Homi Jehangir Bhabha — The architect of India’s nuclear energy program.
He was a multifaceted personality a scientist, visionary and institution builder.
Homi Bhabha’s father and uncle wanted him to become an engineer, so he could eventually join the Tata Iron and Steel Company in Jamshedpur. At Cambridge, his interest shifted to theoretical physics and in a letter to his father, he wrote –
“I seriously say to you that business or job as an engineer is not the thing for me…… I am burning with a desire to do physics. I will and must do it sometime. It is my only ambition….”It is this realisation that has given India a great scientist and visionary .
In 1939, he came to India for a brief holiday in India and was unable to go back as World War II had started.
He took up the post of Reader in Theoretical Physics at the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) in Bangalore under Nobel laureate Sir C.V. Raman. Here he established the Cosmic Ray Research Unit.
He founded two world-class research institutions He played a big role in the establishment of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.
A significant factor that contributed for the growth of nuclear sciences and its applications was Bhabha’s rapport with the then Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who reposed complete confidence in him. There was a great synergy in thinking between Nehru and Bhabha with respect to industrialization and scientific research, evolving hand-in-hand. He advocated the peaceful use of atomic energy and was against manufacturing atomic bombs.
Bhabha was a person of perfection, purpose and excellence. He ensured these qualities in all his endeavours -research, management, buildings and environment.
His total conviction, never-accepting mediocrity, never compromising on excellence, meeting the challenges head-on with confidence made him a unique personality. Bhabha was a great scientific manager and followed the mantra of the right man for the right job
His life is an example for all of us, which stood for three concepts – deserve, desire and demonstrate.
Bhabha was also a painter and a classical music and opera enthusiast and an amateur botanist.