Among a handful of Indian scientists who are known throughout the world for their great contributions to mankind, Sir C V Raman’s name comes first. Born as Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman on 7th November 1888 in Thiruvanaikoil of Madras province, Sir C V Raman later on became the first Indian to win a noble prize for physics. His revolutionary discovery in the field of light scattering earned him this recognition in 1930. He was also honored with the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award in 1954.
EDUCATION and CAREER-
Raman finished his early education in vishakapattanam and Madras. He studied bachelors of Arts (BA) in the Presidency College in Madras. Raman had won a gold medal in physics during his college days. After completeing his Masters in Arts, Raman joined the University of Calcutta as the first Palit professor of physics. In 1917, he resigned from this prestigious post to continue his research at IACS (Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science) in Calcutta.
- In 1928, Raman along with K S Krishnan conducted experiments to discover the path breaking Raman Effect. Based on this discovery, Raman spectroscopy was developed.
- While travelling to Europe in 1921, Raman observed blue colored glaciers and the Mediterranean Sea. Curious to know the reason for the blue color, Raman conducted experiments on scattering of light. He used monochromatic light of a mercury lamp and a spectrograph to record the spectrum. Thus, he explained why the sky and the water appear blue. The cost of the apparatus used to discover the Raman Effect was just Rs 200!
- In 1932, Raman along with Suri Bhagavantam discovered the quantum photon spin. This boosted the fact that light had quantum nature.
- The Raman- Nath theory was presented by Raman and his student, Nagendra Nath. This theory rightly explained the acousto-optic effect.
- Sir C V Raman also had great interest in the acoustics of musical instruments. Based on superposition velocity, he created a theory of transverse vibration of bowed strings. He was the pioneer in studying the harmonic nature of the sounds made by Indian drums like table and mridangam. He also studied the properties of violins based on forced vibrations.
- Raman studied the propagation of sound in whispering galleries.
- Raman also conducted experiments on the diffraction of light by acoustic waves of both ultrasonic and hypersonic waves.
- He studied the effects of x rays on infrared vibrations in crystals exposed to ordinary light.
- Travancore chemical and manufacturing co. ltd. (now TCM ltd.) was established by Raman in 1943. The company manufactured potassium chlorate and supplied it to the match industry.
- In 1947 Raman was appointed as the first national professor of the independent India.
- Raman also studied the spectroscopic behavior of crystals like diamonds, opal, pearls and labradorite.
- Raman was also interested in optics of colloids and anisotropy.
- He showed great interest in physiology of human vision.
- In 1948, after retiring from the IISC, Raman established the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore. He was the director of the institute until his death in 1970.
- Raman penned down most of his discoveries in the form of books and scientific papers. Some of his works are- vol 1. Scattering of light. Vol2 acoustics. Vol3 optics. Vol4 optics of minerals and diamonds. Vol5 physics of crystals. Vol6 floral colours and visual perception.