TODAY -

CV Raman & National Science Day

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh *

 >Bust of Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1888-1970), an Indian physicist, which is placed in the garden ofBirla Industrial & Technological Museum
Bust of Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1888-1970), an Indian physicist, which is placed in the garden ofBirla Industrial & Technological Museum. His ground breaking work in the field of light scattering, now termed the Raman effect, earned him the 1930 Nobel Prize for Physics, and the Bharat Ratna in 1954.
Pix - Wikipedia/AshLin



Sir C.V Raman (Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman), the Indian Physicist who made his motherland proud by becoming the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize for Physics was a scientist par excellence. He displayed a brilliant mind even as a child and passed his matriculation examination at a much younger age as compared to other students.

He was born on 7th November 1888 near a small village in Tiruchirappalli to R.Chandrasekhara Iyer and Pravathi Ammal. His father initially a school teacher in Mathematics became a lecturer in mathematics and physics in a College in Vishakhapatanam.

Raman studied in St. Aloysious Anglo Indian High school at Vishakhapatanam. He was a brilliant student and passed his matriculation examination when he was just 11. At the age of 13 he passed his F.A (equivalent to today's intermediate examination) with a scholarship. He joined the Presidency College in Madras in 1902 and received his B.A in Physics in 1904. He topped the examination and won a gold medal. Three years later he earned his M.A degree in1907.

Though he was deeply interested in Science, he appeared for the Financial Civil Services (FCS) examination at the insistence of his father. He topped the Examination and went to Calcutta in1907 to join the Indian Finance Department as Assistant Accountant general.

Still his heart was in scientific research and he began conducting research at the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science during his free time. His job was very hectic, yet he was dedicated towards Science that he often spent night at research.

Even though the facilities at the Association were very limited ,it did not deter Raman at all, who went on to publish his findings in leading International journals like "Nature", "the Philosophical Magazine" and " Physics review". During this time his research was basically in the areas of Vibrations and Acoustics.

In 1917,he got the opportunity to join the University of Calcutta as the first palit Professor of Physics .Raman happily resigned from his govt. post to take up his position though the new job paid much less than the previous one. Such was his dedication to Science. In 1919 he was made Honorary Secretary of the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science, a post he hold till 1933.

He was very popular and many students gathered around him, attracted by his immense knowledge of Science. During the late 1920's he experimented on the Scattering of light by observing the behavior of monochromatic light which penetrated transparent materials and fell on Spectrograph. This led to the discovery of what came to known as "raman Effect" which he presented at a meeting of Scientist in 1928.

He was invited by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore to become the Director. He accepted the post in1933 becoming the first Indian to hold the post till 1937 though he continued as the head of the Physics Department till 1948. In 1948 he established the Raman Research Institute (RRI) in Bangalore for conducting scientific research in different field of physics. He continued his research in the Institute till his death. He is best known for discovering the "RAMAN EFFECT" or inelastic Scattering of photon.

He showed through experimentation that when light traversed a transparent material some of the deflected light changes in wavelength. This was a ground breaking discovery in early 20th Century physics. He won the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the scattering of light and for his discovery of Raman Effect becoming the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize in the Science.

He was also honored with Bharat Ratna , India's highest Civilian Award in 1954 in recognition of his invaluable contributions in the field of science. Rayleigh had correctly explained that sky looks blue because of a phenomenon now called Rayleigh's scattering.

However Raman contradict the Rayleigh's explanation about the blue color of sea. One day in the summer of 1921, Raman was on the deck of a ship in the Mediterranean Sea en route to the Congress of Universities of British Empire at Oxford. He looked at the beautiful color of the Mediterranean Sea and began to doubt Rayleigh's explanation of its color.

When he sailed back to India in September 1921, Raman an indefatigable scientist had with him some simple physics apparatus: a prism, a miniature spectroscope and a diffraction grating. He used these to study the sky and the sea and concluded that the sea even scatter light. Hence when Rayleigh said the sea's color is simply as reflection of the sky color, he was not wholly correct. Raman reported his findings in a letter to the Journal "Nature".

He married Lokasundari Ammal in1907 and had two sons with her- Chandrasekhar and Radhakrishnan. He lived a long productive life and was active till the very end. He died on 21st November 1970 at the age of 82.This great Scientist was the parental uncle of another excellent Scientist and Nobel Laurels Subramaniyam Chandrasekhar.

"The National Science Day" started celebrating from 28th February 1987 to mark the discovery of Raman Effect on 28th Feb 1928.In 1986, National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) asked Government of India to designate 28th Feb as National Science day which the then Govt. of India accepted and declared the day as National Science day in 1986.

The first national Science Day was celebrated on 28 February 1987. National Science Day is being celebrated every year to widely spread a message about the importance of Science used in the daily life of the people.


* Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at Sjugeshwor7(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 01, 2019.



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