Homi Jehangir Bhabha

The name of Homi Jehangir Bhabha (1909-1966)  is associated with Bhabha Scattering, which involves relativistic exchange scattering of electrons and Bhabha-Heitler theory, dealing with production of electron and positron showers in cosmic rays. At the age of 31, he worked with great physicists like Bohr, Pauli, Dirac, Cockcroft and others, who later became Nobel Laureates.

In late 1930s, he joined the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, as a Reader in the Department of Physics, headed by Sir C. V. Raman and set up a cosmic ray research unit. In 1944, (two years after first experimental demonstration of a nuclear reactor was made in US) he wrote a historic letter to Tata Trust for support in setting up a centre for research work in nuclear science, which could play a central role in the development of nuclear energy. On the basis of this letter, Tata Trust supported him in setting up a laboratory at Kenilworth, Bombay. Subsequently, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research was founded and large scale research in physics, chemistry, electronics and mathematics commenced.

 

Bhabha was instrumental in the formation of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1948 and the Department of Atomic Energy in 1954 and he chalked out a focussed research and minerals exploration programmes for nuclear energy. He became its first head. India’s First atomic reactor, Apsara was also established under his guidance, thus he is known as Father of Nuclear Science in India.

 

In 1950s, he enunciated a three-stage nuclear programme to meet the energy security of the nation. This consisted of utilization of natural uranium, plutonium and abundant thorium resources in thermal, fast and advanced nuclear reactors with closed fuel cycle.

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