Homi Jehangir Bhabha was an Indian nuclear physicist, founding director and professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). He is more famous as FATHER OF INDIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAMME. He was also the founding director of the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET), now known as BHABHA ATOMIC RESEARCH CENTRE in his honour. He was an aggressive promoter of nuclear weapons for the country’s defence. He was the prominent person behind Atomic Growth of Independent India.
• Homi Bhabha was born on 30 October 1909 into a prominent wealthy Parsi family.
• His father was Jehangir Hormusji Bhabha, a well known parsi lawyer and his mother was Meheren.
• His family was related to businessmen Dinshaw Petit and Dorabji Tata.
• He received his early education from Cathedral and John Connon School, Bombay and entered Elphinstone College at the age of 15.
• Later in 1927, he attended the Royal Institute of Science after which he joined Caius College of Cambridge University to study Mechanical Engineering.
• He became highly influenced by Physicist Paul Dirac during his Mechanical Engineering and after passing Engineering he started studying Theoretical Physics.
• During his Theoretical Physics days, he also worked as the Cavendish laboratory which was the centre of a number of scientific breakthroughs.
• In 1934, he received the Doctorate Degree in Nuclear Physics from the University of Cambridge.
WORKS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
• Bhabha earned a three year Isaac Newton Studentship in 1934 on the basis of his research paper- “The Absorption of Cosmic Radiation”.
• He also worked along side famous scientist and physicist Neil Bohr.
• He worked on Cascad Theory of Electron Showers along with Walter Heitler in 1936.
CONTRIBUTION TO INDIA
• He returned to India after the outbreak of WW2 and started working in India Institute of Science (IISC) in Bangalore under Nobel Laureate C.V.Raman.
• In 1941, he was elected FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY.
• During his stay in India, Bhabha tried to convince senior leaders of Congress Party to support the Nuclear Programme.
• Later Jawaharlal Nehru who was the first Prime Minister of Independent India supported Bhaba in the ambitious Nuclear Programme.
• TATA Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai was established by him in 1945.
• He became the first Chairperson of India’s Atomic Energy Commission in 1948.
• In 1948, Nehru appointed Bhabha as the director of the Nuclear Programme of India.
• He formed India’s 3 stage nuclear power programme where first two stages were used to generate sufficient fissile material from India’s limited Thorium and in the last stage this material was used in thermal atomic breeder reactors.
• He represented India in IAEA conferences and led the first UN conference of Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, 1955.
• He was an aggressive promoter of Nuclear Weapons for the country’s defence.
• He pioneered the use of thorium to extract Uranium form it so that less Uranium Reserve in India could not impede the country’s nuclear growth.
• After the Sino-Indo War, he aggressively and publicly began to call for the nuclear weapons.
• He gained international prominence after deriving a correct expression for the probability of scattering positrons by electrons, a process now known as Bhabha Scattering.
• Under his directions, the first atomic reactor was operated in Mumbai in 1956 and scientists of India were able to make an atomic bomb later.
• In 1958, he was elected as Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
• He served as the Scientific Advisor to two Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
• His major works include his work on Compton Scattering, R-process etc.
• He died when his plane crashed near Mont Blanc on 24 january 1966 in the ALPS.
• After his death, the Atomic Energy Establishment at Mumbai was renamed as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in his honour.
• He was also a painter and classical music & opera enthusiast.
• The famed Radio Telescope in Ooty was his initiative and it became reality in 1970.
• Bhabha was awarded the Adams Prize in 1942.
• He was awarded the Padam Bhushan in 1954.
• He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951 and 1953-1956.
• In Quantum Physics, the cross section of electron -positron scattering has been renamed Bhabha Scatttering in his honor.
• The Homi Bhabha Fellowship Council has been giving Homi Bhabha Fellowships since 1967.