pursue a doctorate and wrote a thesis, “Cosmic Ray Investigations in Tropical Latitudes,” in 1947.
He founded the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmadabad on his return to India.
He also established Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association in 1947.
Sarabhai is also the man behind setting up the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad in 1962.
Vikram Sarabhai established Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962 which was renamed later the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
He should be majorly credited for setting up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in southern India.
In 1966, Dr Sarabhai took charge as the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India after the death of physicist Homi Bhabha.
He is the face behind foundations for developing India’s indigenous nuclear technology for defence.
Vikram Sarabhai worked immensely to launch India’s first satellite, Aryabhata.
Indian Space Program
The establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was one of his greatest achievements. He successfully convinced the government of the importance of a space programme for a developing country like India after the Russian Sputnik launch. Dr. Sarabhai emphasized the importance of a space program in his quote:
“There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight. “
“But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.”
Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, widely regarded as the father of India’s nuclear science program, supported Dr. Sarabhai in setting up the first rocket launching station in India. This center was established at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram on the coast of the Arabian Sea, primarily because of its proximity to the equator. After a remarkable effort in setting up the infrastructure, personnel, communication links, and launch pads, the inaugural flight was launched on November 21, 1963 with a sodium vapour payload.
As a result of Dr. Sarabhai’s dialogue with NASA in 1966, the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was launched during July 1975 – July 1976 (when Dr.Sarabhai was no more).
Dr. Sarabhai started a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian Satellite. As a result, the first Indian satellite, Aryabhata, was put in orbit in 1975 from a Russian Cosmodrome.
Dr. Sarabhai was very interested in science education and founded a Community Science Centre at Ahmedabad in 1966. Today, the Centre is called the Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre.
First rocket launching station in India
Architect of the atomic dream Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha supported Dr. Sarabhai in setting up the first rocket launching station in India. This centre was established at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram on the coast of the Arabian Sea, primarily because of its proximity to the equator.
After a remarkable effort in setting up the infrastructure, personnel, communication links, and launch pads, the inaugural flight was launched on November 21, 1963, with a sodium vapour payload.
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Vikram Sarabhai Contributions
His important contribution includes initiation of space research and development of nuclear power in India. He played an important role in convincing the Government to initiate space research programs. He convinced the Government of India to form the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962 and was the first chairperson of the committee. INCOSPAR was later renamed as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1969. He played an advisory role in the new setup.
Vikram Sarabhai founded the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad on November 11, 1947. He was only 28 at that time. He was also Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and played a major role in the creation of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Institutes established by Vikram Sarabhai
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
- Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA)
- Operations Research Group (ORG) – India’s first market research organization
- Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (ATIRA)
- Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT)
- Faster Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) at Kalpakkam
- Blind Men Association (BMA)
- Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) at Hyderabad
- Variable Energy Cyclotron Project at Calcutta
- Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) at Jharkhand.
- Darpana Academy of Performing Arts (along with his wife, dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai)
Awards conferred by Vikram Sarabhai
- President of the Physics section, Indian Science Congress (1962).
- Vice-President, Fourth U.N. Conference on ‘Peaceful uses of Atomic Energy’ (1971).
- President of the General Conference of the I.A.E.A., Vienna (1970).
- The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, (VSSC) which conducts research in the field of rocket propellants in Thiruvananthapuram is named after him.
- A crater on the moon ‘BESSEL A’ has been named the Sarabhai crater by the International Astronomical Union in 1973.
- Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (1962).
- Padma Bhushan (1966).
- Padma Vibhushan, posthumous (1972).
Quotes of Vikram Sarabhai
- “We look down on our scientists if they engage in outside consultation. We implicitly promote the ivory tower”.
- “….choosing to lead one kind of life means putting aside the desire to pursue other options.”
- “He who can listen to the music in the midst of noise can achieve great things”.
- “….my friend Vikram Sarabhai who often said to me: When you stand above the crowd, you must be ready to have stones thrown at you”.
- “I also believe that a person who does not have respect for time, and does not have a sense of timing, can achieve little.”
- “One wants permissive individuals who do not have a compelling need to reassure themselves that they are leaders”.
- “…failure is not about not succeeding. Rather it is about not putting in your best effort and not contributing, however modestly, to the common good”.
- “..with adequate support, confrontation at the right time pays off”.
- “I have often claimed that I have had but one good idea in my life: that true development is the development of women and men”.
- “Our belief at Anand has always been: let the people’s energies be unleashed”.
- “Our bureaucracy today is too bloated and therefore it is burdensome”.
- “What, therefore, is a government at its best? It is a government that “governs” least and instead finds ways to mobilise the energies of our people”.
The contributions made by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai are extraordinary in the field of space science. His dedication and hard work can’t be forgettable and so, to pay homage to the father of India’s Space program, ISRO has announced an award in the name of Vikram Sarabhai on his 100th birthday on 12 August, 2019.
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