Dr. Chandra Shekhar Venkata Raman, popularly known as C.V. Raman, is one of the most distinguished scientists of the 20th century. It was he who during a long sea voyage to Europe in 1921 as the representative of the Kolkata University at a science meet, wondered why the water in Maditerranean Sea was such a dark shade of blue.
And the time came when he gave the answers to this apparently simple question and won the world’s most prestigious award-the Noble Prize in 1930.
Dr. C.V. Raman was born on November 7, 1888 in an orthodox South Indian Brahmin family in tirchurappalli, Tamilnadu. His father’s name was Chandra Shekhar Aiyer who had special interest in science and mathematics. His mother Parvati was a pious lady. Raman was a very brilliant student since his early childhood.
He passed his matriculation at the age of 11 and at 15 graduated from the Presidency College, Chennai. He was the only student to get a first class. He completed his Master’s degree in Physics from the same college and broke all previous records.
After this Raman took up a job in Calcutta (now Kolkata) as an assistant accountant general. While there, he was able to sustain his interest in science by working in his spare time, in the laboratories of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science.
After ten years of Government services, Raman resigned to work as a professor of physics at the Kolkata University. He stayed there for fifteen years. It was the period when he received world wide recognition for his work in optics and scattering of light his pioneering research on the molecular scattering of light, the phenomenon that causes changes in the nature of light when it passes through a transparent medium-solid, liquid or gaseous-culminated in his getting the Noble Prize for Physics in 1930.
He carried out different types of experiments and researches on the sun rays passing through water, transparent ice blocks and other media. For these experiments, Raman used a mercury arc and a spectrograph. Raman obtained some new lines in the spectrum on passing the sun rays through different substances. These lines were called ‘Raman Lines’ and the discovery of ‘Raman Effect’.
Raman was awarded the degree of ‘Doctor of Science’ in 1921 by the Kolkata University and in 1929; the British Gorvenment in India conferred on him the title of ‘Sir’. He was also awarded Lenin Peace Prize in 1958. The government of India also honoured him with the highest honour of the country,’Bharat Ratna’ (Jewel of India) in 1954.
In 1943, Raman set up the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore. There he served as its director and remained active until his death on November 21, 1970, at the age of eighty two. He was proud to be an Indian. Till the day he died, he did not give up his traditional Indian turban in favour of a European hat. Thus he was a great scientiest ever produced by India.