One of the greatest Physicists of India and the world, Sir. C.V. Raman left a massive impression in the world of Physics by discovering what is known as the Raman Effect.

In this article on Sir C.V. Raman facts, we will focus primarily on his early life, his education and his career.

NameChandrasekhara Venkata Raman
Born7 November, 1888
Birth PlaceMadras Presidency, British India
Death21 November, 1970
Death PlaceBangalore, Karnataka
Known ForRaman Effect
Award Won1924: Fellow of the Royal Society1929: Knight Bachelor1930: Hughes Medal1930: Nobel Prize in Physics for Raman Effect1941: Franklin Medal1954: Bharat Ranta1957: Lenin Peace Prize1998: Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science and American Chemical Society recognized discovery of Raman as International Historic Chemical Landmark
InstitutionsIndian Finance DepartmentUniversity of CalcuttaIndian Association for the Cultivation of Science, CalcuttaBanaras Hindu UniversityIndian Institute of ScienceRaman Research Institute
WifeLokasundari Ammal (1907 – 1970)
ChildrenSons: Venkatraman Radhakrishnan and Chandrasekhar
Commemoration28 February is National Science Day in India to remember the discovery of Raman Effect

C.V. Raman Facts: 1-5

1. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born on November 7th, 1888 in India’s Madras Province. Presently it is known as Tamil Nadu.

2. Raman’s father was a school teacher initially. He used to teach in Thiruvanaikovil. Later, he became a Physics and Mathematics lecturer in Visakhapatnam’s Mrs. A.V. Narasimha Rao College and eventually joined Madras’ Presidency College.

3. Because Raman’s father had to move to Visakhapatnam, Raman also moved there and was admitted to St. Aloysius Anglo-Indian High School.

4. C.V. Raman passed the matriculation from that school when he was just 11 years old. Two years later, he passed the F.A. examination with a scholarship. F.A. in those days was equivalent to today’s Intermediate exams.

5. In 1902, C.V. Raman joined the Presidency College where his father worked as Physics and Mathematics lecturer.

C.V. Raman Facts: 6-10

6. Two years later in 1904, Raman earned his B.A. examination from University of Madras. He was exceptional and earned the first rank in Physics, and even earned the gold medal.

7. Three years later in 1907, he earned the Masters Degree in Science from University of Madras and again earned the highest distinctions. After that, he took a competitive exam for the Finance Department of the colonial government of India.

8. He earned himself a government service in the post of Accountant General in Calcutta and continued for some time, only to resign in 1917 when University of Calcutta appointed him as the university’s first Palit Professor of Physics.

9. While teaching in University of Calcutta, Raman continued with his research in Calcutta’s famous IACS or Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science. Later on, he became IACS’ Honorary Secretary.

10. In 1928, while working in IACS, C.V. Raman ran several experiments on February 28 on scattering of light. One of the collaborators in his works was K.S. Krishnan. The experiments they conducted together led to the discovery of what we today know as Raman Effect.

C.V. Raman Facts: 11-15

11. The relationship that Raman had with Krishnan is often considered very complicated. Of course, Krishnan worked in the discovery of Raman Effect, but Krishnan did not share the Nobel Prize with Raman. However, C.V. Raman did clearly mention Krishnan’s name in Nobel Lecture.

12. The work he did with the scattering of light eventually led to the development of Raman Spectroscopy.

13. Ernest Rutherford referred to Raman Effect in 1929’s Royal Society’s Presidential address. Raman won the Knight Bachelor award in 1929. Later on, he was awarded the Fellow of the Royal Society.

14. In 1932, Suri Bhagavantam and Raman together discovered quantum photon spin, further confirming light’s quantum nature.

15. Raman did some significant work with musical instruments’ acoustics. He is the person who gave the theory of transverse vibration of bowed strings. The theory was based on superposition velocities.

C.V. Raman Facts: 16-20

16. Raman also became the first person to investigate the harmonic nature of mridangam and tabla – two Indian drums.

17. C.V. Raman also had keen interest in musical instruments that used forced vibrations, for instance, violin. He also did some interesting work in sound propagation in whispering galleries.

18. Actually, his work with sound was a conceptual and experimental prelude to all the work he did in quantum mechanics and optics.

19. Nagendra Nath – one of the famous students of Raman – along with Raman came up with the accurate theoretical explanation of light scattering by sound waves. Technically it is known as an acousto-optic effect.

20. C.V. Raman became the first Indian director of Indian Institute of Science (IIS) in 1933. It was really ironic because IIS never had an Indian director as all previous directors were British during the colonial era.

C.V. Raman Facts: 21-25

21. Raman also carried out several other theoretical and experimental studies on light diffraction caused by ultrasonic frequency and hypersonic frequency acoustic waves.

22. He also worked on what effects X-Rays have on ordinary light exposed crystals’ infrared vibrations.

23. In 1948, Raman studied the spectroscopic behavior of crystals and took a new approach towards crystal dynamics’ fundamental problems. He deeply studied properties and structures of diamond and also studied various iridescent substances’ optical behaviors.

24. From IIS, Raman retired in 1948 and in 1949, he started Raman Research Institute (RRI) in Bangalore. He remained as the director of RRI until his death in 1970. At the time of death, he was 82 years old.

25. In 1947, Independent India’s new government appointed C.V. Raman was the first National Professor of India.

C.V. Raman Facts: 26-30

26. Sir Raman was on a voyage to Europe in 1921. It was during that voyage that he keenly noticed glaciers’ blue color and also the Mediterranean Sea.

27. The striking blue color caught his attention, and suddenly he felt the urge to find out the cause of the blue color.

28. He returned back to India and started experimenting. In 1928, when he was in Calcutta and worked with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, he carried out several experiments along with K. S. Krishnan.

29. He started observing the light scattering by ice blocks (transparent) and water. He made use of a mercury arc lamp for the experiments.

30. The mercury arc lamp that emitted monochromatic was made to pass through water and even transparent ice.

C.V. Raman Facts: 31-35

31. The light that came out from the other side of the transparent materials he used was allowed to fall straight on a spectrograph.

32. The purpose of using a spectrograph was to measure the spectrum of the light. In the process, Raman found some lines created in the spectrum.

33. Sir Raman had discovered the Raman Effect and the Raman Lines. In 1928, the findings were presented by Raman in a scientists’ meet that was organized in Bangalore on 16th March.

34. Because of his findings, Raman expected that he would win the Nobel Prize in 1928. Unfortunately, that did not happen. That year, the Nobel Prize went to Owen Richardson.

35. In 1929, Raman again expected that he would win the Nobel, but by a stroke of bad luck, the prize went to Louis de Broglie.

C.V. Raman Facts: 36-40

36. In 1930, Sir Raman was extremely confident about winning the Nobel Prize. Such was his excitement that he actually booked his tickets to reach Stockholm, Sweden in July while the award ceremony was in November.

37. He was so confident and excited that he used to read every day’s newspaper to find news on the Nobel Prize. He used to toss away the paper when he did not find any news.

38. Eventually in 1930, Raman was awarded with Nobel Prize in Physics, making him the first non-white and first Asian person to win Nobel Prize in science category.

39. Raman’s discovery, however, met with some skepticism in Munich. A group of German scientists tried to replicate Raman’s work, but they met with failure initially, which led to some skepticism.

40. Eventually, a German scientist by the name Peter Pringsheim managed to successfully replicate Raman’s experiments. It was Pringsheim who coined the terms ‘Raman Lines’ and ‘Raman Effect’.

C.V. Raman Facts: 41-45

41. Russian scientists L.I. Mandelstam and G.S. Landsberg also observed the same effects as Raman did. This led to a controversy about Raman not sharing the award with them.

42. However, the Nobel Committee on Physics argued that Mandelstam and Landsberg failed to provide independent interpretation of the effect they discovered. They instead decided to cite the article by C.V. Raman.

43. The Committee also said that the Russians discovered it only using crystals. Raman on the other hand (of course with help of Krishnan) observed the effect on gases, liquids and solids. This means, Raman proved the universal nature.

44. The Committee also argued that uncertainties regarding infrared lines and Raman lines observed in the spectrum was explained later and also, the method of Raman was applicable in molecular physics fields with great precision and success.

45. Finally, the Committee also said Raman Effect helped to check actual symmetry problems in molecules, and hence, helped in dealing with problems related to nuclear-spin that was prevalent in nuclear physics. Because of these reasons, Raman’s name was proposed by the Committee to Swedish National Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.

C.V. Raman Facts: 46-49

46. C.V. Raman opened a company with Dr. Krishnamurthy. The company was known as Travancore Chemical and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. and it manufactured potassium chlorate for the match industry. The company was opened in 1943 and it exists even today by the name TMC Limited.

47. C.V. Raman had deep interest and worked in magnetic and electrical anisotropy, human vision physiology and optics of colloids.

48. C.V. Raman’s son Venkatraman Radhakrishnan was a space scientist and was a member of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

49. C.V. Raman was the parental uncle of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar – another Nobel Laureate.


Categorized in: