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Vikram Sarabhai was born on 12 August 1919 in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat India. The Sarabhai family was an important and rich business family. His father Ambalal Sarabhai was an affluent industrialist and owned many mills in Gujarat. Vikram Sarabhai was one of the eight children of Ambalal and Sarla Devi.To educate her eight children, Sarla Devi established a private school on the lines of the Montessori method, propounded by Maria Montessori, which was gaining fame. As the Sarabhai family was involved in the Indian freedom struggle, many leaders of the freedom struggle like Mahatma Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, Rabindranath Tagore and Jawaharlal Nehru used to frequent the Sarabhai house. This is said to have greatly influenced the young Vikram Sarabhai and played an important role in the growth of his personality.Sarabhai matriculated from the Gujarat College in Ahmedabad after passing the Intermediate Science examination. After that he moved to England and joined the St John's College, Cambridge, University of Cambridge. He received the Tripos in Natural Sciences (Cambridge) in 1940. With the escalation of the Second World War, Sarabhai returned to India and joined the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and began research in cosmic rays under the guidance of Sir C. V. Raman, a Nobel Prize winner. He returned to Cambridge after the war and was awarded a PhD in 1947 for his thesis titled Cosmic Ray investigation in Tropical Latitudes.Marriage and childrenIn September, 1942, Vikram Sarabhai married Mrinalini Sarabhai, a celebrated classical dancer of India. The wedding was held in Chennai without anyone from Vikram's side of the family attending the wedding ceremony because of the ongoing Quit India movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. Vikram and Mrinalini had two children - Kartikeya Sarabhai and Mallika Sarabhai. Mallika Sarabhai is a renowned dancer herself and has been awarded with the Palme d'Or.Physical Research LaboratoryVikram returned to an independent India in 1947. Looking at the needs of the country, he persuaded charitable trusts controlled by his family and friends to endow a research institution near home in Ahmedabad. Thus, Vikram Sarabhai founded the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad on November 11, 1947. He was only 28 at that time. Sarabhai was a creator and cultivator of institutions and PRL was the first step in that direction.]]DeathVikram Sarabhai died on 30 December 1971 at Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He was visiting Thiruvananthapuram to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Thumba railway station. During his last days, he was under a great amount of stress due to excessive travelling and a huge work-load which adversely affected his health.
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