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C. V. Raman


Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born on November 7, 1888 in the city of Trichinopoly, Madras Presidency, British India. Today the city is known as Tiruchirappalli and sits in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He was the second child of Chandrasekhar Iyer and Parvathi Amma. His father was a lecturer in mathematics and physics, so he had an academic atmosphere at home. He entered Presidency College, Madras, in 1902, and in 1904 passed his B.A. examination, winning the first place and the gold medal in physics. In 1907, C.V. Raman passed his M.A. obtaining the highest distinctions.



During those times there were not many opportunities for scientists in India. Therefore, Raman joined the Indian Finance Department in 1907. After his office hours, he carried out his experimental research in the laboratory of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science at Calcutta. He carried out research in acoustics and optics.

In 1917, Raman was offered the position of Sir Taraknath Palit Professorship of Physics at Calcutta University. He stayed there for the next fifteen years. During his tenure there, he received world wide recognition for his work in optics and scattering of light. He was elected to the Royal Society of London in 1924 and the British made him a knight of the British Empire in 1929. In 1930, Sir C.V. Raman was awarded with Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on scattering of light. The discovery was later christened as "Raman Effect".

In 1934, C.V. Raman became the director of the newly established Indian Institute of Sciences in Bangalore, where two years later he continued as a professor of physics. Other investigations carried out by Raman were: his experimental and theoretical studies on the diffraction of light by acoustic waves of ultrasonic and hypersonic frequencies (published 1934-1942), and those on the effects produced by X-rays on infrared vibrations in crystals exposed to ordinary light. In 1947, he was appointed as the first National Professor by the new government of Independent India. He retired from the Indian Institute in 1948 and a year later he established the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, where he worked till his death.


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Personal life

He was married on 6 May 1907 to Lokasundari Ammal (1892–1980). They had two sons, Chandrasekhar and radio-astronomer Radhakrishnan.

Raman was the paternal uncle of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who later won the Nobel Prize in Physics (1983) for his discovery of the Chandrasekhar limit in 1931 and for his subsequent work on the nuclear reactions necessary for stellar evolution.



At the end of October 1970, Raman collapsed in his laboratory; the valves of his heart had given way. He was moved to the hospital and the doctors gave him four days to live. He survived and after a few days refused to stay in the hospital as he preferred to die in the gardens of his Institute surrounded by his followers.

Two days before Raman died, he told one of his former students, "Do not allow the journals of the Academy to die, for they are the sensitive indicators of the quality of science being done in the country and whether science is taking root in it or not." That same evening, Raman met with the Board of Management of his Institute and discussed (from his bed) with them any proceedings with regards to the Institute's management. Raman died from natural causes early next morning on 21 November 1970.


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Honors and awards

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society early in his career (1924) and knighted in 1929. He resigned from the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1968 for unrecorded reasons, the only Indian FRS ever to do so.

In 1930 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

In 1941 he was awarded the Franklin Medal.

In 1954 he was awarded the Bharat Ratna.

He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1957. In 1998, the American Chemical Society and Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science recognised Raman's discovery as an International Historic Chemical Landmark.

India celebrates National Science Day on 28 February of every year to commemorate the discovery of the Raman Effect in 1928.


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