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Google Doodle honours ‘father of ISRO' Vikram Sarabhai on his 100th birthday

By Vishal S

New Delhi, Aug 12: Today's Google Doodle is dedicated to scientist, innovator, industrialist and founder of India's space programme - Dr Vikram Sarabhai. Dr Sarabhai was born on August 12, 1919 and would have been 100 today.

Google Doodle is dedicated to Dr Vikram Sarabhai

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, also known as the Father of the Indian Space Program, was a great institutional builder and scientist who had helped establish large number of institutions in several fields. He was instrumental in establishing the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad. He was also Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. He along with other Ahmedabad-based industrialists played a major role in the creation of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

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Sarabhai was born in an affluent family of industrialists and was one of the eight children of Ambalal and Sarla Devi.

He enjoyed a privileged childhood and the means to pursue all the education he wanted. From a young age, Sarabhai developed a deep interest in science and mathematics. He passed his intermediate examination in Science subject from the Gujarat College in Ahmedabad and then for further studies he went to England.

In 1947, he returned to India and then joined the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore to carry out research on cosmic rays. His first scientific paper 'Time Distribution of Cosmic Rays' was published in 1942.

In 1942, he married celebrated classical dancer Mrinalini. The couple had two children. His daughter Mallika and son Karthikeya too became famous personalities.

He returned to Cambridge in 1945 to further his research on cosmic rays and earned his PhD for his thesis 'Cosmic ray investigations in tropical latitudes'.

One of his first milestones was establishing the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad on November 11, 1947. He was only 28 at that time. Sarabhai served for PRL from 1966-1971.

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He founded the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) which eventually became the largest government space agency in the world. He convinced the government of the importance of a space programme after the Russian Sputnik launch.

Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, widely regarded as the father of India's nuclear science program, supported Dr. Sarabhai in setting up the first rocket launching station in India. This centre was established at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram.

Dr Vikram Sarabhai and list of institutions he helped build:

  • Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
  • Community Science Centre, Ahmedabad
  • Darpan Academy for Performing Arts, Ahmedabad (along with his wife)
  • Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad (This institution came into existence after merging six institutions/centres established by Sarabhai)
  • Faster Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR), Kalpakkam
  • Varaiable Energy Cyclotron Project, Calcutta
  • Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad
  • Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), Jaduguda, Bihar

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