DR. C. V. RAMAN Biography - Famous Scientists


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The first Indian scientist to win Nobel Prize was Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1888-1970). A native of Madras, he failed to find a suitable scientific job there and joined the Indian Finance Department in 1907. He was posted to Calcutta. Soon after his arrival there, he discovered Sarkar’s Indian Association for the cultivation of science. He began to do his research here before and after office hours until in 1917 Sir Ashutosh appointed him to the Palit Professorship in Physics at the new University College of Science.


Raman’s initial research was focused on acoustics and musical instruments, and led to his election as Fellow of the Royal Society in 1924. It was during a trip to England in 1921 that he was fascinated by the blue colour of the Mediterranean. With a very simple experiment he convinced himself that the blue of the sea was due not only to the reflection of the sky, as proposed by Lord Rayleigh, but mainly to the scattering of light by water molecules. On his return to Calcutta he began a systematic study of the scattering of light by different liquids, culminating in the discovery of a totally new kind of radiations predicted by the quantum theory and named after him. These Raman radiation carry vital information about the internal structure of the scattering molecules, and have proved to be of immense importance in studying molecular structures.


Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930. He became the Honorary Secretary of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science. In 1939, however, he left Calcutta to join the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.