Vikram Ambalal Sarabhi was born on August 12, 1919 at Ahmedabad in an affluent family of progressive industrialists. He was one of eight children of Ambalal and Sarla Devi. He had his early education in a private school, "Retreat" run by his parents on Montessori lines.
In September, 1942, Vikram Sarabhai married Mrinalini Sarabhai, a celebrated classical dancer. The wedding was held in Chennai without anyone from Vikram's side of family attending the wedding ceremony because of the ongoing Quit India movement led by Mahatma Gandhi.
Vikram and Mrinalini had two children - Kartiyeka and Mallika. Vikram Sarabhai had a troubled marriage and was in long term relationship with Dr. Kamala Choudhary.
His daughter Mallika Sarabhai was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highhest civilian honor for the year 2010 and his son KArtiyeka Sarabhai was awarded the PAdma Shri in 2012.
After his matriculation, Vikram Sarabhi proceeded to Cambridge for his college education and took the tripods degree from St.Jhon's college in 1940 When World War II began, he returned home and joined as a research scholar under Sir. C. V. Raman at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore His interest in solar physics and cosmic ray led him to set up many observation stations around the country. He built the necessary equipment with which he took measurements at Bangalore, Pooana and Himalayas. He returned to Cambridge in 1945 and completed his Ph.D in 1947.
Vikram Sarabhai was instrumnetal in establishing the Physical Reseach Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad in November 1947. The laboratory was established in a few rooms in M.G. Science Institute of the Ahmedabad Education Society, which was founded by his parents. Subsequently, it got support from the Council of Scientific and Indiustrial Reseach (CSIR) and the Department of Atomic Energy.
At the young age of 28, he was asked to organise and vreate the ATIRA, the Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association adn was its Honary Director during 1949-56. He also helped build and direct the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad from 1962-1965.