New Delhi, Sep.7 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh led the nation on Tuesday in paying their tributes to Dr. Homi Nusserwanji Sethna, who passed away on Sunday night at his residence in Mumbai.
"Dr. Sethna played a crucial role in the successful conduct of India's first peaceful nuclear test in 1974. His contributions to development of nuclear energy for peaceful purpose were very important. In his passing away we have lost a well-known nuclear scientist and a true patriot," President Patil stated in her condolence message.
Prime Minister Dr. Singh in his condolence message to the renowned nuclear scientist's son Rustam Sethna, recalled his long and fruitful personal association with Dr. Homi Sethna and described him as a pillar of India's nuclear energy programme.
"It is with great sorrow that I learnt of the sad demise of your father, Dr. Homi Sethna.
Dr. Sethna was a brilliant nuclear scientist and an exceptional human being. His contribution to the development and production of nuclear materials and thereby to the country's efforts to build energy security is immense. He was a pillar of India's nuclear energy programme in the early years.
In his long and illustrious career, Dr. Sethna served the government and many other institutions with great distinction. He was widely respected and admired and had the ability to inspire young scientists to give their best in the national cause.
His life's work is a saga of dedication, brilliance and patriotic public service. I personally had a long and fruitful association with Dr. Sethna and benefitted greatly from his deep knowledge, insight and vision. He has left behind a void that would be very difficult to fill.
In this hour of bereavement, please accept my heartfelt condolences. May God give you the strength to bear this irreparable loss. I offer my deepest prayers for peace of the departed soul," Dr. Singh stated in his condolence message.
Homi Nusserwanji Sethna, the former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and an important figure in India's nuclear programme breathed his last at his home in Mumbai on Sunday night. He was 86.
Dr. Sethna was suffering from lung fibrosis.
He played a key role in the country's first peaceful nuclear explosion of May 18, 1974, called the Smiling Buddha, or Pokhran-I.
Born on August 24, 1923 and he did his B.Sc. (Tech) from the University Department of Chemical Technology, University of Bombay, in 1944 and did his M.S. in the University of Ann Arbor, Michigan. After working with Imperial Chemical Industries in the U.K., he returned to India in 1949, inspired by Dr. Bhabha's call for Indian scientists to return.
Dr. Sethna pioneered reprocessing technology in India and played a crucial role in the designing and setting up of the first plutonium separation plant at BARC. (ANI)