BIOGRAPHY: Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai (1919-1971), Indian Icon.

Dr. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai Was an India Physicist and Astronomer from the famous Sarabhai family in India who were major industrialists committed to the Indian independence movement. Dr.Vikram was born on August 12, 1919, in Ahmadabad, India.

Vikram Sarabhai married a classical dancer Mrs. Mrinalini in 1942 and they had two children, a girl and a boy. His daughter Mallika later became an actress and his son Kartikeya became an active person in science.

Vikram attended Gujarat College in Ahmedabad, India but later moved to Cambridge University of England where he studied natural science in 1940, he returned to Cambridge in 1945 to pursue his Ph.D. He also wrote a book “Cosmic Ray Investigations in Tropical Latitudes,” in 1947 during his Ph.D. pursuit.

Regarded as one of the most prestigious persons in India, Dr. Vikram is known as the cradle of space sciences in India. He founded the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in 1947 with support from the Karmkshetra Educational Foundation and the Ahmedabad Education Society. Prof. Kalpathi Ramakrishna Ramanathan was the first Director of the institute.

Dr. Vikram also set up the first market research organization in India which is the Operations Research Group (ORG). Sarabhai was instrumental in setting up the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmadabad in 1962.

Sarabhai was awarded two of India’s highest honors, the Padma Bhushan (1966) and the Padma Vibhushan (awarded posthumously in 1972). He also had many prestigious positioned when he was alive such as President of the Physics section, Indian Science Congress (1962), President of the General Conference of the I.A.E.A., Vienna (1970), Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India (1966–1971), Vice-President, Fourth UN Conference on ‘Peaceful uses of Atomic Energy’ (1971), Founder and Chairman (1963–1971), Space Applications Centre.

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Dr. Vikram Sarabhai died in Trivandrum on December 30 1971 due to cardiac arrest. His body was cremated in Ahmedabad.


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