Known as the cradle of space sciences in India, the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) was founded in 1947
by Vikram Sarabhai. PRL had a modest beginning at his residence, the "RETREAT", with research on cosmic
The institute was formally established at the M.G. Science Institute, Ahmedabad, on 11 November 1947 with
support from the Karmkshetra Educational Foundation and the Ahmedabad Education Society. Prof. Kalpathi
Ramakrishna Ramanathan was the first Director of the institute. The initial focus was research on cosmic
rays and the properties of the upper atmosphere. Research areas were expanded to include theoretical
physics and radio physics later with grants from the Atomic Energy Commission.
He led the Sarabhai family-owned business conglomerate. His interests varied from science to sports to
statistics. He set up the Operations Research Group (ORG), the first market research organization in the
country. Most notable among the many institutes he helped set up are the Nehru Foundation for Development
in Ahmedabad, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), the Ahmedabad Textile Industry's
Research Association (ATIRA) and the (CEPT). Along with his wife Mrinalini Sarabhai, he founded the
Darpana Academy of Performing Arts. Other projects and institutions initiated or established by him
include the Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) in Kalpakkam, Variable Energy Cyclotron Project in Calcutta,
Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) in Hyderabad and Uranium Corporation of India Limited
(UCIL) in Jaduguda, Jharkhand.
Sarabhai started a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian satellite. As a result, the first
Indian satellite, Aryabhata, was put in orbit in 1975 from a Russian cosmodrome. He was the founder of
Indian Space Research Organisation.
Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad