Homi Jehangir Bhabha

Homi Jehangir Bhabha Birthday: Decades ago, Bhabha could have made India a nuclear country

Education science

Since the Second World War, the power in the world meant the power of the atomic bomb. At that time, only America and the Soviet Union had such power. But many other countries had the potential to achieve this potential in the 1960s. Very few people know that India was also named in these, and at that time, India was neither an ally of capitalist America nor communist Russia. But one person had put a country like America in shambles. This is Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, the father of India’s nuclear program, who once said he could make an atomic bomb in one and a half years. The nation is remembering him on his birthday on 30 October.

Homi belonged to a prosperous Parsi family
Homi Jehangir Bhabha was born on 30 October 1909 in a prosperous Parsi family. Famous businessmen like Dinshaw Maneckji Petit and Dorabji were his relatives. His father, Jahangir Hormusji Bhabha, was a renowned lawyer. Homi’s early education took place at the Cathedral and John Cannon School in Mumbai. After passing the Senior Cambridge examination with Honors, he studied at Elphistone College.

Father’s wish was something else
Interestingly, his father and his uncle Dorabji wanted Homi to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering from Cambridge. At their behest, Homi attended the Royal Institute of Science in 1927 before moving to Caius College, Cambridge University. He wanted Homi to join Tata Steel or Tata Steel Mills as a metallurgist.

Interest in nuclear physics
Homi wrote to his father that he did not want to do engineering. Taking care of Homi’s feelings, the father gave him permission and support to study mathematics and physics. First, Homi completed Mathematics with Tripos Cars Honors and also continued to do research in Physics. During this time, Homi was inclined towards nuclear physics. And in 1933, he earned a doctorate in atomic physics. After this, he continued to work in Cambridge with many famous research works, and when the First World War started, he did not go back to England while spending his holidays in India.

Dr. Bhabha in India
In 1941, Dr. Bhabha was elected a member of the Royal Society. He took over as Reader at the Indian Institute of Science. Its chief Nobel laureate at that time was CV Raman. In 1945 he founded the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai with the help of JRD Tata and became its director the following year. After independence, the Atomic Energy Commission of India could be established only due to the efforts of Bhabha. Dr. Bhabha represented India at International Atomic Energy Forums.

Bhabha at the international level
Since coming to India, he had dreamed of making India nuclear power, and for this, he also kept motivating the Congress leaders. This was why in 1948, Prime Minister Nehru made Dobhabha the head of the nuclear program. In 1950, Dr. Bhabha represented India at the conferences of the International Atomic Energy Agency. In 1955 he presided over the United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva.

Use of nuclear energy
Dr. Bhabha is not just called the father of India’s nuclear power program. Bhabha advocated the inclusion of Thorium in the nuclear power program instead of the minimal amount of available uranium. Out of his efforts, the Atomic Energy Establishment was established in Trombay. In the same year, the Department of Atomic Energy was established in the Government of India.

Homi Bhabha was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics five times. At the same time, in 1954, the Government of India honored him with Padma Bhushan. Dr. Bhabha’s motive was not to end India with an atomic bomb. He had said that if permission is given, he can make a nuclear bomb in one and a half years. But his main focus was to make India self-reliant in nuclear energy. Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha died in a plane crash on 24 January 1966.