Homi Jehangir Bhabha

Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha was an Indian nuclear physicist, founding director, and professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

Updated: July 17, 2020

Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha was an Indian nuclear physicist, founding director, and professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). Also known as "father of the Indian nuclear programme", Bhabha was the founding director of the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) which is now named the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in his honour. TIFR and AEET were the cornerstone of Indian development of nuclear weapons which Bhabha also supervised as director. He was born on 30th October 1909 and died on 24th January 1966.


Childhood of Homi J. Bhabha:

Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha was born into a wealthy and prominent industrial family. He was born on 30th October 1909. His father was Jehangir Hormusji Bhabha, a well known Parsi lawyer and his mother was Meheren.


Education of Homi J. Bhabha:

Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha received his early studies at Bombay's Cathedral and John Connon School and entered Elphinstone College at age 15 after passing his Senior Cambridge Examination with Honours. He then attended the Royal Institute of Science in 1927 before joining Caius College of Cambridge University. During the 1931-1932 academic year, Bhabha was awarded the Salomons Studentship in Engineering. In 1932, he obtained first class on his Mathematical Tripos and was awarded the Rouse Ball travelling studentship in mathematics.


Some facts about Homi J. Bhabha:

  • In January 1933, Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha received his doctorate in nuclear physics after publishing his first scientific paper, "The Absorption of Cosmic radiation". The paper helped him win the Isaac Newton Studentship in 1934, which he held for the next three years.
  • In 1935, Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha published a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series A, in which he performed the first calculation to determine the cross section of electron-positron scattering, which was later named Bhabha scattering, in honour of his contributions in the field.
  • In 1936, with Walter Heitler, he co-authored a paper, "The Passage of Fast Electrons and the Theory of Cosmic Showers" in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series A.
  • His major contribution included his work on Compton scattering, R-process, and furthermore the advancement of nuclear physics.
  • In 1937, Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha was awarded the Senior Studentship of the 1851 exhibition, which helped him continue his work at Cambridge until the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
  • In 1945, he established the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay, and the Atomic Energy Commission in 1948, serving as its first chairman.
  • In 1948, Nehru led the appointment of Bhabha as the director of the nuclear program and tasked Bhabha to develop the nuclear weapons soon after.
  • In the 1950s, Bhabha represented India in IAEA conferences, and served as President of the United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, Switzerland in 1955.
  • Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha was awarded the Adams Prize in 1942 and Padma Bhushan in 1954.
  • In January 1966, Bhabha died in a plane crash near Mont Blanc, while heading to Vienna, Austria to attend a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Scientific Advisory Committee.
  • The Homi Bhabha Fellowship Council has been giving Homi Bhabha Fellowships since 1967. Other noted institutions in his name are the Homi Bhabha National Institute, an Indian deemed university and the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, India.


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