From the Archives — dated October 20, 1966

Indo-U.S. joint space research

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission to-day [October 19] completed two days of discussions with the officials of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on co-operation between the two countries in the field of nuclear and space research. The late Homi Bhabha had initiated these talks when he was here [Washington] early last year. Since then two or three Indian teams have been here [Washington] to continue these explorations. Specifically India is looking for U.S. co-operation in three fields. One involved what is called thorium utilisation. By the time U.S. enters the 1970s the number of civilian nuclear plants in this country would have multiplied significantly. It would become necessary for the U.S. to start looking for substitutes to the fissile materials now produced from uranium. U.S. scientists have done a great deal of work on utilising thorium as an alternate source of nuclear fuel. India which has vast deposits of thorium in Kerala and other areas has also been conducting research in the same field. Dr. Sarabhai said there was therefore scope for exchange of information between U.S. and India in this field. A second area in which active U.S. collaboration is being sought is in the construction of high energy accelerators. Dr. Sarabhai hopes to obtain U.S. assistance and know-how in setting up a unit with a capacity of 60 to 80 million electron volts which would be accessible to research scientists and students from different university centres in India. NASA’s assistance is being sought to set up a medium range weather forecasting facility in the tropics centred on the Thumba rocket range in Kerala. Dr. Sarabhai said several rockets would be test-fired during the next 12 months from this range. Though the rockets themselves are provided by the U.S., the payloads for them are made in India. The rockets now launched from Thumba reach an altitude of 180 kilometres. Dr. Sarabhai said that the plans are for launching rockets which will reach a height of 500 kilometres in the first instance.

Nobel Prize for Literature

Israel Radio said yesterday [October 19] that the 1966 Nobel Prize for Literature had been awarded to the 78-year-old Israeli writer, Mr. Shmuel Yosef Agnon. The radio said the Israeli Premier, Mk. Levy Eshkol had already sent a telegram of congratulations to Mr. Agnon, who is regarded as the greatest living Israeli writer. (Mr. Agnon, who was educated privately, has twice been awarded the State of Israel Prize for his literary works. He has written many novels including “Bridal Canopy”, “Near and Visible”, “Thus Far” and “Book, Author and Story”.)

Micro-wave link

India was expected to be at par with the advanced countries of the world in the field of long-distance communications within a decade, Mr. Satya Narayan Sinha, Union Minister for Communications, said here [Calcutta] to-day [October 18]. Inaugurating the micro-wave link between Calcutta and Shillong, Mr. Sinha said that in a vast country like India, adequate long-distance communications were absolutely essential not only for an integrated development of the economy but also for providing the life-line for the defence of the country. The Minister disclosed that the P. and T. Department had taken in hand work on several more microwave routes, including Poona-Secunderabad and Delhi-Jaipur.

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