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On CV Raman

Author: Ratnakar Sadasyula @GabbarSanghi
Publication: Twitter.com
Date: November 20, 2018
URL:      https://twitter.com/GabbarSanghi/status/1065080511075250176

Today is the punyathithi of C.V.Raman, one of the greatest Indian scientists of the modern era. The first Indian to win a Nobel in Science, and the only Indian citizen too. A genius who was more than a mere scientist, a brilliant thinker and one of the greats of modern India.

Chandrashekhar Venkata Raman, or C.V.Raman was also the first Asian to get the Nobel Prize in Science, for his Raman Effect, which experimentally demonstrated that the light-quanta and molecules do exchange energy which manifests itself as a change in the colour.

And it was not just physics, he published around 475 papers on topics ranging from astronomy to metereology to physiology. Raman's work on the mridangam, bought to light the accoustical knowledge possesed in ancient India.

CV Raman was born on November 7, 1888 in a small village Thiruvanaikaval near Trichy on the banks of the Kaveri. His maternal grandfather Saptarishi Sastri was a renowned Sanskrit scholar, and his parents were R. Chandrasekhara Iyer and Parvathi Ammal.

Raman studied for some time in Vishakapatnam at the St.Aloysius High School , where his father was mathematics lecturer at the AVN College here. In 1903 he joined the prestigious Presidency College in Chennai, where he topped both the BA and MA exams.

While he was a naturally brilliant student, some books influenced him much more. One was Edwin Arnold’s The Light of Asia on Gautama Buddha, that infuenced him spiritually. Euclid’s Elements kindled his interest in geometry.

A gold medallist in Physics, another book that influenced CV Raman a lot was Hermann von Helmholtz.’s The Sensations of Tone on music and musical instruments. While we know him for Raman Effect, he did some brilliant work on accoustics of musical instruments too.

Inspite of his brilliance in science, Raman was not encouraged to take up science as a career, and on his father’s insistence took the Financial Civil Services exam. He stood first and joined as an Assistant Accountant General at Kolkata in 1907, in the Indian Finance Department.

However when he chanced on the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science( IACS), he joined it enthusiastically, after meeting the Secretary Amritlal Sircar. IACS was actually set up by his father Mahendralal Sarkar.

Mahendralal Sarkar, was one of the brighest minds of his time, and only the second one to get an MD from Kolkata University, and started the IACS for the propagation of science and inculcate a culture of research.

Raman often referred to his period at IACS as the golden phase of his career. Working with very limited equipment and that too in his spare time, he managed to get his research findings published in journals like Nature, Physics Review.

CV Raman did his research primarily on accoustics, studying many musical instruments like tabla, mridangam, violin. He published a monograph on the violin titled “On the Mechanical Theory of Vibrations of Musical Instruments of the Violin Family”.

In 1917, CV Raman was invited by Ashutosh Mukherjee, then VC of Kolkata University, to join as a Palit Professor of Physics in the newly established Science College. He happily accepted the offer, even though it was less than what he was getting in the Government service.

CV Raman took up a career in Science, in those days,when it was not considered an option. Typically people on graduating would join the Govt service. And like many others he did the same too. Yet his heart always was with Science, and when the time came he switched.

Also considering the fact that C.V.Raman had to work with very rudimentary equipment, virtually no financial support, the significance of his work is that much more. With his talent, he could have settled anywhere in the world, yet he choose to work for India, till the end.

Though his position did not entail any teaching and was primarily research oriented, Raman being a born teacher, taught in the Science classes. The by now famous Raman Scattering effect was discovered by him in 1928, along with another scientist K.S.Krishnan.

The Raman Spectroscopy based on the Raman Effect, is a technique used to observe vibrational, rotational modes in a system. This actually happened during a voyage to Europe in 1921, when he noticed the very blue color of Mediterranean Sea.

Raman carried out experiments regarding scattering of light, using monochromatic light from a mercury arc lamp. He detected lines in the spectrum, and presented his theory to other scientists. Most were sceptical initially, but accepted it in due course.

He in fact was confident of winning the Nobel for Physics in 1928 itself for his work on spectroscopy. And was quite disappointed when he found out that he had been bypassed not just that year, but in 1929 too.

He would however win the Nobel for Physics later in 1930, for his work on Scattering of Light, becoming first Asian scientist to do so. Apart from his discovery of scattering of light, he, did notable work in other areas too.

There is a very interesting anecdote about Raman, when he went on to receive the Nobel Prize at Stockholm. When he saw that he was getting the Prize under the Union Jack, he broke down over the fact that his country, still had no flag of it's own. Was a true Indian at heart.

But when I sat in that crowded hall and I saw the sea of western faces surrounding me, and I, the only Indian, in my turban and closed coat, it dawned on me that I was really representing my people and my country- C.V.Raman

Then I turned round and saw the British Union Jack under which I had been sitting and it was then that I realised that my poor country, India, did not even have a flag of her own - and it was this that triggered off my complete breakdown- CV Raman on receiving the Nobel

“C.V. Raman was the first to recognize and demonstrate that the energy of photon can undergo partial transformation within matter. I still recall vividly the deep impression that this discovery made on all of us….”- Albert Einstein

Along with Suri Bhagavantam, Raman discovered Quantum Photo Spin in 1932, later worked on accoustics of musical instruments. He was one of the first to investigate harmonic nature of the sound in the tabla and mridangam.

He worked out the theory of transverse vibration of bowed strings, and also investigated the propagation of sound in whispering galleries. Along with his student Nagendra Nath, C.V.Raman provided the explanation for accousto-optic effect,resulted in Raman-Nath theory.

Raman also continued his research work at the IACS laboratories, and he later became it’s Hon Secretary in 1919. However in 1933, he left for Bangalore to become the first Indian director of IISc, as well as the head of it’s Physics Department.

While Bangalore was where CV Raman would eventually settle down, Kolkata was where he did some of his best work. First at the IACS, where he did some excellent research, later the Science Department at University of Kolkata, which he built from ground up.

It also helped that in Kolkata, Raman had some great people to work with, Ashutosh Mukherjee, VC of Kolkata University, Amritlal Sarkar, Secretary of IACS and Ashutosh Dey aka Ashu Babu who worked with him personally on many projects.

Raman established a new physics department at IISc, a central workshop for fabricating precision instruments and he also set up beautiful flower gardens in the campus. One of his students would G.N.Ramachandran, who would later emerge as one of the most brilliant scientists.

Raman carried out studies on diffraction of light by ultrasonic waves and effects of X-Rays on infrared vibrations in crystals.Appointed as India’s first national professor, he did indepth studies on the structure and properties of diamonds,

However accusations against Raman of favoring the Physics Department at IISc over others, made him step down from the Director’s post, though he continued as Head of Physics department till 1948 when he retired. A rather unfortunate episode in his life and career.

After retirement he worked on establishing the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, investing all his life’s savings including the Nobel Prize winning amount. The land was gifted by the Mysore Maharaja. It would become one of the leading institutions in India.

You know, I was to retire at 60. So two years before my retirement I started building this institute so that on the day I retired I took my bag and walked right into this institute. I can not remain idle for a single day- C.V.Raman

Short of funds, CV Raman started a company called Travancore Chemicals and Manufacturing that manufactured Potassium Chlorate for the matchstick industry. With 4 factories and a good dividend, he managed to earn enough to support his Institute financially.

Raman also founded the Indian Academy of Sciences Bangalore, in 1934, to discuss on scientific research and symposia on subjects. While he believed that Science was the solution to most of India’s problems, he felt that India should not be dependent on others for ideas.

In the past, India had shown her greatness in the fields of scholarship, philosophy and science but today, we are helplessly dependent on Western countries for knowledge of science.- C V Raman

India should not be a camp-follower but a leader in science. It is no use getting our ideas from the west. We have to think out our problems and find the solutions to them.- C V Raman

I can assert without fear of contradiction that the quality of the Indian mind is equal to the quality of any Teutonic, Nordic or Anglo-saxon mind. What we lack is perhaps courage, what we lack is perhaps driving force which takes one anywhere. - CV Raman

We have, I think, developed an inferiority complex. I think what is needed in India today is the destruction of that defeatist spirit. We need a spirit of victory, a spirit that would carry us to our rightful place under the sun- C.V.Raman

A spirit which will recognize that we, as inheritors of a proud civilization, are entitled to a rightful place on this planet. If that indomitable spirit were to arise, nothing can hold us from achieving our rightful destiny.- C.V.Raman

Raman had a very holistic view of science, and felt nature had the best answers for it. He was also an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi, instituted the Gandhi Memorial Lecture in the Raman Research Institute.

"If you ask me what is the greatest industry of a Nation--the key industry--I have no hesitation in saying that it is the production and diffusion of knowledge.- CV Raman.

One aspect of Indian culture was its profound understanding of Nature. Much of India's philosophy related itself to the understanding of the rationale and the meaning of the phenomena of Nature.- CV Raman

CV Raman believed that "The true wealth of a Nation consists not in the stored-up gold in its coffers and banks, not in the factories, but in the intellectual and physical strength of its men, women and children." And he worked towards that goal always.

On November 7, 1970 he passed away at the age of 82. But not before leaving a rich legacy. The Physics Department at University of Kolkata and IISC were both the products of his hard work and dedication. #Naman to a great soul on his Punya Thithi.

C. V. Raman with his spectroscope on which he did most of his research work. Taking up a class. His residence in Malleswaram, Bangalore, called as Panchavati.

Panchavati, C.V. Raman's residence at Malleswaram, where he spent his last days. A must visit, if you are in Bangalore. Also the Raman Research Institute has a small museum containing a collection of precious stones, he gathered over the years.

On November 21, 1970 he passed away at the age of 82. But not before leaving a rich legacy. The Physics Department at University of Kolkata and IISC were both the products of his hard work and dedication. #Naman to a great soul on his Punya Thithi.

Apart from the Raman Research Institute, you also have CV Raman Nagar in Bangalore and Trichy. One of the Star Fleets Ship in Star Trek Series is named after him. Science Center in Nagpur named after him.

CV Raman's Legacy

- One of the craters on Moon named after him.
- Raman Laser
- Inverse Raman effect in Spectroscopy.
- UV spectrometer designed for the Mars 2020 rover mission named after him.

Guy was a veritable institution by himself @kkmohan73 FYI
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