Google Doodle is celebrating the 100th birthday of award-winning Indian physicist Vikram Sarabhai. The industrialist, and innovator Vikram Sarabhai, is regarded as the father of India’s space program. The doodle today is illustrated by Mumbai-based Pavan Rajurkar. He believed in using science and technology as “levers of development”. His personal interests included cosmic rays, rockets and satellites. Dr. Sarabhai was born on this day in 1919 in the city of Ahmedabad (then Ahmadabad). He attended Gujarat College before earning his doctorate at Cambridge, England.
He established the Indian National Committee for Space Research in 1962. The organization was later renamed to Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The establishment of Indian National Committee for Space Research led to the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in southern India. The station had its first successful launch on November 21, 1963. When Aryabhata went into orbit in 1975, Sarabhai realized his dream of an Indian satellite.
“There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation,” said Dr. Sarabhai following the launch of Russia’s Sputnik satellite. “To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose… We must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.”
Sarabhai’s contribution extends far beyond space program and starting the Indian Space Research Organization. He also founded a number of important organizations in his homeland. When he was just 28 years old, he started the Physical Research Laboratory. He also started the Indian Institute of Management and the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology. He also served as the chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission.
Dr. Sarabhai’s commitment to science education also led to the Community Science Center in Ahmedabad. A crater on the moon was named in his honor in 1973. ISRO launched the Chandrayaan-2 mission last month with the goal of becoming only the fourth country to land on the moon. The Vikram lander of the mission is scheduled to touch down on the lunar surface on September 7, 2019. The touchdown will be perfect homage to the man who put India in the frontier of space exploration.