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Roundtable

Pioneer Nuclear Physicist:
Dr Piara Singh Gill -
Roundtable Open Forum # 151

ARJAN SINGH

 

 

 




 

The University of Chicago is a world class institution and an epicenter for Physics research where major contributions to science were made in the 20th century. As many as 14 scientists associated with the University of Chicago have been awarded the Nobel Prize in the field of Physics, not to mention many others who received the prize in other fields.

One specific individual at that University who made important contributions to the field of physics, specifically in the field of ‘cosmic ray nuclear physics,’ was also a contributor to the historic Manhattan Project: Dr. Piara Singh Gill.

His is an epic story of a man who rose from humble roots to the top of his chosen field of scientific research; became an internationally known physicist and a science-administrator, all of which took him on a global journey from Punjab to Panama to Chicago.

Dr. Piara Singh was born on October 28, 1911 in a farmer’s family in the village of Chela in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab. As a school was not available in his village, he trekked more than six miles daily to attend Khalsa High School in Mahilpur, from which he graduated in 1928.

He sailed for USA in 1929 but somehow ended up working as a taxi driver in Panama. When he had saved enough money, he moved to the US for his higher education.

He attended Sacramento Junior College in August 1931, and earned a tuition scholarship for his studies at the University of Southern California (USC). Here he received his Bachelor’s (1935) and Master’s (1936) degrees while he worked menial jobs to support himself, such as fruit picking, cleaning and dishwashing.

In 1936, Piara Singh joined the University of Chicago to work for his PhD under the supervision of AH Compton. Dr. Compton was a Noble Laureate (Physics), having been awarded the prize in 1927 for the discovery of the Compton Effect. The fact that Compton accepted Piara as a student speaks volumes about the talent and tenacity of the young man, especially given the xenophobic environment of America in the 1930s at the peak of the Great Depression.

AH Compton and his collaborators had discovered ‘the latitude effect’ but it was Piara Singh who proved this effect conclusively by conducting experiments in the field and collecting pertinent data.

This was the start of the his career as an experimental physicist.

In Physics, there are many type of scientists, but relevant here are two types: the theoretical and the experimental one. A theoretical physicist uses mathematical models and abstractions to explain natural phenomena; while the experimental physicist observes / proves the natural phenomena through actual experiments.

The two types of physicists complement each other since a theory is only as good as the experimental data provided to prove it. On the other hand, an experiment can only be done on a theory that has been formulated. To name a few examples: Theoretical physicists -- Albert. Einstein, J.R. Oppenheimer, H.J. Bhabha; Experimental physicists -- E. Fermi, W. Shockley, R. Franklin, N. Tesla.

In June 1939, Piara Singh was one of the youngest delegates to attend an International Symposium on Cosmic Rays and presented a scientific paper. The paper was highly appreciated as it was the first experiment that gave clues about the spin of the pi-meson. Mesons are sub-atomic particles and their existence was theorized by a Japanese Noble Laureate named Hideki Yukawa.

During this period Piara also worked with a close friend and colleague, JR Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project, an R&D project that ultimately produced the first nuclear weapons during WWII of Hiroshima and Nagasaki notoreity.

Piara was awarded his Doctorate in Physics in March 1940 and a travelling Research Fellowship by Chicago University for a year to work in India. Compton was wise and generous to allow the new ‘Doctor of Physics’ to take away the cosmic ray equipment built by the latter as hel was planning to carry out experiments on the ‘azimuthal variations of cosmic rays’ on the basis of Vallarta’s theory, on the subcontinent.  The Indian geography was well suited to verify this theory.

Manuel Sandoval Vallarta was a Mexican physicist and professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology ("MIT") and an advisor to Richard Feynman (another Noble Laureate).

Piara returned to the sub-continent in 1941 and started off by working as a Lecturer in Physics at Forman Christian College (FCC), Lahore, Punjab.

India, however, was not very receptive or friendly to scientists and scholars. When Piara landed in Calcutta with his cosmic ray equipment, the customs officials refused to clear the special research equipment that he was carrying with him. It required the extensive intervention of MN Saha, an astrophysicist, before Piara was able to enter with his equipment intact.

Piara, as a teacher of Physics at FCC and Punjab University in Lahore in the year 1945, while the world was just recovering from the devastating Second World and resources were scarce, organized an expedition with a generous grant of $4.07 (yes, four dollars and 7 cents!) to carry out an experiment on the production of mesons through cosmic rays.

The experiment was conducted at a height of 17,000 ft. at Baralacha Pass. They could afford no oxygen masks. The results were negative.

As I am a mountain climber myself, I want to underscore the height component of this dangerous experiment. Acute mountain sickness can start at the 8,000 feet level, and one must appreciate the determination and mettle of Piara Singh and his team that they conducted such as experiment at the height of 17,000 ft. in 1945, with a paucity of resources.

Not to be deterred, Piara conducted the experiment again at Lahore using a Royal Air Force ‘Mosquito’ airplane to fly up to heights of 30,000 feet.

Eventually he was successful and meson production was detected at 20,000 feet. Dr. Vallarta was happy to know the results and reported them in the Physical Review and the significance of Piara Singh’s experiments.

In 1946, Piara was invited to Europe and USA to deliver lectures on the cosmic ray experiments he had conducted. He was able to reconnect with many of his old collaborators in Chicago and in Europe as well.

Piara’s work at Lahore impressed HJ Bhabha who offered him a Professorship in Experimental Physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai in 1947. Piara conducted many experiments during this time in Mumbai using hot air balloons, the success of which gained him much popularity and publicity in the elite Mumbai society.

In 1948, Piara returned to the US upon his resignation from TIFR to work at the Carnegie Institute of Washington and study cosmic rays in collaboration with MS Vallarta and SE Forbush.

The then Prime Minister of India (J Nehru) was also impressed with Piara’s work and upon Nehru’s directive he was appointed as Officer-on-Special Duty (OSD) with the Atomic Energy Commission (est. 1948) in New Delhi.

Piara was instrumental at this time in setting up the Neutron Standardization Laboratory (NBS) and assisted the Indian Embassy in Washington DC as a Scientific Advisor.

In the 1950s-1960s, he served as a key advisor and planner to Nehru on India’s nuclear weapons strategy. So significant was Piara’s work and administrative expertise that yet again another role was offered to him by Zakir Hussain (the then Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University). Zakir Hussain prevailed upon Nehru to relieve Piara as OSD with the Atomic Energy Commission and offered him a Professorship at Aligarh.

Upon joining Aligarh, Piara executed a complete reorganization and rejuvenation of the Department of Physics and during his tenure of 14 years, the University became a leading center for research. During this time, he was also instrumental in setting up of the High Altitude Laboratory at Gulmarg, Kashmir.

AH Compton in his report to S. S. Bhatnagar, the then UGC Chairman (University Grants Commission), commented upon the work of Piara Singh, Director, Gulmarg Observatory, and wrote: ‘The chief factor that is essential to the successful operation of the Gulmarg Observatory is its Director. It is difficult anywhere to find the combination of scientific competence, originality of ideas, persistent drive, executive responsibility and personal tact that is essential in such a Director. Gill has these traits to an unusual degree’.

Central Scientific Instruments Organization (CSIO) is an Indian national laboratory started in 1959 with the mission to perform research, design and development of scientific and industrial instruments. It was located in New Delhi but eventually was moved to Chandigarh, Punjab.

CSIO was established under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is an autonomous body and India’s largest research and development (R&D) organization, with 37 laboratories and 39 field stations spread across the nation.

At this stage of his life, Piara made a dramatic switch from an experimental physicist to an instrument designer. Only an individual with vision and conviction of his abilities could make such a transition. Most scientists are merely ‘users’ of instruments; designing an instrument from scratch and manufacturing it is an entirely different and challenging venture.

Piara put together a team of young scientists and got them trained from around the world. Thus began the development of new instruments in the fields of Optics, Electronics, Medical Sciences, Geosciences, Environmental Sciences and Process Control Technology.

To fully understand why the design of instruments for such diverse fields is so important, it is worth noting that most private companies or industries make products for the sole purpose of making a profit; and these companies have neither the motive nor resources to carry out research and development, especially in India.

Moreover, the entire Indian industry was in a nascent stage. Piara’s work at the CSIO created instruments that would be used in the industry to manufacture goods and for research in other laboratories around the country. So pioneering was the work done at CSIO; as a result, it emerged as a leader in instrument design in Asia.

In 1971, Piara Singh retired and joined Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana as Professor Emeritus. He wrote and published multiple textbooks in physics for higher secondary school students, and they were published around the country.

He also tried his hand at entrepreneurship -- successfully! -- and started a company called Universal Magnetics that produced magnetic heads for tape recorders. Eventually, he sold this commercial venture and migrated to the US to spend the rest of his life with his daughter, Suristha Sehgal, Professor of Psychology at Georgia State University, Atlanta. Georgia.

Dr. Piara Singh Gill passed away in Atlanta on March 23, 2002, having lived a long, productive, creative and inspiring life.

Merely labelling Piara Singh as a polymath or multi-faceted does not capture the essence of him. He was much more than that and many abilities were exhibited by this gentle soul in his long innings.

Through his impressive successes and achievements, he proved that where one starts in life does not have to dictate one’s future. From humble beginnings in the farmlands of Punjab to travels around the world and back to India in order to create an entire framework for fundamental physics research and advise a country on its nuclear weapons strategy, industrial research, pedagogy, etc., his list of achievements is diverse and intriguing.

He proved as well that one does not have to be restricted to a single field; talents are transposable and can be used in multiple fields.

He was able to do all this and more during decades of great torment and upheaval around him, and he then continued his impressive work on the subcontinent that had gone through a bitter division: the Partition of Punjab and the subcontinent claimed more than a million lives. Furthermore, he flourished in the resource-poor environment of post-independence India.

In spite of limited financial resources, Piara had the uncanny ability to conduct research even in the toughest of times and in harsh environments. 

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For those interested in learning more about the epic life of Dr. Piara Singh Gill, I recommend his autobiography which, I believe, is available on Amazon.com:

UP AGAINST ODDS: AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN INDIAN SCIENTIST, by Piara Singh Gill. South Asia Books, May, 1993. Hardcover. ISBN-10: 817023364X, ISBN-13: 978-8170233640

*   *   *   *   *

THE ROUNDTABLE OPEN FORUM # 151

I invite the readers to ponder over the following questions and share their thoughts and comments on the same:

1     How is it that a scientist who was able to travel around the world and work under/ with Dr. Compton himself and Dr. Oppenheimer (the Manhattan Project) is now lost in the pages of history?

2     How is it that the Indian authorities have not even started a Memorial lecture in his name to promote science and research? Or an annual research & science Prize in his name to promote scientific research.

3     In fact, most students in India complete their education from elementary to high school without hearing the name of this pioneering scientist even once. Why?

4     Why is it that Dr. Piara Singh was able to create an Instrumentation facility from ground up in those days of scarce resources; and yet today with all the technology and funding, India’s research output is either abysmal or negligible?

5    How is it that Dr. Compton was able to gift away to Dr. Piara Singh the cosmic ray equipment built by him; but the callousness of the Indian authorities in Calcutta in 1940 would not clear the way to receive the extraordinary gift to the country of this equipment?

6     How is it that very few leaders or teachers are involved in the development of institutions of higher learning in India, while Piara Singh's daughter travels to Punjab from Atlanta to promote closer interaction between universities and communities for meeting their educational and economic needs?

 
[This piece has been put together by Arjan Singh as a conglomeration of various  articles published to date on Dr Piara Singh.]

June 22, 2015

Conversation about this article

1: Harsaran Singh (Indonesia), June 23, 2015, 8:13 AM.

My knowledge of the life and work of Dr. Piara Singh is limited to whatever I could know about a renowned Sikh physicist. I have heard stories about "Gill Sahib" as he was known around my ancestral village, which lay at the foothills of the Afarwat mountains where he founded the GRO or the Gulmarg Research Laboratory. He was a well known figure despite working on a secretive government project. My personal viewpoint on the questions put forth for discussion are: 1) First and foremost reason why Dr. Piara Singh is lost to the pages of history is the lack of recognition from the successive governments in Punjab. Unless the parent state of this great scientist recognized his achievements, how can we expect the Indian government to list him among the doyens of modern India. Needless to say, the politicians in Punjab always had better things to do than to make a role model of one of the greatest physicists born in the country. 2) Indians think they do not need to have memorial lectures or research on Dr. Piara Singh's life-work as they believe that Physics, Chemistry and even some modern surgical techniques were all apparently fully developed in their country (which incidentally didn't come into existence until seven decades ago) 5000 years ago. This we have come to know from someone no less than the current Prime Minister of India. It was from India, it is now being claimed, that perhaps each and every modern day invention has reached the rest of the world. Thanks to these great ancient scientists, a majority of the Indian population lives below the poverty line without even the basic necessities of life. Just for the sake of information I can tell you that 1.5 million engineers pass out from Indian universities every year. Pray, which sinkhole do they all go into, then?

2: Sarvjit Singh (Millis, Massachusetts, USA), June 23, 2015, 9:42 AM.

We need something on the likes of JCC (Jewish Community Centers) where we can discuss our heroes, issues and progress. But it costs lots of money which we do not have; so what do we do? We need some billionaire Sikh to fund such an initiative.

3: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), June 23, 2015, 2:45 PM.

Hain virlay nahaee ghanay fail fakarh sansar ..." [GGS:1411.9] - "The true devotees are few and far between, everything else in the world is just pompous show." There were just a few Piara Singhs I had heard of, the chief among them was the decrepit Piara that Bhagat Puran Singh carried around like a garland. The other one was a Station Manager at Seremban Railway Station (Malaysia) and of course you also have to add that he was a President of the local gurdwara. But this jewel, Dr. Piara Singh has remained hidden in the dust of time. Thanks to the sikhchic.com for his resurrection. I am ordering his autobiography. How come he never received a Nobel Prize?

4: Arjan Singh (USA), June 23, 2015, 3:45 PM.

S. Sangat Singh ji: Dr. Piara Singh did not receive Nobel Prize for a few reasons: a) He chose to move away from fundamental research and devoted his talents and time towards nation-building (nuclear strategy, Teaching other Teachers, Designing Instrumentation, etc.); in my opinion he picked the wrong country. b) The people of Punjab did not have the good sense to support this talented man. I can only guess but he probably received limited help. Indian society has the tendency to reward talent only when it is certified by other countries. c) Scientific talent is not nurtured but suffocated in the Indian milieu. As your comment shows, you had never even heard of this talented man.

5: Arjan Singh (USA), June 23, 2015, 3:52 PM.

Sarvjit ji: your suggestion to scout for billionaires is a good one. However, it's a long shot. I have much easier suggestions: a) Stop using marble in our gurdwaras. b) Start serving langar of simple dal-roti and tea. c) Use the platform of the Internet to connect with talent involved in science and technology research. d) Start driving cars that are a bit smaller and live in houses that are a bit smaller. You will be surprised how quickly we can save enough funds to serve multiple initiatives.

6: Harsaran Singh (Indonesia), June 24, 2015, 2:10 AM.

Arjan Singh ji: I beg to differ on a few suggestions. Let us not put the cart before the horse. I feel that we should start by roping in members of our society who have made a mark in their respective fields. They can be individuals from diverse professions like medicine, science, technology, business. These people can act as mentors and role models for our youngsters by connecting with them through different media. Say, for example, we have S. Ajay Singh Banga, the CEO of MasterCard giving a talk to the youth via internet or any other means on what it takes to reach the top and how to achieve your goals. Imagine the impact it will have on our youngsters who are capable of breaking through the ceiling but are constrained by either financial limitations or their geographical location. Simultaneously a global foundation should be put in place which again has renowned people on board. Volunteers should be placed wherever we have a sizable population. These volunteers, with assistance from local resources, should scout for outstanding youth with talent and put forward their case in front of a selection panel of the foundation, which can assess the cases and make recommendations for scholarship and other support deemed necessary. This is where we need to pool our financial resources for supporting the project. I know all this is easier said than done, but I firmly believe that we as a community have spent a long time on the drawing boards. We need to move forward from just giving ideas and start acting. This perhaps will be a fitting tribute to our national heroes like S. Piara Singh.

7: Sarvjit Singh (Millis, Massachusetts, USA), June 24, 2015, 8:26 AM.

Arjan Singh ji: I had some sarcasm there. I don't think we have any Sikh billionaires in the world who have any commitment to Guru Granth Sahib. What we need is some meeting point for our scattered communities, perhaps in gurdwara libraries where famous Sikh figures are shared or displayed. I had never heard of Dr Piara Singh, though I consider myself to know somewhat about science and technology from the subcontinent. It surprised me. I had read about CV Raman, C Bose, then Homi Bhabha, Hargobind Khorana, etc., but there was no connection made ever with Dr Piara Singh. It is our fault.

8: Harman (Amritsar, Punjab), June 24, 2015, 1:10 PM.

Thanks, sikhchic.com, for sharing a very informative article about a great physicist. Another physicist worth covering on sikhchic.com is the 'Father of Fiber Optics', Sardar Narinder Singh Kapany. [EDITOR: We have posted a piece on Dr Narinder Singh at http://www.sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=139&cat=12 . But we agree, he deserves more ... and we will pursue it further.]

9: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), June 25, 2015, 6:24 AM.

The largest scientific experiment in human history is taking place right now on the French-Swiss border involving the greatest machine ever built by the human race, The Large Hadron Collider ... with Professor Tajinder Singh in charge of it!

10: Gurnam Singh Gill (Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA), June 25, 2015, 6:07 PM.

A number of readers have asked the question as to why haven't they heard about Dr Piara Singh before, or why no scholarship or institute has been named after him? A brief answer is that he was a victim of a foul play by no other than the self-centered and corrupt politician the Sikhs know very well, Indira Gandhi. My uncle was not only a brilliant scientist but also an honest and fearless individual. While he was the Director of CSIO he had some sort of confrontation with Indira Gandhi in which some harsh words were exchanged. Soon after this incident, she conspired with her cronies and accused Uncle of espionage for Pakistan and mismanagement of funds. Three months later, the government quietly withdrew the case against him. The damage, however, had been inflicted! Uncle resigned. It was after this that Dr. M S Randhawa (a close friend of Uncle's), Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University, brought him to Ludhiana. It is a total shame that a world-class scientist who devoted his whole life for the well-being of India was treated like dirt. In contrast, a man named Rajiv Gandhi, whose sole achievement was to butcher thousands of innocent Sikhs, has lot of places named after him. As for the Punjab politicians, they are fickle. They would rather honor a dera-wala than a scientist.

11: Hardev Singh Virk (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), June 26, 2015, 2:19 PM.

Arjan Singh has written a somewhat exaggerated account of my teacher and mentor. For 40 years (1962-2002), I was in constant touch with Prof. Piara Singh. I will attach my obituary note published in Current Science but let me clarify that he was neither a part of the Manhattan Project nor had any role in nuclear energy planning of India, as Homi Bhabha did not allow him to enter this domain. In my frank opinion, with due respect to my teacher & mentor, he never deserved a Nobel Prize. In comparison with CV Raman, SN Bose, JC Bose, SN Saha, Homi Bhabha, and many other Indian scientists, his research output and its quality was not of that high standard. He rose from grassroots and worked under a Nobel Laureate; created Research Centres in India at Aligarh Muslim university, Gulmarg, CSIO Chandigarh. In 1980, when I was selected as Professor & Head of Physics in Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, Piara Singh remarked: "From Kashmir to Kalyani (West Bengal), most Professors and Heads are old students of P S Gill." That was true; he was a teacher of teachers! Gurnam Singh has given his opinion about the challenges Piara Singh had to face, but it is also a somewhat biased opinion. Piara Singh never served in the universities of Punjab; but he deserves better treatment from Punjab Govt., if not the Indian Govt. which made his life hell just before retirement.

12: Saeed Muzafar Ali (Los Angeles), June 26, 2015, 4:39 PM.

Thank you for this very needed remembrance of a great scientist, humanist, scholar, and incorrigible optimist. My father, Syed Muzafar Ali, a geographer, and Dr. Piara Singh were both faculty at Aligarh Muslim University in the 1948-56 period and became great friends. The latter was part of a grand initiative by Dr. Zakir Husain Khan, the Vice Chancellor (president), to strengthen Aligarh's academic programs after the Great Partition caused more than a third of the University faculty and students to migrate to Pakistan. Dr. Khan invited and appointed outstanding scholars in Physics, Mathematics, Geology, Chemistry, Life Sciences, History, Political Science, etc., irrespective of their religion or other affiliation. It was a difficult time but with patronage from Nehru, support from local scholars like my father, and the skills of the new faculty like Dr. Piara Singh, Aligarh saw a tremendous growth in its academic reputation. However, the problems that you note that Dr. Piara Singh faced upon his return from the US to India in 1941 continued at Aligarh too. Pettiness, academic infighting, professional jealousy and constant interference resulted in the eventual departure of the outstanding faculty and students from Aligarh, including Dr. Piara Singh and my father, and in some cases from India. A notable example was the constant harassment that Dr. Piara Singh suffered in funding for the Cosmic Rays Research facility at the 8,000 foot altitude village of Gulmarg, Kashmir. Each year, we would hear stories of the battles that he and Dr. Khan had waged, with some assistance from my father whose former students were Ministers in the Kashmir government, to secure funding and approvals. I know they were troublesome times for Dr. Piara Singh and his scholars. More happily, in the Aligarh tradition, most evenings used to be marked by home visits, usually from colleagues and their families. Dr. Piara Singh, his wife and their two daughters were welcome visitors. I learned first about the US from Dr. Piara Singh - its opportunities, society, its mores, and its failings. He told us about his days working in the fields, driving a taxi in Chicago, and other jobs that he did. For my siblings and me, these were amazing stories as they described a life in which he did work that we had been taught to never do - as it would be "below our dignity" and somehow "shameful." Dr. Piara Singh's happy recollections and stories made an indelible mark on us children about the dignity of human labor. One of the stories he used to tell on himself was that when he came back and started working in Lahore, he shocked his domestic worker when he cleaned his bathroom himself and then, having discovered its impact on the worker, tried to make peace by making chai for her, which was the last straw for her. I wanted to acknowledge this human side of Dr. Piara Singh. One way to honor him would be a modest scholarship for a student in Physics at Aligarh Muslim University as it still maintains a Cosmic Rays and Space Physics Section in the Physics Department. An easy way to do it is through the excellent non-profit AMU Alumni Association of Northern California, Scholarship Program which administers scholarships at no cost to the donor for administrative expenses. (http://amu_alumni.tripod.com/id9.html#about). A Professor Piara Singh Gill Physics Scholarship would go a long way in memorializing this great scholar and Indian for his great contributions and his legacy.

13: Hardev Singh Virk (Canada), June 28, 2015, 7:14 PM.

I very much like the suggestion made by S. Muzafar Ali and invite his daughter and well wishers like Arjan Singh to contribute to a scholarship in his name. I disagree with questions posed by the author. Let me assure him that Dr Piara Singh is not lost in the pages of history. His students, including myself, set up a Memorial Lecture in his honour and 2-3 Lectures were delivered by eminent scientists. After the death of Dr. H S Hans, the activity stopped. In my book, 'Punjabi Vigyani,' a full chapter is devoted to Dr Piara Singh. The book was distributed free to Punjab schools. I will not comment on Q.6 as I am ignorant about it but in my humble view, no such initiative was taken by the daughter.

14: Bhai Harbans Lal (Dallas, Texas, USA), June 30, 2015, 8:29 AM.

I too had opportunities to meet Dr. Piara Singh several times. In one of my early visits to Punjab, I met Piara Singh in Chandigarh. Later, when I was visiting Atlanta, Georgia, here in USA, I paid a visit to him at the home of his daughter. During my Atlanta visit I realized that he was not connected with the community there, and was not a regular visitor at the gurdwara or participant in the civic activities. It is not customary in our community to recognize an individual who is not a regular participant in the community activities. We should have outreach committees in every city to recognize our elderly pioneers.

15: Arjan Singh (USA), September 10, 2015, 4:27 AM.

I must clarify in response to some of the comments that Dr. Piara Singh did not take part in the Manhattan Project. We can only postulate based on the information that is available in the public sphere that Dr. Piara Singh must have contributed partially if not in a full time capacity to the Manhattan project. We must understand the political and social climate of those years in USA. Dr. Piara Singh was a close colleague of JR Oppenheimer, who was a brilliant scientist and wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory that developed the atomic bomb technology. Even Oppenheimer himself was mistreated during the cold war years and ostracized because of the politics of the day. It was only during the Kennedy administration he was awarded the Enrico Fermi Award in 1963 as a gesture of political rehabilitation. It is not surprising to surmise that in this atmosphere scientists of non-Caucasian background would have been restricted from taking credit in public for their work. Therefore it is likely that Dr. Piara Singh’s work was used in the Manhattan Project without credit being given to him.

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Dr Piara Singh Gill -
Roundtable Open Forum # 151"









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