Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai received PhD (1947) from University of Cambridge, UK. He worked as Professor of Cosmic Ray Physics and Director, Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmadabad; also Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization (1962-71) and Atomic Energy Commission (1966-71), Government of India.
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Sarabhai was primarily concerned with the time variations of cosmic rays. He inferred that meteorological effects could not entirely account for the observed daily variations of cosmic rays and that these effects could be estimated and corrections applied to cosmic ray time variations. He envisioned the tremendous scope of research in space science to address to the country’s problems in communication, education, meteorology, geodesy, remote sensing and other areas.
Other Contributions: Architect of PRL, Sarabhai put India on the world map of space science and technology. He was responsible for setting up the Space Science and Technology Centre near Thumba and an Experimental Satellite Communication Earth Station at Ahmedabad. He was instrumental in setting up the Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Vikram Sarabhai Community Science Centre. He was a rare combination of an innovative scientist, a progressive industrialist, a humanist and a visionary. He was Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the (Union) Cabinet; Cosmic Ray Commission, IUPAP; and also INSA Council (1967-68).
Awards and Honours: Professor Sarabhai was conferred the SS Bhatnagar Prize (1962), Padma Bhushan (1966) and Padma Vibhushan (1972-posthumous). He was elected President, Physics Section, Indian Science Congress (1962), Indian Geophysical Union (1970-71), 14th IAEA Conference, and Fourth UN Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy (Vice President). He was also elected Member/Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, International Geophysical Union, Cambridge Philosophical Society, and Physical Society, London.