Raja Ramanna


Raja Ramanna
Raja Ramanna
ರಾಜಾ ರಾಮಣ್ಣ

Raja Ramanna (1925-2004)
Born 28 January 1925(1925-01-28)
Tumkur, Karnataka State, British Indian Empire
Died September 24, 2004(2004-09-24) (aged 79)
Mumbai, Maharashtra State, India
Residence Mumbai, India
Citizenship India
Nationality Indian
Fields Physics
Institutions Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
Defence Research and Development Organisation
International Atomic Energy Agency
Ministry of Defence
National Institute of Advanced Studies
Alma mater Madras Christian College
King’s College London, United Kingdom
Known for Operation Smiling Buddha
Operation Shakti
Indian nuclear programme
Notable awards Padma Shri (1968)
Padma Bhushan (1973)
Padma Vibhushan (1975)

Raja Ramanna (Kannada: ರಾಜಾ ರಾಮಣ್ಣ; January 28, 1925 - September 24, 2004), D.Phil., was an Indian nuclear scientist and a prominent physicist, is best known for his leadership directing the research integral for the development of Indian nuclear programme in its early stages. Having started and joined the nuclear programme in 1964, Ramanna worked under Homi Jehangir Bhabha, and later directed this program in 1967. Ramanna expanded and supervised the scientific research on nuclear weapons and was the first directing officer of the small team of scientists that supervised and carried out the test of the nuclear device, under a codename Smiling Buddha, in 1974.

Ramanna associated and directed the India's nuclear weapons for more than 4 decades, and also initiate industrial defense programmes for the Indian Armed Forces. Because of his directing role and leadership for the developing the Indian nuclear programme for 4 decades, Ramanna is often considered as the "Father of the Indian nuclear programme", and also was a recipient of highest Indian civil decorations for honoring his services to build the nuclear programme. Ramanna died in Mumbai in 2004 at the age of 79. As a physicist and scientist, Dr. Raja Ramanna received highly respected in both India and academic scientists from Pakistan, and remembered as a leading figure in the development of nuclear physics.

Contents

Biography

Education and Musics

Raja Ramanna, a native of Bombay, was born in 1924 to a Kannada family in British Indian Empire. Ramanna was a versatile scholar interested in classical Western music, and Western literature, and science. Beginning his studies at Bishop Cotton Boys' School, Bangalore, where he mostly studied literature and classical musics. He he later attended from Madras Christian College and resided at St.Thomas's Hall where he continued his interests in arts and literature but soon shifted back to physics. At Madras Christian College, Ramanna obtained B.Sc. in Physics and gained B.A. degree in Classical music in 1947.

The same year, he moved to his native town and went on to attended the Bombay University where gained his M.Sc. in Physics, followed by M.Mus. in Music theory. Ramanna was awarded and received Commonwealth Scholarship, and traveled to Great Britain in 1952 to complete his doctorate. Ramanna attended London University's King's College, a constitute college of London University, and enrolled in doctoral programme there. In 1954, Raja Ramanna obtained Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics and also did a L.R.S.M. from King's College London. In United Kingdom, Ramanna was offered to do his research at Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) where he gained expertise in nuclear fuel cycle and reactor designing. While in U.K., Ramanna enjoyed his interests in European music and Western philosophy, attending Opera and Orchestra performances every week.

Western music and philosophy remained life long passion for Ramanna, and after returning to India, Ramanna accomplished himself as being one of the talented pianist having performed classical European music, at many a public concert in India and abroad but had a keen ear for Indian classical music. His music talent also reached a wide appreciation in adjacent and neighbor country, Pakistan. In 1956, Ramanna was invited by National College of Arts and National Academy of Performing Arts to perform deliver a lecture on classical piano and also performed an live ensemble where he received jubilant praise and honor for his live performance.

Indian nuclear programme

Apart of his musical talent, Ramanna was one of the secretive personalities surrounding the Indian nuclear programme. A programme started and envisioned by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947, and was being directed by Homi J. Bhabha. After gaining his doctorate in physics, Ramanna returned to India in 1954 where he had joined the senior technical staff of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), where he worked under Homi J. Bhabha in classified nuclear weapons projects. In 1958, Ramanna was made its Chief Directing Officer (CDO) where he was tasked to developed the ingenious nuclear fuel cycle critical for the development of the nuclear device.

While Bhaba dedicated to developed this programme, Ramanna inducted by to choose the preferable nuclear test site to carry out the weapon-testing experiments. The exact dates are unknown, but Ramanna chose and began the underground construction of nuclear test site at Indian Army base, the Pokhran Test Range (PTR). After the disastrous death of Homi Bhaba, Ramanna was immediately elevated to became the directing officer of this programme. Ramanna, serving as the CDO of BARC, began to take initiate to developed the first nuclear weapon. At BARC, the initial designing of nuclear weapon was completed under his guidance and the necessary nuclear weapons' explosive material for this weapon was completed under Ramanna by 1970. As the first nuclear device was completed and developed under his guidance, Ramanna went to Indian Prime Minister's Office where he had notified Indian premier Indira Gandhi about the successful development of the nuclear device.

In 1974, Ramanna and other officials of the BARC verbally notified Indira Gandhi, Premier of India that time, that a India was ready to conduct the test of its small miniature nuclear device. Indira Gandhi verbally gave permission to Ramanna to carried out the test, and preparation was taken under Ramanna. Ramanna immediately traveled to Pokhran to pay a visit of the nuclear site that was constructed under his guidance. Preparations were completed under extreme secrecy and the first nuclear device was flew from Trombay to Pokhran Test Range with Ramanna. Ramanna and his team installed the nuclear device in the nuclear test site and necessary preparations were done before Indira Gandhi's visit to his site. In the morning of May 1974, Ramanna conducted the first test of a small nuclear device under codenamed Smiling Buddha. Pictures of the l Mrs. Indira Gandhi inspecting the aftermath of the explosion site were flashed on front pages of newspapers in India and the world over with Dr. Ramanna and Dr. Homi Sethna, India's top nuclear scientist duo, by her side. Following this achievement, Ramanna gained international famed and was also honored with India's highest civilian awards the same year by the Indira Gandhi's administration.

Later his career, Ramanna advocated for the strict policies to prevent nuclear proliferation, and was also a good friend of Munir Ahmad Khan, Pakistan's nuclear supremo. On the invitation of Khan, Ramanna traveled to Pakistan where he attended the annual International Physics Conference to deliver a lecture on nuclear physics, notably lectures on nuclear force. Ramanna began lobbying for peace process between India and Pakistan, and was a leading force to prevent nuclear escalation in the region. Later in 1980s and 1990s, Ramanna served as Director of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and as scientific adviser to the Defence Minister of India in 2000. Ramanna also joined the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1984 where he served as the President of the 30th General Conference of the IAEA.

Minister of State

In 1990, Ramanna was made Union minister of State for defence in 1990 by V.P. Singh administration. In 1997, encouraged by the politicians, Ramanna ran for the parliamentary elections and became a Member of Parliament through the upper house, the Rajya Sabha. In 2000, Ramanna was also the first director of National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore.

Institute Named After Ramanna

Posts held

Awards

Books

  • The Structure of Music in Raga and Western Systems

See also

  • List of Indians
  • Indian science

Further reading

External links


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