Interested in technology, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej studied technological advances and put them to the best use in his work. His intention was to use appropriate technology as a means of improving the living conditions of the people.
The Cabinet on 12 December 2000 decided to honor King Bhumibol with the title “Father of Technology” and designate 19 October each year Thai Technology Day, following a proposal submitted by the National Identity Board.
It was on 19 October 1972 that His Majesty demonstrated the rainmaking process for a Singaporean delegation at Kaeng Krachan Dam in Phetchaburi province. Rain came within five hours after the demonstration, creating a great deal of excitement and certainly impressing the Singaporeans. The success of His Majesty in using technology for rainmaking received local and international recognition.
Early in his reign, the late King Bhumibol became interested in artificial rainmaking to assist farmers, who are very dependent on rainwater for their cultivation. He found that drought had become more severe in certain areas of the country and caused hardships to farmers. At this point, he began to study artificial rainmaking techniques to seek ways of bringing down more rain to ease drought. He paid great attention to rainmaking operations and he sometimes got involved with them himself.
His Majesty King Bhumibol applied modern technology to existing resources to enhancing rainmaking potential. Non-toxic and environment-friendly chemicals, devised by His Majesty, are used to stimulate the air mass upwind of the target area to rise and from rain clouds. When clouds become dense, they will contain a large amount of water and then drops of water will fall from the clouds.
Rainmaking operations have greatly benefited farmers, as they ease water shortages and increase agricultural output. They also play an important role in adjusting environmental problems by easing water pollution in rivers and canals.
This great scientific feat of King Bhumibol was compared to one that occurred during the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV), who ruled the Kingdom of Siam from 1851 to 1868. King Mongkut predicted a total solar eclipse on 18 August 1868, two years beforehand. He even calculated accurately the time and the best site to observe the phenomenon.
King Mongkut is recognized as “Father of Science in Thailand,” and 18 August was picked as National Science Day. King Bhumibol is recognized as “Father of Thai Technology” and 19 October was picked as Thai Technology Day.
The proud achievements of the two kings in scientific and technological development took place in almost the same manner.