Biography of C.V Raman

C.V. Raman:

Date of birth: 1888

Date of death: 1970

C.V. Raman

C.V. Raman

SIR PROFESSOR CHANDRASHEKHARA VENKATA RAMAN WAS popularly known as Professor C.V.Raman.He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930 for his outstanding discovery of the scattering of light.All his life Raman worked for the cause of scientific development in India.

Raman was an exceptionally brilliant boy right from his childhood.He passed all school and college examinations with flying colors and completed his Master’s degree when he was 17-year old.Raman was awarded a gold medal for securing the highest marks in the Master’s degree in 1907.

Raman wanted to take the Indian Civil Services(ICS) exams but in those days ICS examinations were not conducted in India,all of  the candidates had to go to England to sit for the examination.Raman too wanted to attend the ICS examination,but his poor financial circumstances did not allow him to do so.Raman decided to attend Financial Civil Service(FCS) instead.

Raman secured high marks and got through the interview.He was then posted to Calcutta as an Assistant Accountant-General where he remained for ten years.During this period Raman was also active in scientific research and experiments.He published more than 30 well-researched papers in several prestigious science journals when he was in the government service.

A turning point came in Raman’s life when he was offered Palit Chair for Physics by Sir Asutosh Mookerjee,the Vice-Chancellor of the Calcutta University.Raman accepted the offer and joined the Calcutta University,and Raman’s ten years of government service ended in this way.Raman was a dedicated scientist,all his life Raman worked for the scientific development of India.It was Raman who truly laid down the foundations of modern science in India.In the latter half of his life Raman was elected a fellow of the Royal Society,London.The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Raman in 1930,and he was also knighted by the British Government in India in 1929 at the age of 41.

Raman is remembered for his major contributions in the field of vibration and sound,musical instruments,ultrasonic,diffraction,metrological and colloid optics photo-electricity,x-ray diffraction,magnetism,dielectrics and the Raman Effect.

CHANDRASEKHARA VENKATA RAMAN,popularly known as C.V Raman,was born at Trichinopoly,Tamil Nadu,India,on November 7,1888.He was the second son of R.Chandrasekhara Iyer and Parvathi Ammal. R.Chandrasekhara Iyer was a professor of mathematics at A.V.N College,Andhra Pradesh.Parbati,the wife of R.C Iyer,was a devout lady who spent most of her time in prayer.
Raman was a brilliant student throughout his educational career;he matriculated at 12,graduated at 15,and recieved master’s degree at 17.Raman studied very hard for the final year exam of B.A. When the result of the B.A examination was published,Raman came first in the whole state of Madras.Similarly Raman secured first position in the M.A.examination and was awarded with the gold madal.
When C.V Raman was studying for an M.A.,he wrote two articles,one on acoustics and the other on light.These articles were published in two of London’s scientific magazines ,these articles were excellent,and senior scientists of England praised Raman’s brilliant theories on the study of light.
As Raman did not come from a rich family,he had to find a suitable job.He finally decided to sit the”Indian Financial Service”examination.He got through the examination and was selected as an Assistant Accountant General,a high ranking post,at the young age of 19.He was posted to Calcutta.
Raman found the post of an Assitant Accountant General was quite exciting but more challenging.Being a high level officer his responsibility was very serious he had to be busy most of the day and would get very little time for his studies and experiments.As a consequence he began to study late into the night.Many Indian and British friends of Raman were surprised when C.V.Raman published one after another many well-researched papers in many reputable science journals.These erudite papers of C.V.Raman duly attracted the attention of major scientists both in India and abroad.He remained in the Government job for ten years,but during this period he managed to publish more than 30 research papers,this was by no means a small number.


C.V. Raman

During his stay in Calcutta Raman became a permanent members of a science organization which he visited quite regularly.While  visiting this organization he happened to meet with the Vice-Chancellor there.Raman wished to join a University to teach science and mathematics.Sir Asutosh Mookerji,the vice-chancellor of the calcutta University.Now Raman had to make a serious decision by choosing one job and leaving the other,and he decided to leave government job which brought him a handsome salary and several other benefits.

Raman,as an accountant general,had a very large salary,a bungalow,a motor car and a large staff of servants.He was getting nearly all the facilities that an English officer was getting at the time.But Raman was more interested   in science than occupying a high post in the government .

If Raman had had such a strong attraction to his post as Accountant  General possibly  he would have eventually retired and been known as one of the most hard-working and diligent officials,but India would have lost one of her most able scientists and of course,the Nobel Prize as well.But Raman sacrificed his lucrative job and preferred to get involved in the service of scientific research which was his major passion.

When Raman was in Calcutta University he devoted a great deal of time to the Indian Association for the cultivation of Science.He would work for ages in the laboratory.He was also publishing research papers quite frequently.In fact Raman who had rejected drawing a handsome salary in the Government job was satisfied and contested as a professor of science teacher was continously spreading far and wide.

Raman was invited to attend a science conference to be held in England in 1921 at the age of 33 the boarded a ship and headed for England.As the ship was making its way Raman was standing on deck looking at the waves in the sea.Suddenly his eyes focused on at the color of the sea water which was startlingly blue!

After he returned from England Raman started an extensive research into solving the mystery of why the seawater is blue.After a few months of hard work,he discovered the secret and wrote a paper in which he described the reason why seawater is seen as blue.

As we know water is a transparent liquid.Professor Raman said that when sunlight falls into the seawater a beam of sunlight passes through the tiny particles of the water and the result is that we see the water as blue.In brief it can also be said that because of scattering of light this causes the water to acquire a blue color.

Many scientists read Raman’s paper and they praised him enormously,but it was only a humble beginning.In later years he carried out more experiments and research to know more about the properties of the scattering effect of light.

On his return to Calcutta University Raman became very busy experimenting on the scattering of light.He passed light through water,dense liquid,solids,and thus he discovered that when light enters into such things the spectrum shows new lines of colour,and the number of new lines is different for different substances.This was a marvelous discovery and paved the way for many other scientist to discovery such things as colour photographs,plastics,and synthetic rubber,etc.

Professor Raman was invited to take a prestigious position of Taraknath Palit Professorship of Physics at calcutta University in 1917 at the fairly young age of 39.Prof.Raman was engaged in very hard work in the University laboratory,during this period he was working on Optics and the scattering of light and made significant progress.In 1924 he was elected to because a member of the Royal Society of London and in 1929 the British government khighted Prof.Raman for his longstanding service to enrich science.Similarly,in 1930 the Royal Society of London honored Raman with the Hughes Medal .He was appointed as director of the Indian Institute of science in Bangalore.

Raman with students

Raman with students

Professor Raman discovered the ‘Raman Effect’ on 28th February 1928.In 1930 the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Raman for his discovery of the ‘Scattering of light’ molecular science.He also traveled to Canada to give a lecture on the molecular and scattering of light at the British Association for the Advancement of Science.Raman also attended the International Congress of Mathematics where he gave a series of lectures.He also travel to many reputable universities in America and gave lectures on various topics.Wherever he visited he was greeted with warm welcomes and great respect.

The Nobel Prize of Science made Professor Raman a popular figure.He was determined to upgrade the status of Indian science and technology to an international standard.Raman had a dream of establishing a big institute where varous scientist could get the maximum facilities for research and experimentation.The Indian Academy of science(IAS) was established in 1948.Later this institute’s name was changed to the “Raman Research Institute’.

Professor Raman used his own money to buy expensive equipment for the institute.But due to a lack of funds many research works could not be performed in the institute.To meet the growing expenses of the institute,Professor Raman declared that he would donate all his property to the institute to ease the running costs and help the institute when it was passing through a difficult time.

Raman’s contribution to consolidate the foundation of Indian science and technology was indispensable and an awesome feat on his part which will never be forgotten.

Although Raman had a tough working schedule ,he would always get up early in the morning and go for a long walk.He could always be found saying that a sound brain is only found in a healthy body.

Also Raman was a voracious reader.Whenever he could get any free time he would keep himself busy reading books.He greatly enjoyed contemporary literature.He had also published a total of 475 papers and several miscellaneous articles during his life time.

The Raman,despite old age,would do quite hard work but,due to his age and the heavy workload,he became exhausted and finally his health seriously declined.His wife objected many times to the way he worked late into the night in the laboratory,but Raman hardly paid attention to his wife’s good advice.

One night,when Raman was reading a book,he suddenly had a strong heart attack and collapsed on November 21,1970,died at the age of 82.But he left behind ‘The Raman Effect’ as his most precious gift to mankind.Professor Raman was given the most prestigious award of India the ‘Bharat Ratna'(jewel of India).

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