Vikram Sarabhai founder of ISRO 100th Birthday: All you need to know

Vikram Sarabhai was a great scientist and institutional builder who had established several institutions in various fields. One of his greatest achievements is the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). In 1947, he came back to India from Cambridge and persuaded the charitable trust that is controlled by his family and friends near his home in Ahmedabad. He established Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad on 11 November, 1947 which was the first laboratory of independent India.

Name: Vikram Sarabhai

Date of Birth: 12 August, 1919

Place of Birth: Ahmedabad, India

Famous as: Scientist, Physicist

Father's Name: Ambalal Sarabhai

Mother's Name: Sarla Devi

Spouse/Ex: Mrinalini Sarabhai

Children: Kartikeya Sarabhai, Mallika Sarabhai

Died on: 30 December, 1971

Place of Death: Halcyon Castle, Kovalam In Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Vikram Sarabhai: Early Life and Family

He was born on 12 August, 1919 in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India. He is one of the eight children of Ambalal Sarabhai and Sarla Devi. He belongs to rich family who managed several textile mills. He passed his intermediate examination in Science subject from the Gujarat College in Ahmedabad and then for further studies he went to England. He was an intelligent student and from his childhood he had an interest in science. In England in 1940, he took admission at the St John's College, University of Cambridge and pursue Tripos in Natural Sciences. In 1942, he published his first scientific paper 'Time Distribution of Cosmic Rays'. In 1945, he came back to Cambridge for further research on cosmic rays and earned his PhD degree for his thesis ‘Cosmic ray investigations in tropical latitudes'. In 1947, he came back to India and then joined the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore to carry out research on cosmic rays. Let us tell you that scientist C.V Raman advised him to do research on cosmic rays.  He was married to Mrinalini Sarabhai and had two children Mallika and Kartikeya Sarabhai.

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Vikram Sarabhai: Career and Achievements

- He came to India when India got its independence and so, he felt the need for better scientific facilities. For this, he established The Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad in November 1947.

- The founding director of PRL is K.R Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist. Under his guidance the institute became the leading organisation of cosmic rays and space sciences.

- He is the founding director of Indian institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. In 1961, with the help of businessman Kasturbhai Lalbhai he set up an institute of learning.

- He played a crucial role in establishing the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT University) in Ahmedabad in 1962. University offers courses for undergraduate and postgraduate programs in subjects like architecture, planning and technology.

- He established the Nehru Foundation for Development in 1965 which focus on the current problems of society and individual development.

- He also established Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC) in 1960s with an aim to promote science and mathematics education among students and general public.

- Dr, Homi Bhabha always supported Vikram Sarabjhai in most of his projects and was the pioneer in the field of nuclear research in India. Not only this Bhabha helped Vikram Sarabhai in setting up the first rocket launching station at Thumba on the coast of the Arabian Sea. On 21 November, 1963, the inaugural flight was launched.

- He was also the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.

- The most significant contribution of Vikram Sarabhai is in establishing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1969. The objective behind establishing it is to advance the space technology and apply it for national benefits.

Major work of Vikram Sarabhai is to establish ISRO and contributed immensely in the field of science. He is regarded as the Father of the Indian Space Program. Eventually, ISRO became the largest government space agency in the world.

Some of the Institutions established by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai are:

 - 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, Thiruvananthapuramm

-  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

When Dr. Sraabhai was no more but as a result of Dr, Srabhai dialogues with NASA in 1966, the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was launched during July 1975 0 July 1976.

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As we know that Dr. Sarabhai started a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian Satellite. And as a result, the first Indian satellite, Aryabhata was put into the orbit in 1975 from a Russian Cosmodrome.

As discussed above Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was very interested in education regarding science and so he founded a Community Science Centre at Ahmedabad in 1966. Today, this Centre is known as Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre. Not only this the great scientist Dr. Vikram Sarabhai set up Operations Research Group (ORG) which is the first market research organisation in India.

Vikram Sarabhai: Awards and Honours

For his exemplary work in the field of science, he received Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the Padma Vibhushan awarded posthumously in 1972, the India's most honourable awards.

ISRO announced Vikram Sarabhai Award

To pay homage to the father of India's Space program, ISRO has announced an award in the name of Vikram Sarabhai on his 100th birthday that on 12 August, 2019. The Vikram Sarbhai Journalism award in Space Science Technology and Research will be given to those journalists who have contributed to the fields of space science, applications and research. Nominations for the awards are open to all Indian journalists and articles from 2019-2020 that will be reviewed for the award.

The Award consists of two categories: The first has a cash price of Rs 5,00,000, a medal and citation. In the first category two journalists or freelancers of the print media will be awarded. The second category of the award consists of three cash prizes of Rs 3,00,000, 2,00,000 and 1,00,000 respectively, and a citation.  Journalists or freelancers of print media will get the award. On 1 August, 2020 the names of the selected candidates will be announced. Not only will this ISRO on Sarabhai’s birthday inaugurate a commemorative coin and an exhibition on a bus namely 'Space on Wheels' based on the life of Sarabhai. On 12 August, a coffee table book with exclusive pictures from his life will also be launched.

Therefore, we can say that the contributions made by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai are extraordinary in the field of space science. He established several institutions and showed the path of technology to our country. His dedication and hard work can’t be forgettable and so, to pay homage to the father of India's Space program, ISRO has announced an award in the name of Vikram Sarabhai on his 100th birthday on 12 August, 2019.

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