USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

Celebrating Role Models in Science & Engineering Achievement: C.V. Raman!

C.V. Raman – Physicist
First Indian scientist to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. Known for his pioneering work in the scattering of light, now commonly called the “Raman Effect”

C.V. Raman 2

In 1930, at a time of limited opportunities for Indian scientists, his groundbreaking work in optics and the scattering of light led him to become one of the most renowned scientists that India has ever produced!

C.V. Raman (born Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman in 1888 in Tiruchinapalli, Tamil Nadu, India) was raised in studious home environment. His father was a lecturer in mathematics and physics. C.V. would go on to study at Presidency College, Madras, in 1902, and later passed his B.A. examination in 1904, being awarded the gold medal in physics. In 1907, he passed his M.A. examination with high distinction.

At that time when CV Raman completed his studies, there were not many opportunities available for scientists in India. After passing his M.A. exam, he joined the Indian Finance Department. He carried out many experiments in the lab of Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science at Calcutta after his office hours. His areas of research include the acoustics and optics. Raman got the position of Physics Professor at Calcutta University where he stayed for the next fifteen years, laying the foundation for his famous work in optics and scattering of light.

Why He Is Important: C.V. Raman’s work in physics was influential in the growth of science in India. He was the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics (becoming the first Indian to win this honor) in 1930 for the discovery that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the light that is deflected changes in wavelength. This phenomenon was called “Raman Scattering” and is now more commonly known as the “Raman Effect”.

Other Achievements: His pioneering work also resulted in him becoming the member of Royal Society of London in 1924. He was awarded with the knight of the British Empire in 1929 by Great Britain.

Raman also worked as the director and Physics professor at the Indian Institute of Sciences in Bangalore for two years. Some of his other pioneering works include experimental and theoretical studies on the light diffraction by acoustic waves of hypersonic and ultrasonic frequencies. He also studied the effects produced by X-rays in crystals exposed to ordinary light on infrared vibrations. In addition, he established the Raman Research Institute after independence in Bangalore, where he worked until his death in 1970.

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