C. V. Raman

C. V. Raman (1888 – 1970)


Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) was an Indian physicist born in the former Madras Province in India presently called as Tamil Nadu.

Raman carried out ground-breaking work in the field of light scattering, which earned him the 1930 Nobel Prize for Physics.

He discovered that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes in wavelength.

This phenomenon, subsequently known as Raman scattering, results from the Raman effect. In 1954, India honoured him with its highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

Raman's father initially taught in a school in Thiruvanaikaval, became a lecturer of mathematics and physics in Mrs. A.V. Narasimha Rao College, Visakhapatnam (then Vishakapatnam) in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

At an early age, Raman moved to the city of Visakhapatnam and studied at St. Aloysius Anglo-Indian High School. Raman passed his matriculation examination at the age of 11 and he passed his F.A. examination with a scholarship at the age of 13.

In 1902, Raman joined Presidency College in Madras where his father was a lecturer in mathematics and physics.

In 1904 he passed his Bachelor of Arts examination of University of Madras. He stood first and won the gold medal in physics.

In 1907 he gained his Master of Sciences degree with the highest distinctions from University of Madras.

In year 1917, Raman resigned from his government service after he was appointed the first Palit Professor of Physics at the University of Calcutta.

On 28 February 1928, Raman led experiments at the IACS with collaborators, including K. S. Krishnan, on the scattering of light, when he discovered what now is called the Raman effect.

Raman spectroscopy came to be based on this phenomenon, and Ernest Rutherford referred to it in his presidential address to the Royal Society in 1929.

Raman was president of the 16th session of the Indian Science Congress in 1929. He was conferred a knighthood, and medals and honorary doctorates by various universities.

Raman was confident of winning the Nobel Prize in Physics as well, but was disappointed when the Nobel Prize went to Owen Richardson in 1928 and to Louis de Broglie in 1929.

Raman and Suri Bhagavantam discovered the quantum photon spin in 1932, which further confirmed the quantum nature of light.

Raman was succeeded by Debendra Mohan Bose as the Palit Professor in 1932. In 1933, Raman left IACS to join Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore as its first Indian director.

In 1948, Raman, through studying the spectroscopic behaviour of crystals, approached in a new manner fundamental problems of crystal dynamics.

Raman retired from the Indian Institute of Science in 1948 and established the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, Karnataka, a year later.

He served as its director and remained active there until his death in 1970, in Bangalore, at the age of 82.

He was married on 6 May 1907 to Lokasundari Ammal (1892–1980). They had two sons, Chandrasekhar and radio-astronomer Radhakrishnan.

Raman was honoured with a large number of honorary doctorates and memberships of scientific societies.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society early in his career (1924) and knighted in 1929. Raman was the only Indian F.R.S., who resigned from the Fellowship of the Royal Society.

At the end of October 1970, Raman collapsed in his laboratory, the valves of his heart having given way. Raman died from natural causes early next morning on 21 November 1970.

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