Of the many great minds India has produced, Homi Jehangir Bhabha was one of them. So powerful was Bhabha’s influence on this world that at one point, he was looked upon as a threat to western powers, especially USA. So great was America’s fear that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) eventually ended up assassinating Homi Jehangir Bhaba. In this article on Father of Indian Nuclear Programme, we will take a look into 25 interesting Homi Jehangir Bhabha facts and learn about his early life, his scientific achievements and his role in spearheading India’s nuclear program. Let’s get started…
|Name||Homi Jehangir Bhabha|
|Birth Date||October 30, 1909|
|Death Date||January 24, 1966|
Homi Jehangir Bhabha Facts: 1-5 [Early Life and Education]
1. Homi J. Bhabha was born in a rich Parsi family on October 30, 1909 in Bombay of British India. His family was known for industrial acumen and he was related to the likes of Dorabji Tata and Dinshaw Maneckji Petit.
2. His family in particular had an illustrious past when it came to learning and serving the nation. His father was a well-known lawyer in India.
3. Cathedral and John Connon School located in Bombay (now Mumbai) was the place from where he received his early education.
4. At the age of 15, he passed the Senior Cambridge Examination with Honors and secured admission in Elphinstone College.
5. From there, he moved into Royal Institute of Science and stay there till 1927. Later, he moved to Caius College of Cambridge University.
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Homi Jehangir Bhabha Facts: 6-10 [Education and Research]
6. The reason why he moved to Caius College of Cambridge University is that his uncle Dorabji Tata and his father wanted him to get a mechanical engineering degree from Cambridge so that he could join Jamshedpur’s Tata Steel Mills in the post of a metallurgist.
7. Homi Jehangir Bhabha was however not interested in obtaining metallurgy. He rather wanted to pursue his education in mathematics. This is where his father said him that he would provide the finances for his [Homi’s] studies in mathematics provided he secured First Class in Tripos exams of Mechanical Sciences.
8. He did as demanded by his father and entered into the field of mathematics and moved on to complete Mathematics Tripos under Paul Dirac.
9. However, while completing his Mathematics Tripos, he was also working at Cavendish Laboratory in order to get his doctorate degree in Theoretical Physics.
10. At the time when Homi was working at Cavendish Lab, the lab was the focal point of various scientific breakthroughs. For instance, neutrons were discovered by James Chadwick at the same laboratory.
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Homi Jehangir Bhabha Facts: 11-15 [Education and Nuclear Physics]
11. Salomons Studentship in Engineering was awarded to Homi J. Bhabha for the academic year 1931-1932.
12. In 1932’s Mathematics Tripos exam, Bhabha secured a first class. This secured him the Rouse Ball traveling studentship in the field of mathematics.
13. It was during this time that nuclear physics was emerging as an interesting field of study but the proponents of Theoretical Physics opposed this field because, according to them, nuclear physics was more geared towards proving the phenomenons of nature via experiments compared to providing proper theories.
14. Bhabha was one of the many people who were highly interested in nuclear physics. Bhabha in particular had immense passion for experiments using particles, which were known for releasing enormous amounts of radiations.
15. In 1933, Bhabha gave his first scientific paper – ‘The Absorption of Cosmic Radiation’. This paper earned him his doctorate degree. The paper explained absorption features of cosmic rays and the production of electron showers in those rays.
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Homi Jehangir Bhabha Facts: 16-20 [Nuclear Physics Work]
16. In 1934, he secured the Isaac Newton Studentship because of his scientific paper. He held the studentship till 1937.
17. In 1935, he delved into theoretical physics and under Ralph H. Fowler, he earned his doctoral degree.
18. Between 1934 and 1937, he worked at Copenhagen alongside Niels Bohr.
19. In 1935, Homi J. Bhabha published a second scientific paper in Series A of Proceedings of the Royal Society. In that paper, he gave the calculations for cross-section determination of electron-positron scattering. Because of his contributions, electron-positron scattering was later renamed as Bhabha Scattering.
20. In 1936, Bhabha came up with a third scientific paper but this time, it was co-authored by Walter Heitler. The paper was titled ‘The Passage of Fast Electrons and the Theory of Cosmic Showers’.
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Homi Jehangir Bhabha Facts: 21-25 [Nuclear Physics Work]
21. In the 1936 paper, Bhabha and Heitler used their theory for describing how upper atmosphere of Earth interact with primary cosmic rays coming from outer space, resulting in the production of particles that are usually observed at the ground level.
22. Bhabha and Heitler carried out various calculations based on their theory and it turned out that their theory and calculations completely agreed with Auger and Rossi’s observations of cosmic ray showers that were made several years earlier.
23. Bhabha went on to conclude that if the properties of the particles produced by interaction of upper atmosphere and cosmic rays can be observed, they would straightaway give experimental verification of the Theory of Relativity provided by Albert Einstein.
24. Bhabha earned the Senior Studentship of 1851 Exhibition in 1937. This allowed him to continue his work until 1939’s breakout of WWII.
25. Homi Bhabha did significant work in identification of Muon (he gave theoretical prediction). His extraordinary works eventually led to his election in Royal Society in 1941.
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