Death of Eminent Scientist Sir C V Raman - [November 21, 1970] This Day in History

21 November 1970

Eminent scientist Sir C V Raman passed away.


What happened?

On 21 November 1970, eminent Indian physicist and Nobel laureate Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman passed away in Bangalore.

Biography

  • C V Raman was born on 7 November 1888 in Tiruchirapalli in modern Tamil Nadu.
  • His parents were R Chandrasekhara Iyer and Parvati Amma. His father was a lecturer of Physics and Mathematics at a college in Visakhapatnam.
  • So, from an early age, he was exposed to science. He was a brilliant student and joined the Presidency College at Chennai in 1902 aged just 13 for his graduation. He passed out in 1904 with a Gold Medal in Physics. He completed his post-graduation from the University of Madras in 1907 with distinction.
  • At his father’s behest, Raman took the Financial Civil Service and aced the exam. He joined the Indian Finance Department as Assistance Accountant General in Calcutta.
  • Even though employed in the civil services, Raman’s heart was with science. He continued to do research at the Indian Association for Cultivation of Sciences in Calcutta (IACS) whenever he got time. He also published papers in leading international journals such as ‘Nature’ and ‘Physics Review’.
  • In 1917, he resigned from his government job and pursued his true calling when he was offered the Palit Chair of Physics at the Calcutta University.
  • He continued his research at the IACS at this time. His research was on acoustics and optics. It was at IACS that Raman along with his collaborators discovered what is now called the ‘Raman Effect’.
  • This discovery on the scattering of light was made on February 28, 1928. This effect proved the quantum nature of light and had huge value at that time. The Raman Spectroscopy was based on this phenomenon. Consequently, February 28 is celebrated as National Science Day in India since 1987 annually in honour of this discovery.
  • For this discovery, Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year 1930. The Nobel Committee stated that the award was given “for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him”.
  • He was the first Indian, Asian and non-white person to win a Nobel Prize for the sciences.
  • In 1933, he became the first Indian Director of the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) in Bangalore. He was the institute’s director till 1937 and the Head of the Physics Department till 1948.
  • In 1948, he founded the Raman Research Institute (RRI) in Bangalore for conducting experiments in Physics. He continued to do research in RRI till his death in 1970.
  • Raman died of natural causes on 21 November 1970 aged 82 in Bangalore.

Honours and awards

  • Fellow of the Royal Society – 1924
  • Knighthood – 1929
  • Nobel Prize (Physics) – 1930
  • Franklin Medal – 1941 (Franklin Institute, USA)
  • Bharat Ratna – 1954
  • Lenin Peace Prize – 1957
  • Several phenomena in science related to the Raman Effect are named after him.
  • There are many institutes and places, including a crater on the moon named after Sir CV Raman.
Also on This Day 

1899: Birth of freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of Odisha Harekrushna Mahatab. 1914: Birth of woman revolutionary Ujwala Mazumdar. 1962: China declared unilateral ceasefire in the Sino-Indian war.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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