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C. V. Raman

Physicist

Died when: 82 years 14 days (984 months)
Star Sign: Scorpio

 

C. V. Raman Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (; 7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) was an Indian physicist who made groundbreaking works in the field of light scattering. With his student K. S. Krishnan, he discovered that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light change wavelength and amplitude. This phenomenon was a new type of scattering of light and was subsequently known as the Raman effect (Raman scattering). Raman won the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics and was the first Asian person to receive a Nobel Prize in any branch of science. Born to Hindu Tamil Brahmin parents, Raman was a precocious child, completing his secondary and higher secondary education from St Aloysius' Anglo-Indian High School at the ages of 11 and 13, respectively. He topped bachelor's degree examination at the University of Madras with honours in physics from Presidency College at age 16. His first research paper, on diffraction of light, was published in 1906 while still a graduate student. The next year he obtained an M.A. degree. He was 19 years of age when he joined the Indian Finance Service in Kolkata as Assistant Accountant General. There he became acquainted with the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), the first research institute in India, which allowed him to do independent research and where he made his major contributions in acoustics and optics. In 1917, he was appointed as the first Palit Professor of Physics by Ashutosh Mukherjee at the Rajabazar Science College under the University of Calcutta. On his first trip to Europe, seeing the Mediterranean Sea motivated him to correctly describe the reason for the blue colour of the sea as a phenomenon of diffraction. He founded the Indian Journal of Physics in 1926. He and Krishnan discovered on 28 February 1928 a novel phenomenon of light scattering, which they called "modified scattering," but more famously known as the Raman effect. The day is celebrated by the Government of India as the National Science Day every year. Raman moved to the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore in 1933 to become its first Indian Director. There he founded the Indian Academy of Sciences the same year. He established the Raman Research Institute in 1948 where he worked to his last days. In 1954, the Government of India honoured him with the first Bharat Ratna (along with politician C. Rajagopalachari and philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan), its highest civilian award. He later smashed the medallion in protest against Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's policies on scientific research.
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