The Legacy of Sir C.V Raman – The Man Behind The Raman Effect and Asia’s First Nobel Prize Laureate In Science

Known for his ground breaking work in the field of light scattering, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman became Asia’s first ever Nobel Prize laureate in Science. So today, on his 130th birth Anniversary, let us know more about the man who placed India on the Global Science Map.

cv-raman-IEChandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born on November 7, 1888 to R. Chandrasekhara Iyer and Parvathi Ammal in the former Madras Province in India. Raman’s father was a lecturer of mathematics and physics. From a very young age, Raman was interested in Science, reading the books his father had used as a student. Raman passed his matriculation examination at the age of 11 and passed his F.A examination with a scholarship at the age of 13. In 1902, Raman joined the Presidency College in Madras. In 1904, he passed his Bachelor of Sciences examination of University of Madras. He stood first and won the gold medal in physics. In 1907, he gained his masters of Sciences degree with the highest distinctions from University of Madras.

In November 1906, aged 18, Raman had his first academic paper (about the behavior of light) published. Though Raman was inclined towards science to a great extent, but, during those times, there were not many opportunities for scientists in India. Therefore, Raman joined the Indian Finance Department in 1907. But still, as dedicated he was, he used to carry out his experimental research in laboratory of the Indian Association for the cultivation of Science at Calcutta, after his office hours.

07-cv-raman-researchRaman was intrigued by the blue colour of glaciers and the Mediterranean sea and wanted to unravel the mystery that why water, a colorless liquid, appeared blue to eyes. Thus, he began to conduct his independent experiments on the scattering of light which ultimately led to what came to be known as the Raman Effect. He discovered that when light traverses a transparent medium, some of the deflected light changes in wavelength. This discovery gave new directions to the study of light and also won him the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics. Raman’s other works include his experimental and theoretical studies on the diffraction of light by acoustic waves of ultrasonic and hypersonic frequencies and those on the effects produced by X-Rays on infrared vibrations in crystals exposed to ordinary light.

Raman also worked out the theory of transverse vibrations of bowed strings, because of superposition velocities. Professor C.V Raman was also the first one to investigate the harmonic nature of the sound of the Indian drums such as tabla and mridangam. He also contributed significantly in the field of cosmic radiations. Apart from the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics, Raman’s scientific intellect made him win several other awards as well. These include the Knight Bachelor (1929), Hughes Medal (1930), Bharat Ratna (1954) and the Lenin Peace Prize ( 1957).

Raman was offered the position of Sir Taraknath Palit Professorship of Physics at Calcutta University. He was elected to the Royal Society of London in 1924 and the British made him a knight of the British Empire in 1929. In 1934, Raman became the director of newly established Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore,

16-ramanresearchinstitutebangalore
Raman Research Institute

where two years later, he continued as a physics professor. In 1947, he was appointed as the first National Professor by the new government of independent India. He retired from the Indian Institute in 1948, and an year later, he established the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, where he worked until his death in 1970. Every year, India celebrates 28th February as National Science Day in his honor and to mark his discovery of the Raman Effect.

I’m the master of my failure… If I never fail, how will I ever learn !   – C.V Raman

Happy birthday legend !

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