New Delhi: As Chandrayaan-2 cruises to reach the moon by August 20 and drop a lander called ‘Vikram’ on the Earth’s sole satellite on September 7, Google on Monday celebrated the 100th birthday of Dr Vikram Sarabhai — the father of the Indian space programme — with a Doodle.
“There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose.
“We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight,” emphasized Vikram upon the importance of a space programme during his successful dialogues with the Indian government.
“But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society,” he noted.
The establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was one of his greatest achievements which broke many global records in days to come.
Born on August 12, 1919 in Ahmedabad, Vikram was one of the eight children of Ambalal and Sarla Devi, according to the ISRO website.
The Sarabhai family was an important and rich Jain business family. Ambalal was an affluent industrialist and owned several mills in Gujarat.
He matriculated from the Gujarat College in Ahmedabad after clearing the Intermediate science examination.
After that, he moved to England and joined the St. John’s College at University of Cambridge. Vikram then went on to receive the Tripos in Natural Sciences from Cambridge in 1940.
The tripos framework includes a wide range of natural sciences from physical sciences to biology which are taught alongside the history and philosophy of science.
With the escalation of the World War II, Vikram returned to India and joined the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and began research in cosmic rays under the guidance of Nobel winner Sir C.V. Raman.
A great institution builder and established or helped set up a large number of institutions in diverse fields, he was instrumental in establishing the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad. He was only 28 at that time.
Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha, widely regarded as the father of India’s nuclear science programme, supported Vikram in setting up the first rocket launching station in India. The centre was established at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram on the coast of the Arabian Sea, primarily because of its proximity to the equator. (IANS)