Chairman, AEC – Raja Ramanna

Raja Ramanna (28 January 1928 – 24 September 2004) was an Indian physicist who is best known for his role in India’s nuclear program during its early stages.

Having joined the nuclear program in 1964, Ramanna worked under Homi Jehangir Bhabha, and later became the director of this program in 1967. Ramanna extended and supervised 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 the code name Smiling Buddha, in 1974.

Ramanna was associated with and directed India’s nuclear program for more than four decades, and also initiated industrial defence programmes for the Indian Armed Forces. He was a recipient of Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian decoration, in honour of his services to build India’s nuclear programme. Ramanna died in Mumbai in 2004 at the age of 79.

Chairman, AEC – Sethna, H. N.

Homi Nusserwanji Sethna (24 August 1923 – 5 September 2010) was an Indian nuclear scientist and a chemical engineer, gaining international fame as the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (India) during the time when the first nuclear test, code name Smiling Buddha in Pokhran Test Range in 1974 was conducted. He was the primary and central figure in India’s civilian nuclear program as well as the construction of nuclear power plants.

He was awarded the second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan in 1975, by Government of India.

Earlier in his career, he had full technical responsibility for setting up of the Thorium extraction plant at Alwaye, Kerala India, for separation of rare earth from monazite sands.

Director, RRCAT – Dilip Devidas Bhawalkar

Dilip Devidas Bhawalkar is an Indian optical physicist and the founder director of Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), an institute under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). He is credited with pioneering research in optics and lasers in India. He is a recipient of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, the highest Indian award in science and technology. Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian award of the Padma Shri in 2000.

He was born on 16.10.1940.  Completed his graduate (BSc) in 1959 and post graduate (MSc) studies in 1961 at Sagar University, topping the examinations for which he received Chintamanrao Gold Medal from the University. He continued his studies at Southampton University, securing a master’s degree (MSc) in Electronics and a doctoral degree (PhD) in Lasers and started his career as a faculty member at the same university in 1966.

He returned to India in 1967 and accepted the job of a Scientific Officer at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to continue his work on lasers.

When the Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT) was started by the Department of Atomic Energy, Bhawalkar was appointed as its founder DIrector.

Bhawalkar is a Distinguished Scientist of the Centre for Advanced Technology and a Distinguished Honorary Professor of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.