Homi Jehangir Bhabha was born in an aristocratic family in Bombay on October 30, 1909. As the son of a barrister he grew up in an environment where education held great importance. He passed the Senior Cambridge Examination when he was sixteen, and went to Cambridge to attain a degree in Mechanical Engineering in Gonvile and Caius College. He was greatly influenced by his mathematics teacher, Paul Dirac, and was initiated into the fascinating world of mathematics and theoretical physics. Armed with a honours degree in 1930, he began research at the Cavendish Laboratories in Cambridge. His first paper was published in 1933 which was followed by many more. He received his PhD in 1935 and continued to stay in Cambridge until 1939.
During this period he travelled to Europe and met scientists like Neil Bohr, Pauli and Fermi among others. Bhabha was in India, when the war broke out in Europe and this marked the beginning of his career in India. In 1940, on the behest of C V Raman, head of the Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, Bhabha joined the institute as a Reader in Physics. He was elected as a member of the Royal Society in 1942. Later he was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, and in 1943, became the President of the Physics section of the Indian Science Congress.
Bhabha, aware of the importance of translating theory into experiments, began putting his knowledge in the practical study of Cosmic Rays. Realising the need for an institute fully devoted to fundamental research, he, helped with funds from J R D Tata, established the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Bombay in 1945.
Bhabha was soon a force to reckon with in the international science circles as his studies in the field of Atomic Energy were considered of great importance. He served as the President of the United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, in Geneva in 1955 and as President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics from 1960-1963.