Vikram Sarabhai: All you need to know about Indian physicist, scientist, industrialist and an astronomer on his 101 anniversary

Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was an Indian physicist, scientist, industrialist and an astronomer who helped in developing nuclear power in India. He also initiated the space research in the country. Today is the 101 birth anniversary of Vikram Sarabhai. 

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Vikram Sarabhai: Birth, Early Life, Education

Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was born on August 12, 1919, to Ambalal Sarabhai and Saraladevi. The couple had eight children-- 5 daughters and 3 sons. Vikram Sarabhai hails from the famous Sarabhai family who were industrialists and was active during the Indian Independence Movement. Vikram initially attended Gujarat College, Ahmedabad and then he got admitted to University of Cambridge, England and cleared tripos in natural sciences. In 1945, he pursued a doctorate and in 1947, wrote a thesis on 'Cosmic Ray Investigations in Tropical Latitudes'. 

Vikram Sarabhai: Career 

In 1947, PRL (Physical Research Laboratory) was founded by Vikram Sarabhai to research on cosmic rays. On November 11, 1947, the institute was formally established at M.G. Science Institute, Ahmedabad with the help from the Karmkshetra Educational Foundation. Kalpathi Ramakrishna Ramanathan, the Professor of Ahmedabad Education Society became the first Director of the Institute. 

Vikram Sarabhai led his family business and set up the Operations Research Group (ORG). This was the first research organization in the country. He also set up various institutes such as the Nehru Foundation for Development in Ahmedabad, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), the Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association (ATIRA) and the (CEPT).

Vikram Sarabhai founded Darpana Academy of Performing Arts along with his wife Mrinalini Sarabhai. Sarabhai helped in the launch of an Indian satellite and in the year 1975, the first Indian satellite-- Aryabhata was put in orbit by a Russian Cosmodrome. He also founded of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). 

Vikram Sarabhai: Personal Life

In 1942, Vikram Sarabhai married classical dancer Mrinalini and the couple had two children-- Mallika (daughter) and Kartikeya (son). Vikram Sarabhai practised Jainism during his entire lifetime. 

Vikram Sarabhai: Death

Vikram Sarabhai died on December 30, 1971, at the age of 52 years in Trivandrum, Kerala, India due to a cardiac arrest. 

Vikram Sarabhai: Positions Held

1- In the year 1962, he served as the President of the Physics section in Indian Science Congress. 

2- In 1970, he held the position of President of the General Conference of the I.A.E.A., Vienna. 

3- During 1966-1971, Vikram Sarabhai served as the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India. 

4- In 1971, he served as the Vice-President in the Fourth UN Conference on 'Peaceful uses of Atomic Energy'. 

5- From 1963 to 1971, he was the founder and chairman of Space Applications Centre. 

Vikram Sarabhai: Legacy

1- The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) is named after him. It is India's leading Space Research Organization for vehicle development in Kerala.

2- Vikram Sarabhai along with other industrialists played a major role in setting up the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. 

3- On December 30, 1972, on his first death anniversary, a commemorative Postal Stamp was released by Indian Postal Department. 

4- A lunar crater in the Sea of Serenity is named after him as Sarabhai Crater by International Astronomical Union in the year 1973. 

5- On September 20, 2019, Chandrayaan-2, the lander on India's moon mission is named after him. 

6- Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC) is named after him and is located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. 

7- On his 100th birth anniversary, Google commemorated Sarabhai's Doodle. 

Vikram Sarabhai: Interesting Facts

1- Once Vikram Sarabhai said, 'I pay more than Rs 4 crore in taxes, you can assume that my money, paid as tax, is being used for the space programme'. This statement came after a professor asked Sarabhai that why he was spending taxpayers money on space science, which was barely known in India.

2- He was famously known as the 'Cradle of Space Sciences' in India. 

3- Former ISRO Chairman, DR Kasturirangan in his address fondly recalled his interaction with the ISRO founder, Vikram Sarabhai. Kasturirangan was interviewed by Vikram Sarabhai himself for a job at PRL and his journey from PRL to ISRO. He stated, 'Dr Sarabhai had a way of testing people’s resolve by asking specific questions and not glossing over the subject. After he understood the candidate, he would spell out his vision and explain his ideas. He would make even those who are very junior to him feel at ease by establishing a personal connect'. 

4- Vikram Sarabhai also persuaded former ISRO chairman UR Rao to stay in India and worked for ISRO, rejecting an offer from Berkeley University. He told him that there are many things we can do in this country and that there was nothing like being a pioneer in India.  

Vikram Sarabhai: Awards

1- In the year 1966, Vikram Sarabhai was honoured with Padma Bhushan-- India's third-highest civilian award. 

2- In the year 1972, he was honoured posthumously with Padma Vibhushan-- India's second-highest civilian award. 

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