World’s Super Scientists – Sir C.V. Raman

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The Man of  Science  – Sir C.V. Raman

Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1888 to 1970) was born at Tiruchirapalli, Tamilnadu in 1888. It is almost a house-hold name in India reverberating ‘Raman Effect ‘.

Scientist C.V.Raman passed MA in January 1907 topping the list and walking away with prizes.

Scientist C.V.Raman thought was research-oriented, right from the college days in Presidency College, Madras. His first research paper was on diffraction of light.

In 1907 after passing Indian Civil Service (ICS) examination he became the Deputy Accountant General in Calcutta. He was studying problems in physics, inspired by the works of Einstein, Helmholtz.

In 1917 he resigned from the post and joined as Professor of Physics at Calcutta University. Scientist Raman was a teacher par excellence.

The scientific elite in India has to respect Scientist Raman, Saha, Krishnan — they faced odds and struggles to develop science in this country.

Scientists Raman and Krishnan remind us of the legendary Rama and Krishna, giants of Indian mythology.Raman opined that Roentgen’s epoch-making discovery of X-rays marked the beginning of new physics.

“Science is a fusion of man’s aesthetic and intellectual functions devoted to the representation of Nature. Discovery is a dramatic, exciting event like finding a fifty carat diamond in a ploughed field. The classic example is that of Archimedes who was excited on his discovery and came running, crying ‘Eureka Eureka’.”

Scientist Raman’s contributions

  • On cosmic radiation. The purpose of science is to obtain deeper understanding of the powers of Nature.
  • Studies in acoustics :
  1. Studies on vibration — percussion instruments: mridangam, tabla; stringed instruments: tambura, veena.
  2. Studies on Whispering gallery in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London; in India, Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur.
  • Study in Optics: The wave-like nature of light is subject to reflection, refraction, diffraction. Oblique diffraction has also been described. Colour of heated metals is also due diffraction effect. In 1911 a study: X-rays were diffracted by crystals and produced a well-defined interference pattern. Thus the use of X-rays to unravel the architecture of crystals was studied.
  • Raman effect:

monochromatic light from a mercury arc was passed through

  1. transparent materials, and was made to fall on a spectrograph torecord itsspectrum. He observed some new lines in the spectrum called ‘Raman Lines’.
  2. Suppose a beam of light is incident on a liquid (or on solid or even gas). The incident light will either be absorbed by the molecules in the system or it will be scattered, called Raman scattering. He did work on scattering of light in crystals.
  • Why is the sea blue? It has nothing to do with the colour of the water. It is the blue colour of the sky seen by reflection.
  • Explanation of “Son et Lumiere” phenomenon — Shows held at Red Fort, New Delhi; Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, — night time entertainment. This is based on Raman-Nath theory — manoeuvre of light and sound effects to produce visual and auditory perception.
  • The Born-Raman controversy or dispute.

Scientist C.V.Raman who never made mistake, never made a discovery
General Studies Question Bank CD

— Samuel Smiles

  • Scientist Raman’s interest in crystal dynamics — Raman spectrum of Diamond. However, he received brickbats from jealous colleagues, which is not uncommon for Inventors and Discoverers.

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Scientist C.V.Raman Honours and awards

  • 1924 elected Fellow of Royal Society of London.
  • 1929 Italian Society of Rome awarded the Matteucci Gold Medal.
  • British Government conferred knighthood (Sir C.V. Raman).

* Faraday Society of London invited him for an address.

University of Freiburg awarded a doctoral degree honoris causa.

* Physical Society of Switzerland elected him as Hon. Member.

* The plum came in 1930. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics. Raman was only 41 years old when he won the prize.

Why there is no parade for hero-scientists like Ramanujan and Raman?General Studies Question Bank CD

Scientist Raman as a man — the man in Raman — Raman’s  qualities, personality :

* child-like simplicity, yet a complex personality.

* child-like stubbornness, sometimes.

* his exuberance while speaking.

* sober scientist.

* he never hesitated to call a spade a spade.

* youthful daring till the end of his life.

* according to him, politics and science were poles apart. Hence he kept himself aloof from politics.

* Science dominated his life.

“Science was a window to Natures majesty”, he remarked.

One of Ramans gifts to Indian scientists is the Indian Academy of Sciences. “I cannot remain idle for a single day”, he used to say. He left no stone untured to collect donations and favours for his institute.

“Our greatest men were beggars

— the Buddha, Sankara and even Gandhi”, he appealed thus.

He had deep compassion for children — “he wept like a child during one of the Academy lectures when pictures were shown of children of our land suffering from nutritional ailments”. He envisaged a happy world of children, “If they (i.e., the young) are enthused and if they are instilled with a spirit of adventure, the sleeping giant will wake up and we can conquer the world.”

When there is no hope, there is no life., “there is nothing worth in this world that can come without the sweat of our brow”, he declared.

“What is needed in India is the destruction of that defeatist spirit (of inferiority complex)”, he opined.

In  1968 Scientist Raman  attained  the  age  of eighty —Octogenarian extraordinary.

Notwithstanding his genius, there were some shortcomings in him :

  • his dismissal of rivals.
  • his disinclination toward woman scientists.

Replying to felicitations in a meeting convened to honour him at the end of the journey of his life, he remarked, “I wish some one had said that I had the heart of a lion” — such was the roaring desire and fuming enthusiasm of Scientist C.V. Raman, the Man of Science!

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