Remembering Sir C. V. Raman: the first Asian Nobel laureate in Science

The first Asian Nobel laureate in Science
The first Asian Nobel laureate in Science

One of India’s most revered scientists, Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, more popularly known as C. V. Raman, passed away on November 21 in 1970. The Nobel Prize winning Physicist was born in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, on November 7, 1888. His father was a lecturer of Mathematics and Physics, which had influenced Raman to follow the course of Science.

Interview of Sir C V Raman

Let us know 10 interesting facts about Sir C. V. Raman:

1. Raman quit his government service; he was appointed the first Palit Professor of Physics at the University of Calcutta in 1917.

2. While he was teaching at the University of Calcutta, Raman continued his research at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) in Calcutta. He later became an honorary scholar at the association.

3. At the IACS, Raman did a groundbreaking experiment that eventually earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics on February 28 in 1928. He discovered the evidence of the quantum nature of light by observing the scattering of light, an effect that came to be known as the Raman Effect. The day is celebrated as National Science Day in India.

4. Not known by many but Raman had a collaborator in this experiment. K. S. Krishnan, Raman’s co-worker, did not share the Nobel Prize due to some professional differences between the two. However, Raman strongly mentioned Krishnan’s contributions in his Nobel acceptance speech.

5. Discoverer of atomic nucleus and proton, Dr. Ernest Rutherford referred to Raman’s spectroscopy in his presidential address to the Royal Society in 1929. Raman was acknowledged by the society and he was also presented with a knighthood.

6. Raman had been hoping for a Nobel Prize since 1928. After two years of wait, he bagged the award “for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the Raman Effect”. He was so eager that he had booked tickets to Sweden in July to receive the award in November.

7. Raman was the first Asian and non-White individual to win a Nobel Prize in science. The other one was given to Rabindranath Tagore in 1913.

8. In 1932, Raman and Suri Bhagavantam discovered the quantum photon spin. This discovery further proved the quantum nature of light.

9. When asked about his inspiration behind the Nobel Prize winning optical theory, Raman said he was inspired by the “wonderful blue opalescence of the Mediterranean Sea” while he was going to Europe in 1921.

10. Raman was not only an expert on light, he also experimented with acoustics. Raman was the first person to investigate the harmonic nature of the sound of Indian drums such as tabla and mridangam.

11. On his first death anniversary, the Indian Postal Service published a commemorative stamp of Sir C. V. Raman with the reading of his spectroscopy and a diamond in the background. He was also awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1954.


Image source: Rainbowstampclub