As mentioned earlier Bhabha jointly with W.Heitler explained the cosmic-ray shower formation in apaper published in 1937. Before this the mechanism responsible for shower formation was the subjectof much speculation.The important contributions made by Bhabha while working at Cambridge have been summarised byG. Venkataraman (in his book, Bhabha and His Magnificent Obsessions, Universities Press, Hyderabad,1994) as :The explanation of relativistic exchange scattering (Bhabha Scattering).
The theory of production of electron and positron showers in cosmic rays (Bhabha-Heitlertheory).
Speculation about the Yukawa particle related to which was his suggestion of the name meson.
Prediction of relativistic time dilatation effects in the decay of the meson.About the importance of Bhabha's research work Cecil Frank Powell (1903-1969) who was awardedthe 1950 Nobel Prize for physics wrote: "Homi Bhabha made decisive contributions to ourunderstanding of how they (the showers) developed in terms of electromagnetic processes. He wasalso well-known at this time for his attempts to account for those elementary particles then known toexist by a method using group theory. He was thus a very early exponent of those methods usedmany years later for a similar purpose by Gell-Mann and others. My friend, Leopold Infeld says that hewas a distinguished and elegant theorist and his papers were always written in the best of taste".It was Bhabha who suggested the name 'meson' now used for a class of elementary particles. WhenCarl David Anderson (1905-91) discovered a new particle in the cosmic radiation with a mass betweenthat of electron and the proton he named it 'mesoton' which was subsequently changed by him tomesotron presumably at the advice of Millikan. Bhabha in a short note to Nature (February 1939)proposed the name 'meson'. In this note he wrote: "The name 'mesotron' has been suggested byAnderson and Neddermeyer for the new particle found in cosmic radiation with a mass intermediatebetween that of the electron and the proton. It is felt that the 'tr' in this word is redundant, since itdoes not belong to the Greek root 'meso' for middle; the 'tr' in neutron and electron belong, of course,to the roots "neutr" and "electra".... It would therefore be more logical and also shorter to call the newparticle a meson instead of a mesotron." Anderson's particle (mu-meson) was first thought to be theparticle predicted by Hideki Yukawa (1907-81) that was thought to carry the strong nuclear force andhold the nucleus together. However, later when it was found that its interaction with nucleons was soinfrequent it became doubtful whether it could perform the role described by Yukawa, that is to act asnuclear 'glue'. This was finally resolved when in 1947 C.F. Powell discovered a particle again in cosmicradiation with a mass of 264 times that of the electron (pi-meson or pion). Pion interacted verystrongly with nucleons and thus filled precisely Yukawa's predicted role. Mu-meson or muon is thedecay product of pi-meson.In 1939 when the Second World War broke out, Bhabha was in India. He came for a short holiday.However, the war changed his plan. Most of the scientists in England had to take part in war activitiesand there was no scope for doing basic research. So Bhabha had to abandon his plan to return toEngland to resume his research work at Cambridge. It may be recalled here that Prasanta ChandraMahalanobis (1893-1972) who after completing the Physics Tripos made arrangement to work underC.T.R. Wilson, the inventor of the cloud chamber, at the Cavendish Laboratory came back to India fora short vacation. He also could not go back because the First World War broke out. In 1940 Bhabha joined the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore where a Readership in Theoretical Physics wasspecially created for him. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1888-1970) was then the Director of theInstitute. Bhabha was made a Professor in 1944. Vikram Sarabhai (1919-71) also spent a short periodat the Institute when Bhabha was there. At the Indian Institute of Science Bhabha guided research oncosmic rays. He organised a group of young researchers in experimental and theoretical aspects of cosmic ray research. After spending a few years in India Bhabha was no longer interested in goingback to England. Perhaps this was because of his growing sense of responsibility towards hismotherland. Gradually he became convinced that it was his duty to build up research groups in thefrontier of scientific knowledge. On April 20, 1944, Bhabha in a letter to SubrahmanyanChandrasekhar (1910-95) wrote: "...I have recently come to the view that provided properappreciation and financial support are forthcoming, 'it was one's duty to stay in one's country and
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