Founded in 1947 by Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai, the Physical Research Laboratory had a modest beginning at his residence, the RETREAT, with research on Cosmic Rays.The Laboratory was formally established on November 11, 1947, in the M. G. Science College, Ahmedabad, with support from the Karmkshetra Educational Foundation and the Ahmedabad Education Society. The initial focus was research on Cosmic Rays and the properties of the Upper Atmosphere. Research in Theoretical Physics and Radio Physics were added later with grants from the Atomic Energy Commission
The activities of the Space and Atmospheric Science Division aim to understand radiative, chemical, ionization and dynamical processes in the Earth's atmosphere by employing in situ rocket and balloon-borne experiments, ground based optical and radio probing, laboratory experiments, theoretical simulation and modeling of atmospheres of Earth and other Planets.
Ionosonde, Dayglow Photometer, Multiwavelength Scanning Photometer, Nighttime Spectrometer, LIDAR, Mobile LIDAR, Gas chromatographs, Gas analysers, Rocket and balloon borne sensors, Recoil Ion Momentum Spectrometer, Photoelectron-photoion time-of-flight spectrometer, CCD Spectrograph.