When Deepak Bhimani '62, '63 was a little boy outside Mumbai, he longed for a telescope to see the nighttime stars above his home. He couldn't afford one, but the dream survived.
Today, Bhimani’s home hosts a full-fledged observatory, giving him—and the hundreds of area students he welcomes—access to the sky’s wonders. And while witnessing the atmosphere’s beauty from his backyard is convenient, Bhimani is also happy to travel farther afield for the chance to witness and photograph total solar eclipses.
“I've traveled with Sky & Telescope Magazine to many locations, including Antarctica and the Sahara Dessert,” he says.
Bhimani’s passion isn't restricted to stargazing—his love of chemistry has resulted in the creation of several successful companies that manufacture chemical applications for a variety of uses including textiles, food and oil production.
Bhimani’s interest in the wonders of chemicals was borne early—as a young boy, he could often be found in the textile composite mill founded by his grandfather. In fact, both his grandfather and father encouraged young Deepak to pursue a degree in chemical textiles and then bring his knowledge back to work for them. He investigated the best programs, and came up with three: one in Germany, one in England and the one he chose, at the Lowell Textile Institute.
“I very much enjoyed my time at the University and am grateful for the education I received,” he says.
Bhimani’s loyalty has translated into ongoing generosity to the University, which he credits for providing him the skills and background necessary to succeed.
“I remember many professors well,” he says, citing many by name, and describing a visit by then-president Martin Lydon on a trip the leader made to India.
While Bhimani was completing his undergraduate and graduate degrees—and squeezing in a cross-country road trip with his roommates to the Seattle World’s Fair—his family was selling its mills.
And so when he returned to India he began planning his own company. Soon thereafter, he opened a firm in Ambernath, India, called Sandeeran Chemical that produced chemical finishes like flame retardants, softening and wash and wear agents. The company was successful for nearly 15 years, and was sold to pursue business farther away from densely populated major cities.
His new company—called Navdeep Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., founded in 1978 and still operating today with 120 employees—produces fine and specialty chemicals including corrosion inhibitors and others related to oil production.
Bhimani’s enthusiasm for both the sky and chemistry remain as strong as ever. He is still active at Navdeep, sits on numerous boards of directors, and chases the sun whenever he can.