When Vikram Sarabhai worked from home.

These are crazy times to say the least. All your immaculately planned projects are thwarted. If you feel frustrated here is something to inspire you :

It was Sept 1939 and the war had broken out in Europe. Ambalal Sarabhai was worried and insisted his brothers to return home immediately. Somehow, months into the war Vikram Sarabhai returned to India. He was however worried about his studies being interrupted . He started making frantic communications with Cambridge , finally they asked him that the he can continue his “work from home” as long as it can be supervised by CV Raman. So in 1940, Vikram Sarabhai started his work from home in India ,Bengaluru to be specific.

Robert Millikan, an American scientist and winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize for his work on the electron charge, is the man who coined the term “cosmic rays”. He came to India in 1937 to acquire data for his world survey of cosmic ray intensity, during which time he visited Raman. In 1940, he visited him again to carry out stratospheric balloon ascents. As South India is located right on the path of the magnetic equator, it was of particular significance. I think the visit of Millikan suggested Raman conduct a much more detailed high-altitude survey on cosmic rays at various latitudes in India. Due to the ongoing war, procuring balloons and radio equipment was next to impossible.

Vikram Sarabhai chose the Geiger counter to conduct his work. This was indeed a remarkable feat and led to the publication of his first paper, ‘The Time Distribution of Cosmic Rays’, which he presented to the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1942. Introducing him, Raman said, “Young Vikram Sarabhai has been brought up with a silver spoon in his mouth.” He has started to do original experiments and is presenting his first paper to a scientific audience. I have great faith in him that he will contribute much to India and to the growth of science in our country. “

Amidst this global pandemic many of us might have been hit with adversities but this incident reminds us that tough times can steer us to make remarkable achievements as long as we think outside the box. What is your “Geiger counter” ? Can you make some changes ? Share it in comments.

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