Kalam, A. P. J. Abdul

Kalam, A. P. J. Abdul (Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam), 1921–2015, Indian scientist and political leader, studied St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli (grad. 1954), Madras Institute of Technology. An aeronautical engineer, he joined India's Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO, 1958) then the Indian Space Research Organization (1969), where he was project director of SLV-III, the first satellite launch vehicle designed and produced in India. Returning to DRDO in 1982, he headed integrated guided missile development, earning him the nickname “Missile Man.”. Kalam played an important role in a series of nuclear weapons tests in 1998, then was scientific adviser to the defense minister (1992–97) and principal scientific adviser to the government (1999–2001). From 2002 to 2007 he served as president of India. Kalam was the author of numerous scientific papers and books.

See his autobiography (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: South Asian History: Biographies