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Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman[2] (7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970), an Indian physicist born in the former Madras Province in India, carried out ground-breaking work in the field of light scattering which earned him the 1930 Nobel Prize for Physics. He discovered that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes in wavelength. This phenomenon, subsequently known as Raman scattering, results from the Raman effect.[3] In 1954 India honoured him with its highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.[4][5]

Early years Edit

C.V.Raman was born to a Tamil Brahmin Iyer family in Thiruvanaikaval, Trichinopoly, (present-day Tiruchirapalli), Madras Presidency Tamil Nadu, in British India to Parvati Amma.

Family Edit
Raman's father initially taught in a school in Thiruvanaikaval, became a lecturer of mathematics and physics in Mrs. A.V. Narasimha Rao College, Vishakapatnam (then Vishakapatnam) in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, and later joined Presidency College in Madras (now Chennai).[1][6]

Early education Edit
At an early age, Raman moved to the city of Visakhapatnam and studied at St. Aloysius Anglo-Indian High School. Raman passed his matriculation examination at the age of 11 and he passed his F.A. examination (equivalent to today's Intermediate exam, PUC/PDC and +2) with a scholarship at the age of 13.

In 1902, Raman joined Presidency College in Madras where his father was a lecturer in mathematics and physics.[7] In 1904 he passed his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) examination: He stood first and won the gold medal in physics. In 1907 he gained his Master of Arts (M.A.) degree with the highest distinctions.[1]

Career Edit

In 1917, Raman resigned from his government service after he was appointed the first Palit Professor of Physics at the University of Calcutta. At the same time, he continued doing research at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), 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 28 February 1928, Raman led experiments at the IACS with collaborators, including K. S. Krishnan, on the scattering of light, when he discovered what now is called the Raman effect.[8] A detailed account of this period is reported in the biography by G. Venkatraman.[9] It was instantly clear that this discovery was of huge value. It gave further proof of the quantum nature of light. Raman had a complicated professional relationship with K. S. Krishnan, who surprisingly did not share the award, but is mentioned prominently even in the Nobel lecture.[10]

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, but was disappointed when the Nobel Prize went to Owen Richardson in 1928 and to Louis 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.[11] He did eventually win the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the Raman effect".[12] 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.

Raman and Suri Bhagavantam discovered the quantum photon spin in 1932, which further confirmed the quantum nature of light.[13]

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.[17] He was also interested in the properties of other musical instruments based on forced vibrations such as the violin. He also investigated the propagation of sound in whispering galleries.[18] Raman's work on acoustics was an important prelude, both experimentally and conceptually, to his later work on optics and quantum mechanics.[19]
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In 1930, C. V. Raman was the first `non-white', Asian and Indian to receive the Nobel prize in physics for his work on scattering of light and discovery of the Raman effect. The documents were obtained from the Nobel Committee connected with the proposal and selection of C. V. Raman for the Nobel prize and the results of the studies are reported in this paper.

The Nobel prize is one of the prizes known to a great part of the non-scientific public and is considered as the highest honour to be awarded to scientists. A short life sketch of the founder and the foundation of the Nobel prize is included in this article. The Statutes of the Nobel Foundation (SNF) which were approved by the Crown on 29 June 1900 had been decreed by the Swedish Government on 27 April 1995. The rules and regulations quoted here are taken from these statutes.

Raman received the Nobel prize in a record time of two years after his prize- winning discovery. Several questions have been raised about not sharing of the prize by Raman either with his colleagues or the Russian scientists. It will be shown here that it was not in Raman's hand to take this decision. The reasons for these are elaborated in this paper.

Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1888-1970)

India's only Nobel Laureate and the first Asian to be awarded the Nobel prize for physics, C. V. Raman was born on 8 November 1888 in Madras. Later, the family moved to Visakhapatnam, where his father was appointed a lecturer. Raman was a brilliant student. In 1907, he joined the Financial Civil Services, as an Assistant Accountant-General in Calcutta.

In his spare time, Raman started working on some problems in the field of acoustics at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, founded by Maherdra Lal Sarcar (1833-1904) based on the model of the Royal Institution in London. For nearly ten years, he worked independently and established his reputation as a scientist in India as well as in Europe. In 1917, he was appointed professor at the University of Calcutta. His first trip outside India was to Oxford in 1921 to represent the University of Calcutta.

During his voyage, he conducted some experiments and published a note in Nature entitled `The Colour of the Sea'1. It was a generally held belief that the blue colour of the sea is due to the reflected sky-light as well as due to absorption of the light by the suspended matter in the water. Raman showed that the blue colour of sea is independent of sky reflection as well as absorption, but rathter it is due to the molecular diffraction. These initial experiments opened up a new field of research in Calcutta. Further work on the scattering of light led to the discovery of the Raman effect in 1928. The effect deals with the change in the frequency of the monochromatic light after scattering. The spectrum of the scattered light gives clues about the molecular structure of the material under study, thereby helping to understand its properties.

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