The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, also known as CV Raman, died 51 years ago today. The Nobel laureate was born on November 7, 1888, in Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu. His first scientific effort as a student was in the subject of optics and acoustics, to which he devoted his entire career.
CV Raman was raised in an academic environment due to his father’s profession, and in 1904 he got his first gold medal in physics in his B.A. After earning his M.A., he joined the Indian Finance Department in 1907, but continued to conduct research in the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science’s laboratory in Calcutta.
In 1930, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics “for his work on light scattering and the discovery of the effect named after him” while working at Calcutta University. In 1933, he was appointed as a professor at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, where he remained for the next 15 years. The physicist founded and endowed the Raman Institute of Research in 1948, and he later became its director.
In 1928, Raman discovered that a small portion of the light, which scatters after meeting particles that are smaller than the light’s wavelength, acquires other wavelengths than that of the original light. It was because some of the energy from the incoming photons could be transferred to a molecule, giving it a boost in energy. The Raman effect is a phenomenon of energy exchange and a change in light direction named after the scientist. The phenomenon is used to analyse different types of material.
Raman was knighted in 1929 after being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1924.
On November 21, 1970, he died in Bengaluru, then Bangalore.