Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, (7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) was an Indian physicist, born in the former Madras Province, whose ground breaking work in the field of light scattering 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 is now called Raman scattering and is the result of the Raman effect. In 1954, he was honoured with the highest civilian award in India, the Bharat Ratna.
Venkata Raman was born, to a Tamil family, in Thiruvanaikaval, Trichinopoly, present-day Tiruchirapalli, Madras Presidency, inBritish India to Parvati Amma. He was self educated in the field of science. At an early age, Raman moved to the city of Visakhapatnam, and studied in St. Aloysius Anglo-Indian High School. Raman passed his matriculation examination at the age of 11 and he passed his F.A. examination (equivalent to today's Intermediate exam) with a scholarship at the age of 13.
In 1902, Raman joined Presidency College in Madras where his father had become a lecturer in mathematics and physics. In 1904 he passed his B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) examination - he stood first and won the gold medal in physics. In 1907 he gained his M.A. (Master of Arts) degree with the highest distinctions. In 1917, Raman resigned from his government service after he was appointed the first Palit Professor of Physics at the University of Calcutta. At the same time, he continued doing research at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Calcutta, where he became the Honorary Secretary. Raman used to refer to this period as the golden era of his career. Many students gathered around him at the IACS and the University of Calcutta.
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. He was so confident of winning the prize in 1930 that he booked tickets in July, even though the awards were to be announced in November, and would scan each day's newspaper for announcement of the prize, tossing it away if it did not carry the news. He did eventually win the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the Raman effect". He was the first Asian and first non-white to receive any Nobel Prize in the sciences. Before him Rabindranath Tagore (also Indian) had received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.
Raman and Suri Bhagavantam discovered the quantum photon spin in 1932, which further confirmed the quantum nature of light. During his tenure at IISc, he recruited the then talented electrical engineering student, G. N. Ramachandran, who later was a distinguished X-ray crystallographer. Raman also worked on the acoustics of musical instruments. He worked out the theory of transverse vibration of bowed strings, on the basis of superposition velocities. He was also the first to investigate the harmonic nature of the sound of the Indian drums such as the tabla and the mridangam.
Raman and his student, Nagendra Nath, provided the correct theoretical explanation for the acousto-optic effect (light scattering by sound waves), in a series of articles resulting in the celebrated Raman–Nath theory. Modulators, and switching systems based on this effect have enabled optical communication components based on laser systems. 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. Other investigations carried out by Raman were experimental and theoretical studies on the diffraction of light by acoustic waves of ultrasonic and hypersonic frequencies (published 1934–1942), and those on the effects produced by X-rays on infrared vibrations in crystals exposed to ordinary light.
He also started the company called Travancore Chemical and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (now known as TCM Limited) which manufactured potassium chlorate for the matchindustry in 1943 along with Dr. Krishnamurthy. The Company subsequently established four factories in Southern India. In 1947, he was appointed as the first National Professor by the new government of Independent India. In 1948, Raman, through studying the spectroscopic behaviour of crystals, approached in a new manner fundamental problems of crystal dynamics. He dealt with the structure and properties of diamond, the structure and optical behaviour of numerous iridescent substances (labradorite, pearly feldspar, agate, opal, and pearls). Among his other interests were the optics of colloids, electrical and magnetic anisotropy, and the physiology of human vision.
For his discovery on raman effect, Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930. In 1986, the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) asked the Government of India to designate 28 February as National Science Day. The event is now celebrated all over the country in schools, colleges, universities and other academic, scientific, technical, medical and research institutions. On the occasion of the first National Science Day on 30 May 2000, the NCSTC announced institution of the National Science Popularization awards for recognizing outstanding efforts in the area of science communication and popularization.
Sir C. V. Raman worked at Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata, West Bengal, India during 1907 to 1933 on various topics of Physics making discovery of the celebrated effect on scattering of light in 1928, which bears his name and that brought many accolades including the Nobel Prize in 1930. The American Chemical Society designated the 'Raman Effect' as an International Historic Chemical Landmark in 2013.
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