21 November : Remembering C V Raman on his Punya Tithi

21 November : Remembering C V Raman on his Punya Tithi

DR. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) was an Indian physicist known for his work in the field of light scattering


C. V. Raman was born on 7 November 1888 in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, to Tamil Brahmin’s parents, Chandrasekhara Ramanathan Iyer and Parvathi Ammal. His father was a teacher at a local high school.


Because of his father’s interest, he appeared for the Financial Civil Services (FCS) examination and topped it. In 1907, he went to Calcutta (now Kolkata) and joined as Assistant Accountant General. But in his spare time, he went to the laboratory to do research at the Indian Association for Cultivation of Sciences. His job was very hectic, but he continued his research work at night due to his core interest in science.

Though the facilities available in the laboratory were very limited, he continued his research and published his findings in leading international journals including ‘Nature’, ‘The Philosophical Magazine, ‘Physics Review’, etc. At that time, his research was focused on the areas of vibrations and acoustics.

He got an opportunity to join the University of Calcutta in 1917, as the first Palit Professor of Physics. After 15 years at Calcutta, he became the Professor at the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore from 1933-1948 and since 1948, he became the Director of the Raman Institute of Research at Bangalore which was established and endowed by him only.

Works and Discovery

He established the Indian Journal of Physics in 1926 where he was the Editor. He also sponsored the establishment of the Indian Academy of Sciences and served as the President since its inception. He was the President of the Current Science Association in Bangalore, which publishes Current Science (India).

In 1928, he wrote an article on the theory of musical instruments for the 8th Volume of the Handbuch der Physik. He published his work on the “Molecular Diffraction of Light” in 1922 which led to his ultimate discovery of the radiation effect on 28 February 1928 and gained him receive Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930. He became the first Indian to receive a Nobel Prize.

His other researches were: Diffraction of light by acoustic waves of ultrasonic and hypersonic frequencies and effects produced by X-rays on infrared vibrations in crystals exposed to ordinary light.

In 1948, he also studied the fundamental problems of crystal dynamics. His laboratory has been dealing with the structure and properties of diamonds, and the structure and optical behaviour of numerous iridescent substances like pearls, agate, opal, etc.

He was also interested in the optics of colloids, electrical and magnetic anisotropy, and the physiology of human vision.

In 1924, he was also elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society early in his career and was knighted in 1929.

As briefly described that he is best known for discovering the ‘Raman Effect’ or the theory related to the scattering of light. He showed that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes its wavelength.


In 1924, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society early in his career and was knighted in 1929.

He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.

He was awarded the Franklin Medal in 1941.

He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1954, the highest civilian award in India.

In 1957, he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

The American Chemical Society and the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science 1998 recognised Raman’s discovery as an International Historic Chemical Landmark.

On 28 February every year, India celebrates National Science Day to commemorate the discovery of the Raman Effect in 1928 in his honour.


C V Raman died on 21 November 1970 in Bengaluru India.

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