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Happy Birthday CV Raman: The Man Who Explained Why The Sea Is Blue

Professor CV Raman received the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics for the Raman Effect and was the first person of Asian descent to win the prestigious medal.

CV Raman excelled in studies from the start and graduated at the age of 16 with a BA from Presidency College. (File photo)

By India Today Web Desk: Born in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu on November 7, 1888, Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman was one of the greatest physicists India has ever produced. His groundbreaking studies led to a revolution in the world of physics and none are as intriguing as the one that explained why the sea appears blue.

Professor CV Raman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for his discovery and was the first person of Asian descent to win the prestigious medal. The Nobel Prize was awarded for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect that bears his name – the Raman effect.

WHO WAS SIR CV RAMAN?

The son of a teacher, Raman excelled in studies early on and at the age of 16 graduated with a BA from the Presidential College of Madras University in 1904, where he won gold medals in English. and physics as main subjects. At the age of 18, he published his first scientific article in the British journal Philosophical Magazine under the theme “Asymmetrical diffraction bands due to a rectangular aperture”.

The Raman effect is one of the hardest things to observe. (Photo: RRI)

In 1917, Raman received a full professorship at the University of Calcutta. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1924 and knighted by the British in 1930. He was the first director of the Indian Institute of Science in 1933 and later founded the Raman Research Institute in 1948 on land in Bengaluru offered by the Government of Mysore. The institute was funded personally by him and with donations from private sources.

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“Sir Raman was convinced that science should be free and unfettered,” Tarun Souradeep, director of the Raman Research Institute told indiatoday.in.

WHEN HE EXPLAINED WHY THE SEA APPEARS BLUE AND WON THE NOBEL

The Physics Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics to Professor CV Raman on December 10, 1930. The prize was awarded for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the Raman effect.

While he won the Nobel Prize for his work around light, he was originally an expert in the study of sound and vibration and it was his trip to London that fascinated him with light. . He was curious to understand the reason for the deep blue color of the Mediterranean Sea during his 15-day round trip aboard SS Narkunda.

While the reason why the sky appears blue has already been explained by Lord Rayleigh, who said that the blue colors of the sky and the reddish coloration seen at sunrise and sunset are caused by the scattering of the light due to fine dust or water particles in the atmosphere, Professor Raman was not impressed.

He was the first director of the Indian Institute of Science in 1933. (Photo: RRI)

Raman began his work to explain the phenomenon at sea and when he reached India he proved conclusively that the color of the sea was due to the scattering of light by water molecules. “Raman studied the universality of the phenomenon using a large number of substances as the scattering medium and found the same effect everywhere,” the Nobel committee said.

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When light encounters particles smaller than the wavelength of light, the light travels in different directions. Professor Raman discovered that a small part of the scattered light acquires other wavelengths than that of the original light. This is because some of the energy from the incoming photons can be transferred to a molecule, giving it a higher energy level.

The Raman effect is one of the hardest things to observe because only one in a million scattered particles of light actually exhibit the change in wavelength. Depending on the effect, light can only be emitted or absorbed by matter in the form of defined amounts of energy or so-called “light quanta”. Thus, the energy of light would possess a kind of atomic character.

The effect is used to study materials by chemists and physicists and is also used in telecommunications where low frequency photons are pumped to a high frequency. It also finds application in the field of nanotechnology, in the study of low-frequency DNA, remote sensing and mineral analysis.

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