Children everything has got two sides. One is positive which leads us towards progress and the other is negative which leads us towards destruction. It all depends how we apply it. The same thing applies to Science. Our former President late APJ Abdul Kalam applied science for the prosperity of human race whereas the same science was used for the destruction of whole civilisation way back on August 6, 1945.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam embodied the new India story. Born into a poor Muslim family in Tamil Nadu, he rose by sheer force of education and conviction to become a driving force behind India’s space and missile programmes, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister, Head of the Defence Research and Development Organisation and finally the 11th President of India, like no other.
Popular as a scientist and president there was another side of Kalam—the writer. His books, including his autobiography Wings of Fire is in a beguilingly style and tells a journey from hardship to professional success and his last book on his gurus My Journey records his life from Rameshwaram. It narrates his spiritual experiences with Pramukh Swami, Head of the Swaminarayan sect. More than one million copies have been sold of both these books. Besides these two well known books he has also written India 2020; Ignited Minds; Guiding Souls; Dialogues on the Purpose of Life and Transforming Dreams into Actions. Born on October 15, 1931 at Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu he graduated in 1954 from Saint Joseph’s College in Physics and post-graduated from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960 in Aeronautical Engineering. While working for ISRO Kalam made significant contribution as project director to develop India’s first Indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which injected the Rohini Satellite in the earth orbit in July 1980 making India an exclusive space club member. After working for two decades at ISRO and mastering launch vehicle technologies, Kalam took up the responsibility of developing guided missiles at the Defence Research and Development Organisation as chief executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme in 1982. He was the man behind the weaponisation of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with DAE, which made India a nuclear state. He was the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Secretary DRDO from July 1992 to December 1999.He also served as Principal Advisor to the Government of India, Cabinet Minister, from 1999 to November 2001, responsible for policies, strategies and missions for many development applications.
For him Religion was Learning
First vegetarian President APJ Abdul Kalam redefined the presidency in unique ways. His herbal garden at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the instant connect with the kids and his direct involvement in the development of five missiles namely, Prithvi, Trishul, Akash, Nag and Agni added to his charm. Infact after completing his tenure as President, travellers were often pleasantly surprised to see Kalam standing in queues during security checks at airports, accepting no special VIP privileges. He is the only President till now under whose name a film has been made title I am Kalam directed by Nila Madhab Panda. In fact because of his humbleness and popularity among people both at the national as well at the international level, for the first time in the world history, the US White House Flag was half down as a tribute to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. The United Nations Organization declared his birthday as the World’s Students Day. Kalam was an unusual Muslim, who liked reading Bhagvad Gita, listened to Carnatic music, liked to play Rudra Veena, and had praying rights at the Rameshwaram Temple. In truth Kalam was neither a Muslim nor a Hindu: his religion was learning. Such was Kalam.
The Flip Side of Science
On August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber named the Enola Gay left the island of Tinian for Hiroshima, Japan. This section recounts the first atomic bombing. Hiroshima was chosen as the primary target since it had remained largely untouched by bombing raids, and the bomb’s effects could be clearly measured.
While President Truman had hoped for a purely military target, some advisers believed that bombing an urban area might break the fighting will of the Japanese people. Hiroshima was a major port and a military headquarters, and therefore a strategic target. Also, visual bombing, rather than radar, would be used so that photographs of the damage could be taken. Since Hiroshima had not been seriously harmed by bombing raids, these photographs could present a fairly clear picture of the bomb’s damage.
A T-shaped bridge at the junction of the Honkawa and Motoyasu rivers near downtown Hiroshima was the target. At 8:15 a.m., the bomb nicknamed ‘Little Boy’ exploded, instantly killing 80,000 to 140,000 people and seriously injuring 100,000 more. The bomb exploded some 1,900 feet above the center of the city, over Shima Surgical Hospital, some 70 yards southeast of the Industrial Promotional Hall (now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome). Crew members of the Enola Gay saw a column of smoke rising fast and intense fires springing up. The burst temperature was estimated to reach over a million degrees Celsius, which ignited the surrounding air, forming a fireball some 840 feet in diameter. Eyewitnesses more than 5 miles away said its brightness exceeded the sun tenfold.In less than one second, the fireball had expanded to 900 feet. The blast wave shattered windows for a distance of ten miles and was felt as far away as 37 miles. Over two-thirds of Hiroshima’s buildings were demolished. The hundreds of fires, ignited by the thermal pulse, combined to produce a firestorm that had incinerated everything within about 4.4 miles of ground zero.
About 30 minutes after the explosion, a heavy rain began falling in areas to the northwest of the city. This “Black Rain” was full of dirt, dust, soot and highly radioactive particles that were sucked up into the air at the time of the explosion and during the fire. It caused contamination even in areas that were remote from the explosion.
On August 9, 1945, another American B-29 bomber, Bock’s Car, left Tinian carrying “Fat Man”, a plutonium implosion-type bomb. Like Hiroshima, the immediate aftermath in Nagasaki was a nightmare.
Ten years later
Around a decade after the attack in Hiroshima and Nagasaki the long-term effects suffered by atomic bomb survivors began to become apparent. The increase in cancer incidences was first noted in 1956, and shortly afterwards, tumour registries were started in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki to collect data on the excess cancer risks caused by the radiation exposure.Among the effects, one of the most deadly was leukemia – disproportionately affecting children.
An increase in leukemia appeared about two years after the attacks and peaked around four to six years later. Around 1,900 cancer deaths can be attributed to the after-effects of the bombs. An epidemiology study by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation states that from 1950 to 2000, 46 per cent of leukemia deaths and 11per cent of solid cancer deaths among the bomb survivors were due to radiation from the bombs. —Aniket Raja
( August 9, 2015, Page 46-47)