Context: Recently a biography was written on Homi J Bhabha by Bakhtiar K Dadabhoy.
About Homi J Bhabha and his contributions
- Bhabha was born into a wealthy Parsi family (he was related to the Tatas).
- He studied physics at Cambridge (switching from mechanical engineering) and wrote several well-regarded papers.
- He was admitted to the Royal Society as a Fellow at age 31, and nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in the 1950s.
- In addition, he was a talented artist, a connoisseur of classical music and gourmet food.
- He was a design freak and a proto-environmentalist, who micromanaged the architectural master plans of TIFR and BARC, realigning roads and buildings to avoid cutting down trees.
- He coaxed and cajoled the Tatas into creating the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), and became the first chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
- He designed the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (renamed in his honour after his death) from the ground up.
- He is also credited with doing the spadework, both in terms of creating the technical capacity as well as in terms of the political manoeuvring, to set up that first “peaceful nuclear explosion” in 1974.
- He influenced the draft of the legislation that created India’s atomic energy policy, and then he drove nuclear science as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
- Bhabha’s pioneering research in nuclear physics led to the formulation of the Bhabha scattering theory, also known as Bhabha’s scattering formula. This theory explained the behaviour of high-energy cosmic rays in the Earth’s atmosphere and provided important insights into the interaction between subatomic particles.
- His work on meson theory and the concept of virtual particles laid the foundation for further advancements in the field of particle physics.
- Bhabha’s vision and leadership laid the foundation for the establishment of India’s first nuclear power reactor, Apsara, in 1956.
Homi Jehangir Bhabha’s contributions had a lasting impact on India’s scientific development. His work in nuclear physics, establishment of scientific institutions, and advocacy for nuclear energy laid the groundwork for India’s advancement in these fields. His legacy continues to inspire generations of scientists in India and beyond.