C. V. Raman

C. V. Raman
Sir Chandrasekhara Ventata Raman, FRS

Born 7 November 1888(1888-11-07)
Thiruvanaikoil, Tiruchirappalli, Madras Presidency, bharath
Died 21 November 1970(1970-11-21) (aged 82)
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Nationality Indian-- (talk) 11:43, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Fields Physics
Institutions Indian Finance Department
University of Calcutta
Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science
Indian Institute of Science
Alma mater University of Madras
Doctoral students G. N. Ramachandran
Known for Raman effect
Notable awards Knight Bachelor (1929)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1930)
Bharat Ratna (1954)
Lenin Peace Prize (1957)

Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, FRS (Tamil: சந்திரசேகர வெங்கடராமன்) (7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) was an Indian physicist whose work was influential in the growth of science in the world. He was the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930 for the discovery that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the light that is deflected changes in wavelength. This phenomenon is now called Raman scattering and is the result of the Raman effect.


Early years

Venkata Raman was born at Thiruvanaikaval, near Tiruchirappalli, Madras Presidency to R. Chandrasekhara Iyer (b. 1866) and Parvati Ammal (Saptarshi Parvati).[1] He was the second of their eight children. At an early age, Raman moved to the city of Vizag, Andhra Pradesh. Studied in St.Aloysius Anglo-Indian High School. His father was a lecturer in Mathematics and physics.


In 1917, Raman resigned from his government service and took up the newly created Palit Professorship in Physics at the University of Calcutta. At the same time, he continued doing research at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Calcutta, where he became the Honorary Secretary. Raman used to refer to this period as the golden era of his career. Many students gathered around him at the IACS and the University of Calcutta.

Energy level diagram showing the states involved in Raman signal.

On February 28, 1928, through his experiments on the scattering of light, he discovered the Raman effect. It was instantly clear that this discovery was an important one. It gave further proof of the quantum nature of light. Raman spectroscopy came to be based on this phenomenon, and Ernest Rutherford referred to it in his presidential address to the Royal Society in 1929. Raman was president of the 16th session of the Indian Science Congress in 1929. He was conferred a knighthood, and medals and honorary doctorates by various universities. Raman was confident of winning the Nobel Prize in Physics as well, and was disappointed when the Nobel Prize went to Richardson in 1928 and to de Broglie in 1929. He was so confident of winning the prize in 1930 that he booked tickets in July, even though the awards were to be announced in November, and would scan each day's newspaper for announcement of the prize, tossing it away if it did not carry the news. He did eventually win the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him". He was the first Asian and first non-White to receive any Nobel Prize in the sciences. Before him Rabindranath Tagore (also Indian) had received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

C.V Raman & Bhagavantam, discovered the quantum photon spin in 1932, which further confirmed the quantum nature of light. [1]

Raman also worked on the acoustics of musical instruments. He worked out the theory of transverse vibration of bowed strings, on the basis of superposition velocities. He was also the first to investigate the harmonic nature of the sound of the Indian drums such as the tabla and the mridangam.

Raman and his student of mim high school, provided the correct theoretical explanation for the acousto-optic effect (light scattering by sound waves), in a series of articles resulting in the celebrated Raman-Nath theory. Modulators, and switching systems based on this effect have enabled optical communication components based on laser systems.

In 1934, Raman became the assistant director of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, where two years later he continued as a professor of physics. Other investigations carried out by Raman were 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.

He also started a company called cv Chemical and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in 1943 along with Dr. Krishnamurthy. The Company during its 60 year history, established four factories in Southern India. In 1947, he was appointed as the first National Professor by the new government of Independent India.

In 1948, Raman, through studying the spectroscopic behavior of crystals, approached in a new manner fundamental problems of crystal dynamics. He dealt with the structure and properties of diamond, the structure and optical behavior of numerous iridescent substances (labradorite, pearly feldspar, agate, opal, and pearls). Among his other interests were the optics of colloids, electrical and magnetic anisotropy, and the physiology of human vision.

Personal life

Raman retired from the Indian Institute of Science in 1948 and established the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, Karnataka a year later. He served as its director and remained active there until his death in 1970, in Bangalore, at the age of 82.

He was married on 6 May 1907 to Lokasundari Ammal (1892 - 1980) with whom he had two sons, Chandrasekhar and Radhakrishnan.

C.V. 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.

Honours and awards

Raman was honoured with a large number of honorary doctorates and memberships of scientific societies. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society early in his career (1924) and knighted in 1929. 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.[2] He was also awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1957.

India celebrates National Science Day on 28 February of every year to commemorate the discovery of the Raman effect in 1928.[3]


  • "The Small Motion at the Nodes of a Vibrating String", Nature, 1909
  • "The Maintenance of Forced Oscillations of a New Type", Nature, 1909
  • "The Ectara", J. Indian Math. Club, 1909
  • "The Maintenance of Forced Oscillations", Nature, 1910
  • "Oscillations of the Stretched Strings", J. Indian Math. Club, 1910
  • "Photographs of Vibrational Curves", Philos. Mag., 1911
  • "Remarks on a Paper by J.S. Stokes on 'Some Curious Phenomena Observed in Connection with Melde's Experiment'", Physics Rev., 1911
  • "The Small Motion at the Nodes of a Vibrating String", Phys. Rev., 1911
  • "The Maintenance of Forced Oscillations of a New Type", Philos. Mag, 1912
  • "Some Remarkable Cases of Resonance", Phys. Rev. 1912
  • "Experimental Investigations on the Maintenance of Vibrations", Bull. Indian Assoc. Cultiv. Sci., 1912
  • "Some Acoustical Observations", Bull. Indian Assoc. Cultiv. Sci., 1913
  • "The Dynamical Theory of the Motion of Bowed Strings", Bull. Indian Assoc. Cultiv. Sci., 1914
  • "The Maintenance of Vibrations", Phys. Rev. 1914
  • "Dynamical Theory of the Motion of Bowed Strings", Bulletin, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, 1914
  • "On Motion in a Periodic Field of Force", Bull. Indian Assoc. Cultiv. Sci., 1914
  • "On the Maintenance of Combinational Vibrations by Two Simple Harmonic forces", Phys. Rev., 1915
  • "On Motion in a Periodic Field of Force", Philos. Mag, 1915
  • "On Discontinuous Wave-Motion - Part 1", Philos. Mag, 1916 (with S Appaswamair)
  • "On the 'Wolf-Note' of the Violin and Cello", Nature (London). 1916
  • "On the 'Wolf-Note' in the Bowed Stringed Instruments", Philos. Mag., 1916
  • "The Maintenance of Vibrations in a Periodic Field of Force", Philos. Mag, 1917 (with A. Dey)
  • "On Discontinuous Wave-Motion - Part 2", Philos. Mag, 1917 (with A Dey)
  • "On Discontinuous Wave-Motion - Part 3", Philos. Mag, 1917 (with A Dey)
  • "On the Alterations of Tone Produced by a Violin 'Mute'", Nature (London) 1917
  • "On the 'Wolf-Note' in the Bowed Stringed Instruments", Philos. Mag., 1918
  • "On the Wolf-Note in Pizzicato Playing", Nature (London), 1918
  • "On the Mechanical Theory of the Vibrations of Bowed Strings and of Musical Instruments of the Violin Family, with Experimental Verification of Results - Part 1", Bulletin, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, 1918
  • "The Theory of the Cyclical Vibrations of a Bowed String", Bulletin, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, 1918
  • "An Experimental Method for the Production of Vibrations", Phys. Rev., 1919
  • "A New Method for the Absolute Determination of Frequency", Proc. R. Soc. London, 1919
  • "On the Partial Tones of Bowed Stringed Instruments", Philos. Mag, 1919
  • "The Kinematics of Bowed Strings", J. Dept of Sci., Univ. Calcutta, 1919
  • "On the Sound of Splashes", Philos. Mag, 1920
  • "On a Mechanical Violin-Player for Acoustical Experiments, Philos. Mag., 1920
  • "Experiments with Mechanically-Played Violins", Proc. Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, 1920
  • "On Kaufmann's Theory of the Impact of the Pianoforte Hammer", proc. S. Soc. London, 1920 (with B Banerji)
  • "Musical Drums with Harmonic Overtones", Nature (London), 1920 (with S. Kumar)
  • "Whispering Gallery Phenomena at St. Paul's Cathedral", Nature (London) 1921 (with G.A. Sutherland)
  • "The Nature of Vowel Sounds", Nature (London) 1921
  • "On the Whispering Gallery Phenomenon", Proc. R. Soc. London, 1922 (with G.A. Sutherland)
  • "On Some Indian Stringed Instruments", Proc. Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, 1921
  • "On Whispering Galleries", Indian Assoc. Cultiv. Sci., 1922
  • "On the Molecular Scattering of Light in Water and the Colour of the Sea", Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1922
  • "The Acoustical Knowledge of the Ancient Hindus", Asutosh Mookerjee Silver Jubilee - Vol 2,
  • "The Subjective Analysis of Musical Tones", Nature (London), 1926
  • "Musical Instruments and Their Tones"
  • "A new type of Secondary Radiation", Nature, 1928
  • "A new radiation", Indian Journal of Physics, 1928
  • "The Indian Musical Drums", Proc. Indian Acad. Sci., 1935
  • "The Diffraction of Light by High Frequency Sound Waves: Part I", Proc. Indian Acad. Sci., 1935 (with N. S. Nagendra Nath)
  • "The Diffraction of Light by High Frequency Sound Waves: Part II", Proc. Indian Acad. Sci., 1935 (with N. S. Nagendra Nath)
  • "Nature of Thermal Agitation in Liquids", Nature (London), 1935 (with B.V. Raghavendra Rao)
  • "The Diffraction of Light by High Frequency Sound Waves: Part III: Doppler Effect and Coherence Phenomena", Proc. Indian Acad. Sci., 1936 (with N. S. Nagendra Nath)
  • "The Diffraction of Light by High Frequency Sound Waves: Part IV: Generalised Theory", Proc. Indian Acad. Sci., 1936 (with N. S. Nagendra Nath)
  • "The Diffraction of Light by High Frequency Sound Waves: Part V: General Considerations - Oblique Incidence and Amplitude Changes", Proc. Indian Acad. Sci., 1936 (with N. S. Nagendra Nath)
  • "Diffraction of Light by Ultrasonic Waves", Nature (London), 1936 (with N. S. Nagendra Nath)
  • "Acoustic Spectrum of Liquids", Nature (London), 1937 (with B.V. Raghavendra Rao)
  • "Light Scattering and Fluid Viscosity", Nature (London), 1938 (with B.V. Raghavendra Rao)
  • Aspects of Science, 1948
  • The New Physics: Talks on Aspects of Science, 1951
  • "The structure and optical behaviour of iridescent opal", Proc. Indian. Acad. Sci. A38 1953 (with A. Jayaraman)
  • Lectures on Physical Optics, 1959

See also


  1. ^ Sir C. V. Raman (1988). Scientific Papers of C.V. Raman: Acoustics Volume 2. Indian Academy of Sciences. p. ix. 
  2. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954-2007)" (pdf). Ministry of Home Affairs. http://www.mha.nic.in/pdfs/PadmaAwards1954-2007.pdf. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Science Day: Remembering Raman". Zee News (India). 27 February 2009. http://zeenews.india.com/sci-tech/miscellaneous/2009-02-27/511267news.html. 


Further reading

  • Miller, Foil A.; Kauffman, George (1989). "C. V. Raman and the Discovery of the Raman effect". Journal of Chemical Education 66 (10): 795–801. Bibcode 1989JChEd..66..795M. doi:10.1021/ed066p795. 
  • Ramaseshan S: C.V.Raman. Journal of Madras University, section B, Sept.1983, 46(1): 1-16.
  • Scientific Papers of CV Raman, Ed. S Ramaseshan, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore 1988.
  • Sri Kantha S: The discovery of the Raman Effect and its impact in Biological Sciences. European Spectroscopy News, Aug/Sept. 1988, no.80, 20, 22, 24 & 26.
  • Sri Kantha S: Raman's prize. Nature, 1989; 340: 672.
  • Fabelinski I,L. Priority and the Raman Effect. Nature, 1990; 343: 686.
  • "CV Raman centennial issue". Journal of the Indian Institute of Science 68 (11–12). 1988. http://www.archive.org/details/RamanCentennial. 

External links

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