Homi Sethna

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Homi Nusserwanji Sethna
Born (1923-08-24)August 24, 1923
Died September 5, 2010(2010-09-05) (aged 87)
Mumbai, India
Residence Mumbai, Maharashtra State
Citizenship India
Nationality Indian
Fields Chemical Engineering
Institutions Atomic Energy Commission of India
Alma mater Institute of Chemical Technology (Formerly UDCT)
Indian Institutes of Technology
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Known for Indian nuclear programme
Smiling Buddha
Operation Shakti
Notable awards Padma Shri (1959)
Padma Bhushan (1966)
Padma Vibhushan (1975)

Homi Nusserwanji Sethna PhD (Hindi: होमी सेठना; August 24, 1923 – September 5, 2010) was an Indian nuclear scientist and a chemical engineer, gaining international fame as the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (India) during the time when the first nuclear test, codename Smiling Buddha in Pokhran Test Range in 1974 was conducted.[1][2] He was the primary and central figure in India's civilian nuclear program as well as the construction of nuclear power plants.

He was awarded the second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan in 1975, by Government of India.

Earlier in his career, he had full technical responsibility for setting up of the Thorium extraction plant at Alwaye, Kerala India, for separation of rare earth from monazite sands.

Early life and education[edit]

He did his schooling from St. Xavier's High School, Fort, Mumbai[3] and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.


He was formerly Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, in 1976 he became the first chairman of Maharashtra Academy of Sciences, located in Pune, Maharashtra.

Head of Trombay Nuclear Facility[edit]

He completed the construction of the Thorium plant and the plant for the production of nuclear grade uranium metal at Trombay, India. His first major challenging assignment was the setting up of the Plutonium Plant at Trombay in 1959. This was designed and constructed entirely by Indian scientists and engineers under H. N. Sethna as the Project Engineer. The Uranium Mill at Jaduguda, Jharkhand was also constructed under his guidance in 1967. He was also the Project Manager of a 40 MW reactor called Canada-India Reactor in 1956–58.

Indian atomic test of 1974[edit]

He was the guiding force behind the first peaceful nuclear explosion, Project Smiling Buddha in India on May 18, 1974,[4] and in 1975, Homi Sethna, then chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Raja Ramanna and Nag Chaudhuri (head of the DRDO) received the Padma Vibhushan.



  1. ^ Laxman, Srinivas (Sep 7, 2010). "Homi Sethna, nuclear legend, passes away". The Times of India. 
  2. ^ "Homi Sethna passes away". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Sep 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ Notable alumni St. Xavier's High School, Fort - Official website.
  4. ^ 'He visualised a lively picture of a powerful India' - Interview/Dr Homi Sethna Rediff.com, January 27, 2006.
  5. ^ a b "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ Padma Vishushan Official listings.

External links[edit]