C V Raman Biography

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Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, was an Indian physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for his work on light scattering and the discovery of a new form of scattering called Raman scattering or the Raman effect. The compositions of solids, liquids, and gases can all benefit from this effect. It can also be used to diagnose diseases and track manufacturing processes.

Information About C V Raman

Sir C V Raman birthday- November 7, 1888

Sir C V Raman death day- November 21, 1970

Alma mater- the University of Madras (M.A.)

Known for- Raman effect

Spouse- Lokasundari Ammal (1908–1970)

Children- Chandrasekhar Raman and Venkatraman Radhakrishnan

About C V Raman and his Inventions

About C V Raman Family and Background

Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born to a Tamil Brahmin family in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, on November 7, 1888. Raman's forefathers were agriculturists who settled in the Tanjore district near Porasakudi Village and Mangudi. Chandrasekhara Iyer, his father, attended a school in Kumbakonam and graduated with honours in 1881. He eventually earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in physics from Tiruchirapalli's Society of the Promotion of the Gospel College in 1891. In the same college, Chandrasekara became a lecturer. He married Parvathi Ammal after passing the Matriculation Exam, and they had eight children: five sons and three daughters.

Chandrasekaran, Raman's father, moved to Visakhapatnam when he was four years old to work as a lecturer at Mrs A.V. Narasimha Rao College. He taught physics, arithmetic, and physical geography at the university. Chandrasekaran was regarded as physically and mentally powerful due to his involvement in athletics, physical culture, and Indian Carnatic music, among other things.

Raman, unlike his father, was not physically powerful, but he was a brilliant thinker. He excelled in school and displayed early signs of exceptional ability, receiving praise from his teachers as well as numerous prizes and scholarships.

While still in school, Raman developed an interest in physics. He once designed a dynamo on his own and was fascinated with how physical principles and machines worked.

C. V. Raman graduated from high school at the age of eleven, receiving first place in the Matriculation Examination (top marks). He then enrolled in the AVN College to prepare for the Intermediate Exam. He received more accolades this time, and he received top scores on the university test. 

In 1903, he received a scholarship to study for a BA degree at the Presidency College in Chennai (then Madras), where he was the youngest student. At the time, the Presidency College was the best in Southern India. When Raman was in college, the majority of his professors were Europeans. Raman's interest in physics grew even stronger during this period, and he also developed a strong liking for English.

Raman earned first place in the university's BA exams in 1904, and gold medals in English and Physics. Raman's teachers encouraged him to continue his education in England, but the Madras Civil Surgeon refused, arguing that the young Raman was too weak to endure the English climate. Raman, on the other hand, completed his MA in physics at Presidency College and did not travel abroad until he was thirty-three years old.

About C V Raman Early Career and Marriage

In January 1907, Raman sat for and passed his Masters examination, earning top marks and a slew of awards and prizes. While he desired to focus on science (particularly research), there were no research opportunities in India (specifically for Indians). Owing to his deteriorating health at the time, he was unable to travel to England. As a result, Raman's thoughts turned to work for the government, which is known to be clean, stable, and even prestigious.

Even in this situation, he desired to enter the prestigious Indian Civil Service (ICS), the highest level of government service, but this meant training in England and taking the exam there—an option that was also ruled out due to medical reasons. The Financial Civil Service (FCS), where Raman's brother C.S. Iyer was already a member, was his next preference. The FCS served as a forerunner to today's Indian Audit and Accounts Service.

Raman passed the FCS examination in 1907 and married Lokasundari before taking up an official job. This period of his life unfolded unusually. Typically, parents arranged Indian marriages, which includes finding a suitable horoscope match for their infant. This included looking at the positions of the stars on their birth date, as well as other horoscopic statistics. 

The boy and his parents then pay a visit to the girl's house to see if she likes them; during this period, the girl is normally asked to give a musical performance. The date for their marriage is fixed if all arrangements are in agreement and the girl's family provides adequate dowry.

Raman's marriage went in a different direction. Mr Ramaswamy Sivan, a freemason, theosophist, and radical thinker, was a friend of Raman's as a college student. Mr Sivan's house was a frequent stop for Raman, and one day he heard music from an Indian classical instrument, the veenai, played by Lokasundari, Sivan's sister-in-law, who was visiting from Madurai.

Lokasundari was a natural at playing the veena, and Raman was instantly drawn to her. Sivan discussed this idea with Raman, who immediately accepted it since Lokasundari was of marriageable age at the time and her family was looking for a suitable groom. 

Raman then continued to seek permission from his parents. However, it was later discovered that Lokasundari, thought of the same cast as Raman (Brahmin), belonged to a separate subset—a match that was strictly forbidden at the time. Raman's father, who is a rather liberal man, agreed that Raman could choose his bride, even if she came from a different subset. The rest of the family, including Raman's mother, was unhappy, however. Despite these challenges, Raman followed his heart and kept on doing things his way.

In mid-1907, Raman was appointed Assistant Accountant-General in Calcutta, even though he was still a teenager. His pay, including the marriage allowance, was Rs. 400 at the time. Raman and Lokasundari set out for Calcutta, the capital of British India at the time.

Raman took advantage of Calcutta's vibrant and scientific environment, allowing him to fully articulate his scientific creativity—Calcutta was then regarded as the East's premier science city. Raman was sent to Nagpur and Rangoon in addition to Calcutta; no matter where he was posted, Raman still found a way to perform experiments at home.

C V Raman Contribution to Science

C V Raman Contribution: Raman productively used the time he had with Professor Jones while studying physics at Presidency College, designing and creating experiments to address the boundless questions he had. Only the most basic laboratory instruments (enough for classwork) were available in the physics lab at the time, but Raman made use of them all. Raman's questions were frequently those for which there were no answers in the literature. As a result, the nature of science came naturally to him, prompting him to perform experiments throughout his life.

Raman experimented with asymmetric diffraction of light though he was well aware of light in a wave shape and the principle of diffraction. Professor Jones was given his observations on this experiment, which he collected and gave to him for feedback. Professor Jones, on the other hand, remained silent for many months. Raman was aware of the Philosophical Magazine at the time, possibly those subscribed to by the Connemara Public Library, which was about five kilometres from Presidency College (it is not certain how Raman came to know of this magazine).

This paper was written in 1906, and Raman, who was only 18 at the time and had not yet graduated from high school, was the sole author with no acknowledgements. Raman's achievement was all the more remarkable because Presidency College was not a research institution, and Raman's paper was the first to emerge from there.

Almost immediately after Raman's first publication, Johns Hopkins University's R.W. Wood published another. Wood later sent a cable to Nature announcing the Raman Effect's discovery.

Raman left the government in 1917 to take up the newly established Palit Professorship in Physics at the University of Calcutta. Simultaneously, he continued his study at the IACS, where he eventually rose to the position of Honorary Secretary. Raman referred to this period in his career as his "golden age." At the IACS and the University of Calcutta, he was surrounded by a group of gifted students. In 1929, he presided over the 16th session of the Indian Science Congress.

Raman worked on the acoustics of musical instruments in addition to his Nobel Prize-winning work on light scattering. Based on superposition velocities, he developed a theory of transverse vibration of bowed strings. In comparison to Helmholtz's method, this does a great job of describing bowed string vibration. He was also the first to explore the harmonic essence of Indian drum sounds like the tabla and mridangam.

Raman was appointed director of the newly established Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore in 1933. The IISc was established in 1909 with the aim of conducting original research and providing science and engineering education. Before Raman's appointment, all of IISc's directors, as well as the majority of its faculty, were British. He remained a Professor of Physics for another two years. The new government of Independent India named him the country's first National Professor in 1947.

In 1948, he retired from the Indian Institute of Science and a year later founded the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, Karnataka, where he served as director until he died in 1970.

C V Raman Discovery

Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for his research on light scattering and the discovery of the Raman effect. The inelastic scattering of a photon is known as "Raman scattering" or "Raman effect." This phenomenon is the basis for Raman spectroscopy.

What Led to the C V Raman Inventions of Raman Effect?

C V Raman Discovery of the physics of Musical sound- Understanding the physics of musical sounds was one of Raman's passions. The Sensations of Tone by Hermann von Helmholtz, which he came across when he entered IACS, inspired him. Between 1916 and 1921, he researched and published a lot of his observations. Based on the superposition of velocities, he developed the principle of transverse vibration of bowed string instruments. The wolf tone in violins and cellos was one of his earliest experiments. He investigated the acoustics of various violins and related instruments, as well as water splashes and Indian stringed instruments. "Experiments with mechanically-played violins" was one of his works.

C V Raman Discovery behind the Blue colour of the sea- In 1919, Raman began investigating light scattering as part of his broadening foray into optics. His first amazing discovery was the mechanics of seawater's blue colour. In September 1921, he reflected on the Mediterranean Sea's blue colour while sailing home from England on the S.S. Narkunda. He tested the seawater with basic optical instruments, including a pocket-sized spectroscope and a Nicol prism. [No. 56] Lord Rayleigh's explanation in 1910, "The much-revered dark blue of the deep sea has little to do with the colour of water, but is the blue of the sky seen by refraction," was the strongest of many theories on the colour of the sea.

C V Raman Inventions: Most photons are elastically dispersed as light is scattered from an atom or molecule. The incident photons have the same energy (frequency) as the scattered photons, and therefore the same wavelength. Excitations of optical frequencies distinct from, and normally lower than, the frequency of the incident photons scatter a small fraction of scattered light (roughly one in ten million photons).

Raman scattering may occur in a gas when a molecule's vibrational, rotational, or electronic energy changes. "The character of scattered radiations allow us to obtain an insight into the ultimate structure of the scattering material," Raman explained.

Raman published his thesis on "Molecular Diffraction of Light" in 1922, the first of a series of investigations with his collaborators that eventually led to his discovery of the radiation effect that bears his name (on February 28, 1928). In 1928, C. V. Raman and K. S. Krishnan, as well as Grigory Landsberg and Leonid Mandelstam, independently identified the Raman effect.

Raman's discovery was hailed by physicists as evidence of quantum theory. The vibrational Raman effect is of primary interest to chemists. The Raman Effect was named a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society in 1998, in recognition of its importance as a method for studying the structure of liquids, gases, and solids.

The Raman Effect is distinct from the fluorescence mechanism. The incident light is completely absorbed in the latter case, and the system is transferred to an energetically excited state from which it can only transition to various lower states after a certain period (resonance lifetime). Both processes emit a photon with a different frequency than the incident photon, and the molecule is brought to a higher or lower energy level. However, the Raman Effect can occur for any frequency of incident light, which is a significant difference. The Raman Effect, in contrast to the fluorescence effect, is not a resonant effect.

C V Raman Contribution as an Author

C V Raman Discovery led him to write a set of books which are listed below-

Vol. 1 - Scattering of Light (Ed. S Ramaseshan)

Vol. 2 - Acoustic

Vol. 3 - Optica

Vol. 4 - Optics of Minerals and Diamond

Vol. 5 - Physics of Crystals

Vol. 6 - Floral Colours and Visual Perception

C V Raman Achievements and Awards

Many honorary doctorates and memberships in scientific societies were bestowed upon Raman. He was a member of the Deutsche Akademie in Munich, the Swiss Physical Society in Zürich, the Royal Philosophical Society in Glasgow, the Royal Irish Academy, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union, the Optical Society of America and the Mineralogical Society of America, the Romanian Academy of Sciences, the Catgut Acoustical Society of America, and the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1924. He did, however, resign from the fellowship in 1968 for unknown reasons, making him the only Indian FRS to do so.

In 1929, he was the President of the Indian Science Congress's 16th session. From 1933 until his death, he was the first President of the Indian Academy of Sciences. In 1961, he was elected to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.


  • Though still employed by the Indian Finance Service, Raman won the Curzon Research Award in 1912.

  • While still working for the Indian Finance Service, he received the Woodburn Research Medal in 1913.

  • The Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze in Rome awarded him the Matteucci Medal in 1928.

  • He was knighted in 1930. The Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin, conferred him a Knight Bachelor in a special ceremony at the Viceroy's House (now Rashtrapati Bhavan) in New Delhi after his inclusion in the 1929 Birthday Honours was postponed.

  • He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for "research on light scattering and the discovery of the phenomenon named after him."He was the first Asian and non-white person to win a Nobel Prize for Science. Rabindranath Tagore (another Indian) had previously won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

  • He was awarded the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society in 1930.

  • The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia awarded him the Franklin Medal in 1941.

  • He received the Bharat Ratna award in 1954. (along with politician and former Governor-General of India C. Rajagopalachari and philosopher Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan).

  • He received the Lenin Peace Prize in 1957.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Discovery of C V Raman About?

Ans. On a boat trip back from England in 1921, Indian physicist C.V. Raman began work on a line of research that would lead to the discovery of a new scattering effect, now known as the Raman effect, in February 1928. The Raman effect is significant in physics and chemistry.

2. C V Raman is Famous For?

Ans. The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to C.V. Raman in 1930 for his discovery of the Raman effect, in which light passing through a substance is dispersed and the wavelength of the scattered light is altered due to an energy state transfer in the material's molecules.