Dr Raja Ramanna, the man behind Pokhran I, an eminent nuclear physicist, technologist, administrator, a gifted musician, Sanskrit scholar.
Thread on another of the great scientists of modern India.
Dr. Raja Ramanna, born on January 28, 1925 in Tiptur, located in Tumkur district, to Ramanna and Rukmini, he was a student of Bishop Cotton’s, Bangalore and later Madras Christian College, where he studied arts and literature.
His mother came from a well to do family, daughter of a district judge, with a passion for literature. She was fluent in English as well as Kannada, composing poems and articles. His father was in the judicial service, a sports enthusiast.
While his early education was in Mysore, he later joined the Bishop Cotton School in Bangalore, where he developed an interest for classical music. He would later graduate from MCC with a degree in Physics, as well as a BA in Classical Music, his twin passions.
And finish his Post Graduation in Physics from Bombay University later on, as well as a Post Graduation in Music too.He got his PhD in Nuclear Physics from King;s College, London in 1954 and did his research at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment where he gained expertise.
Along with his work in nuclear Physics, Ramanna also continued to follow his passion in Classical Western Music, Western Philosophy, straddling two different worlds at the same time.
On his return to India, he joined BARC, where he worked under Homi Bhabha on classified nuclear projects, whom he considered his major influence. He had earlier met Bhabha in 1944, through Dr Alfred Mistoswki, of the Trinity College of Music.
He joined TIFR on December 1, 1949 when it was still in it’s development phase, and began to work on nuclear fission. He would soon contribute in several areas of nuclear physics, as well as organizing the physics program at BARC.
When India’s first research reactor Apsara was launched in 1956, Ramanna looked after the neutronic experiments, while A.S. Rao was the electronics specialist in cosmic ray studies, as well as the control and instrumentation work.
Homi Sethna managed the logistics support, heading the Indian Rare Earths Ltd, that supplied the material for the swimming pool reactor, while K.S.Singhvi handled the theoretical physics of the reactor,
Ramanna would make significant contribution in the process of neutron thermalisation, slowing down constants in water and berrylium oxide by using a pulsed neutron source. The neutron spectra emerging out of these moderating assemblies were also studied.
Apsara, once commissioned, made intense thermal neutron beams available for basic research, motivating Ramanna to undertake a program of experimental investigations of secondary radiations, emitted in thermal neutron-induced fission of U235.
The stochastic theory of fragment mass and charge distributions in fission is a unique contribution of Ramanna to fission theory, based on the model of a random exchange of nucleons between the two nascent fission fragments prior to scission.
The theory, could explain most of the observed features of fragment mass and charge distribution in low energy fission and their dependence on the excitation energy of the fissioning nucleus.
With the sudden death of Bhabha, it was Ramanna who too over as directing officer of India’s still fledgling nuclear program, as well as taking the initiative to develop the first nuke as well as the Pokhran Test site.
Ramanna designed and developed the first nuclear weapon in India, as well as sourcing the material needed. In 1974, he met Indira Gandhi and informed her, that India was ready to conduct nuclear tests on it’s own.
With Indira giving permission, he travelled all the way to Pokhran where the nuclear Test site was set up by him earlier. All the preparations for the test were conducted under extreme secrecy.
The first nuclear device in India was flown from Trombay to Pokhran, as Ramanna along with his team, had it installed, and made the necessary preparation in time for Indira Gandhi’s visit.
May 1974, Operation Smiling Buddha

India’s first ever nuclear test. The man behind it Dr. Raja Ramanna, along with Dr. Homi Sethna, India entered the exclusive nuclear club.
While Indira rewarded Dr. Ramanna with the Padma Vibhushan, Saddam Hussein, approached him in 1978, when he was on a visit to Baghdad to develop their nuclear bomb.
You have done enough for your country; don’t go back. Stay here and take over our nuclear programme. I will pay you whatever you want.- Saddam Hussein to Dr. Raja Ramanna.
Needless to say Dr. Ramanna was literally scared out of his wits by Saddam’s proposal, and after a sleepless night, took the first flight out of Baghdad, that was one narrow escape for him.
In his later years however Ramanna called for peaceful use of nuclear energy, and advocated disarmament. He would later serve as director of DRDO, and was a scientific advisor to the Defense Ministry in 2000.
He was a gifted musician too, an expert piano player. He authored a book on The Structure of Music in Raga And Western Systems. His autobiography Years of Pilgrimage is worth a read too.
He also served for some time as Minister of State for Defense in the VP Singh Govt, and was a nominated member of Rajya Sabha from 1997-2003. And was closely associated with IIT, Mumbai.
Dr Raja Ramanna passed away on Sept 24,2004 at the age of 79, but his legacy would forever remain in the form of Pokhran I, and his sterling work in India’s nuclear program, especially after the sudden death of Bhabha.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh
 

Keep Current with History Under Your Feet

History Under Your Feet Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

PDF

Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @HistorifyToday

Jan 31
Major Somnath Sharma, the first recipient of the Param Veer Chakra, who saved Srinagar from falling to Pakistani hands during the Battle of Badgam in the 1947 War.
Thread on his Jayanti today.
Major Somnath Sharma, born in the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh in 1923, came from a family with a military background. His father Major General Amarnath Sharma, was the first director general of Armed Medical Services post Independence.
Growing up with his grandfather Pandit Daulat Ram, he would often listen to the Gita and Krishna’s teaching to Arjun influenced him a lot. His maternal uncle Capt. Krishna Dutt Vasudev, had earlier died in WWII, defending a bridge in Malaya from the Japanese.
Read 26 tweets
Jan 30
One of the worst things to happen in recent times has been the Cancel culture, where you cancel/boycott someone because they said something that offended your snowflake sensibility.
Trigger happy idiots with one finger on the keyboard, get ready to cancel some one from the past , because they are ostensibly offended by what they said centuries back.
How do you seriously expect someone living centuries or even decades ago to confirm to your mindset which is shaped by the modern era? It seriously makes no sense.
Read 6 tweets
Jan 28
K.M.Cariappa also known as Kipper, the first Indian Commander in Chief of the Army, the only other Indian officer to hold the rank of field marshal, along with Sam Manekshaw. One of the finest generals ever, thread on his Jayanti today.
Coorg apart from it's natural beauty, is also famous for producing hockey players, and army men, The Kodavas, take pride in their martial traditions, carry guns, and their most famous dish is a mixture of steamed rice balls and pork curry.
Coorg has one of the grandest Dussehra celebrations on par with Mysore. It is a region, known for it’s high literacy rate, where education is given a priority. Considered as the cradle of Indian hockey, the region has given some outstanding players like M.P.Ganesh, M.M.Somaiyya
Read 40 tweets
Jan 28
Punjab Kesari, Lala Lajpat Rai, one of the Lal-Bal-Pal trio, founder of DAV, Punjab National Bank, a great freedom fighter, who was an inspiration to a whole generation of revolutionaries from Azad to Bhagat Singh. #LalaLajpatRai
Thread on his Jayanti today.
#LalaLajpatRai was born on Jan 28, 1865, in a tiny village called Dhudika, in the Ferozepur district of Punjab, on the 28th of January, Lala Lajpat Rai, to an Urdu teacher, Lala Radha Kishan and Gulab Devi.
Born into a family that valued, freedom and self-respect, he, imbibed the values, that were to define him. Growing up amidst poverty, he , nevertheless managed to complete his education, studying law at Govt. College, Lahore. #LalaLajpatRai
Read 49 tweets
Jan 27
#TodayInHistory The Siege of Leningrad ends in 1944, after 872 days, one of the longest ever sieges, that devastated the city, led to the death of more than a million civilians, and was one of the major defeats for the German army.
Leningrad, along with Stalingrad, and Moscow would be the major turning points of the War, as the Wehrmacht, lost due to the biting cold,winter and the dogged resistance, counter attack by the Red Army.
Hitler was so confident of the victory, that he even printed invitations for victory celebrations. He actually wanted the city to be totally razed to the ground, as it was a major industrial center, for the Soviet Union.
Read 6 tweets
Jan 27
Typically when we speak of Mewar, it usually ends with Rana Pratap and the Battle of Haldighati. Not much is really known about his succesors, nor his son Amar Singh,who like his father, fought 17 battles with the Mughals, winning a good many of them.
While Rana Pratap’s rivalry with Akbar is well known and chronicled, not known is the fact that his son Amar Singh fought an equally long war with Jahangir, before he was forced to surrender.
Sadly many historians evaluated him on the basis of the treaty with Jahangir, not understanding the fact that it was a rather painful decision, and even that treaty was not complete surrender.
Read 29 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!


This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!

Ethereum

0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy

Bitcoin

3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

:(