Born on 15th October 1931 to Jainulabdeen, a boat owner and his wife Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, A.P.J Abdul Kalam did not follow a religious routine inspite of being raised in a multi-religious environment. To aid his father in family income, he distributed newspapers after completing his schooling from Rameshwaram Elementary School. The hardworking boy went to Saint Joseph’s College and graduated in physics in 1954. Dissatisfied with the subject, he went on to study aerospace engineering in 1955.
After graduating from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, Kalam joined Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization as a chief scientist. He started his career by designing a small helicopter and transferred to Indian Space Research Organization as the project director of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III).
The ambitious engineer started work on an expandable rocket project independently at DRDO in 1965 and after earning an approval from the government in 1969; he expanded his project and included more engineers. Between 1970s and 1990s, Kalam Polar SLV and SLV-III projects successfully. His research and educational leadership brought him lots of praises and his commendable work was accepted and acclaimed everywhere.
He was offered to initiate an advanced missile program by the government. He worked together with S. Arunachalam, metallurgist and scientific advisor over the suggestion of the then Defense minister on a proposal for simultaneous development of a quiver of missiles instead of taking planned missiles one by one. Our reliable man played an important role in developing many missiles, including ‘Agni’ and ‘Prithvi’ under the mission which was sanctioned 388 crore rupees by the government.
He became the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defence Research and development Organization during the period 1992 to 1999. His partnership with cardiologist Dr. Soma Raju seems to b a long one with their first project together in 1998 developing Coronary Stent and again in 2012 developing a rugged tablet PC for health care in rural areas.
Inspite of obstructions, Kalam’s fate took him to the Rashtrapati Bhawan after declaring him India’s 11th President for the period 2002 to 2007. But he was the third Indian President to be honored with a Bharat Ratna. Uncertain about his win in the 2007 election, Kalam decided not to contest the Presidential elections again stating that’ he wanted to avoid rashtrpati Bhawan from any political processes’.
With power, fame and responsibility comes controversies. Kalam, too was a popular targe of such hullabaloo. He took the credit of developing ‘Agni’, ‘Prithvi’ and ‘Akash’ but people claim in 2008 that he was only involved in getting the funds and other logistic taks and the actual work was done by other scientists. But he still had a chance and lots of support for the 2012 elections after the 12th President Pratibha Patil’s tenure overs on 24th July 2012.
But on 18 June 2012, Kalam refused to contest the Presidential poll after lots of speculations. His book ‘India 2020’, he supports an action plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and a developed nation by the year 2020. In May 2011, he launched his mission for the youth called ‘What Can I Give Movement’ with a theme to defeat corruption. Inspite of refusing to be a part of the Indian government, he still wants to and is bettering the condition of our nation.
Biography – Indian Scientists – Homi Bhabha
Born: October 30, 1909
Died: January 24, 1966
Homi Jehangir Bhabha was a renowned Indian atomic scientist who laid the foundation of a scientific establishment in independent India. He is also credited with establishment of premier institutions including Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. He served as the first chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission.
Homi Bhabha was born to a rich Parsi Family in Mumbai on October 30, 1909. He completed his graduation from Elphinstone College and the Royal Institute of Science. Later on, he went to Cambridge University and received his doctorate in 1934. He got the opportunity to work with Niels Bohr on the quantum theory. He also worked on the cascade theory of electron showers. He also worked intensely in the identification of the meson. Homi Bhabha set up the Cosmic Ray Research Unit at the IISC, Bangalore in 1939 under CV Raman. In 1945, he became the director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research which he had established with the assistance from J.R.D. Tata.
In 1948, Homi Bhabha established the Atomic Energy Commission of India for the development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Subsequently the first atomic reactor began its operation at Trombay in 1956. He chaired the UN Conference held in Geneva on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in 1955. He advocated the international control of nuclear energy and utilizing the nuclear energy for alleviating poverty.
Homi Bhabha had received several honorary degrees during his lifetime from Indian and foreign universities. He was active member of many scientific societies, including the National Academy of Sciences of US. He had written many articles related to the field of quantum theory and cosmic rays. His major achievement includes the foundation of TIFR and BARC.
Biography – Indian Scientists – C.V. Raman
Born: November 7, 1888
Died: November 21, 1970
CV Raman was the first Indian scientist to receive Noble Prize for Physics in 1930 for his pioneering work related to the scattering of light. His complete name was Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. He was born in Tiruchinapalli, Tamil Nadu as a second child of his parents Chandrasekhar Iyer and Parvathi Amma. He got the studious environment at home as his father was the lecturer in mathematics and physics. He studied from the Presidency College, Madras, in 1902, and passed his B.A. examination in 1904. He was awarded the gold medal in physics. C.V. Raman passed his M.A. in 1907 with high distinction.
At that time when CV Raman completed his studies, there were not many opportunities available for scientists in India. In 1907, after passing MA, CV Raman joined the Indian Finance Department. He carried out many experiments in the lab of Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science at Calcutta after his office hours. His areas of research include the acoustics and optics. Raman got the position of Physics Professor at Calcutta University where he stayed for the next fifteen years. His work got the world wide recognition in optics and scattering of light.
His pioneering work resulted in him becoming the member of Royal Society of London in 1924. He was awarded with the knight of the British Empire in 1929 by Britishers. His work fetched him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for his work on scattering of light. His work was given the name of “Raman Effect”.
C.V. Raman worked as the director and Physics professor at the Indian Institute of Sciences in Bangalore for two years. Some of the pioneering works of CV Raman include experimental and theoretical studies on the light diffraction by acoustic waves of hypersonic and ultrasonic frequencies. He also studied the effects produced by X-rays in crystals exposed to ordinary light on infrared vibrations. He established the Raman Research Institute after independence in Bangalore.
Biography – Indian Scientists – Vikram Sarabhai
Born: August 12, 1919
Died: December 31,1971
Vikram Sarabhai was the pioneering Indian scientist and was regarded as the Father of the Indian Space program. He was responsible for establishing the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in November 1947 in Ahmedabad. He worked as the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and was instrumental in the creation of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He is considered as the greatest scientists of India and father of the Indian space program..
Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was born in an affluent family of industrialists in Ahmedabad. He got his early education in a private school. After completing his matriculation, Vikram Sarabhai moved to Cambridge for his pursuing further college education and got the tripods degree from St. John’s College in 1940. He worked as a research scholar at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore under CV Raman. His areas of interest include solar physics and cosmic rays. He played a major role in setting up of numerous observation stations across the country. He completed his Ph.D in 1947 from Cambridge University.
Vikram Sarabhai did research on the various areas of solar and interplanetary Physics. One of the most prominent ventures of Sarabhai was the Indian program for the as it exposed him to the new vistas of space science. This has led him to form Indian National Committee for Space Research and he became chairman of the committee. Vikram Sarabhai set up the first Rocket Launching station near Thiruvananthapuram on the Arabian Coast as it is close to the Equator. On November 21, 1963, the first rocket was launched from the space station and TERLS was recognised as an international facility.
The pioneering work on space science and research done by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai earned him Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Medal in 1962 and Padma Bhushan in 1966.