In this article, you will read an Essay on Homi Jehangir Bhabha. His Early Life, Research Work, Contribution Career, Death.
Homi Jehangir Bhabha was one of the pathfinders in nuclear physics research. For his undeniable contribution in this field, he is called “The Father of Indian Nuclear Program.” He was the founding Director and the professor of the “Tata Institute of Fundamental Research” (TIFR).
He was also the founding Director of Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET). It was later renamed the “Bhabha Research Center” after his name to honor his achievement. These two institutes are the pillar of Indian Nuclear development.
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Early life and education
Homi Bhabha was born into a prominent Parsi family with a gold spoon in his mouth. Through his family background, he had a relationship with businessmen Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, and Dorabji Tata.
He was born on 30 October 1909. His father’s name was Jehangir Hormusji Bhabha, who was a renowned Parsi Lawyer, and his mother was Mehran. He started his education at Bombay’s Cathedral and John Connon School. At the age of 15, after passing his Senior Cambridge Examination with Honours, he admitted Elphinstone College.
After that, he attended the Royal Institute of Science in the year of 1927 before joining Caius College of Cambridge University due to the insistence of his father and his uncle Dorabji.
It was planned that he would obtain a degree in mechanical engineering from Cambridge, and then after returning to India, he would join the Tata Steel or Tata Steel Mills in Jamshedpur as a metallurgist.
Although initially it was planned to take forward tye career of Bhabha in mechanical engineering, his father quickly discovered his predicament. Bhabha appeared for the Tripos exam in June 1930 and passed with the first class. After that, he sailed through his career with studies in Mathematics under Paul Dirac.
Then he completed Mathematics Tripos. During his studies on a doctorate in Physics, he used to work in Cavendish Laboratory. During that time, the research center was going through some famous scientific achievements. One of them is the discovery of the neutron by James Chadwick.
During the academic year of 1931–1932, Bhabha was appreciated by the award named the Salomons Studentship in Engineering. In the year of 1932, he achieved his first class on his Mathematical Tripos and was given the prestigious award “the Rouse Ball traveling studentship in mathematics.”
Under these circumstances, the research on nuclear physics was an attractive field, and lots of young people were keen to choose this field as their subject. Bhabha was no exception to that. This field never failed to surprise him with the release of a huge amount of energy during the experiment.
The characteristics of this field attacked the conventional physics study, which was more leaned towards the study of theory rather than practical knowledge. These are the reasons why Bhabha switched his stream, which in turn proved to a great thing that happened in Indian Science.
Work and contribution in the field of nuclear physics:
Homi Bhabha received his doctorate after publishing his paper on cosmic radiation, which helped him to win Issac Newton studentship. During this studentship, he split his time to work in Cambridge and with Neil Bohr in Copenhagen.
In the year of 1935, he published his research paper on the determination of cross-section of electron-positron scattering, which later on named “Bhabha Scattering” to honor his contribution. He was the co-writer of the paper, “The Passage of Fast Electrons and the Theory of Cosmic Showers” in partnership with Walter Heitler in the year of 1936.
This theory led Homi Jehangir Bhabha towards the experimental verification of Albert Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity’. After that, he received the Senior Studentship of 1851 Exhibition and continued his research work until the breakout of World War II.
Return to India:
After World War II, he came back to India and decided to work the Reader in the Physics Department of the Indian Institute of Science. He got a distinctive grant for research from the very famous trust named “Sir Dorab Tata Trust,” which was used to establish the Cosmic Ray Research Unit at the Institute. He played a vital role in the formation of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.
After World War II, he was forced to come back to India and started to work as the Reader in physics at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, headed by Nobel laureate C.V. Raman. In this time, Homi Jehangir Bhabha managed to convince one of the most notable Congress party’s senior leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru, to start the nuclear program.
He founded the Cosmic Ray Research Unit at the organization. In the year of 1945, he founded the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay and the Atomic Energy Commission in 1948. He was the first chairman of this Institute. Under the leadership of Nehru, Homi Bhabha was appointed as the Director of the nuclear program.
In 1950, he played his role as the President of the United Nations Conference in support of the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Soon after the Sino-Indo war, Bhabha aggressively and publicly began to call for nuclear weapons.
Homi Jehangir Bhabha has been recognized internationally for one of his achievements called “Bhabha Scattering.” The Government of India awarded him Padma Bhushan in 1954. He also provided the pivotal role to Vikram Sarabhai to set up the Indian National Committee for Space Research.
Atomic Energy in India:
When Homi Jehangir Bhabha was working at the India Institute of Science and was going through the prime phase of his research, he noticed there was no establishment to facilitate the cosmic ray research, scattering experiments, etc. To encourage the research work, we wrote a proposal to Sir Dorabji Tata Trust for establishing ‘a vigorous school of research in fundamental physics’.
The trustees accepted the proposal and agreed to support financially. With the help Government of Bombay, the Institute was founded, and it was named as Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in the year 1945.
But after a certain time, Homi Jehangir Bhabha realized that atomic research could no longer be carried out in the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research center. So he proposed to the Government to build an institute.
Hence a new land was acquired in Trombay to establish the atomic research center name as Atomic Energy Establishment Trombay, which started to function in 1954. He represented India in International Atomic Energy Forums.
Nuclear Power Program:
Homi Jehangir Bhabha is acknowledged as the father of Indian Nuclear power. Furthermore, he always emphasized the strategy of using India’s large reserve of Thorium as the fuel instead of exporting Uranium, which is expensive.
Homi Jehangir Bhabha met an unexpected death when he was traveling in Air India Flight 101, which was crashed near Mont Blanc on 24 January 1966. Misunderstanding between Geneva Airport and the pilot about the aircraft position near the mountain is the official reason for the crash.
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