Dr. CV Raman: Contributions in the field of physics

Dr. CV Raman, an internationally acclaimed Indian scientist whose researches brought a great revolution in the field of physics.

Dr. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, best known as Dr. CV Raman, is regarded as one of the greatest scientists ever born in India. After receiving his master's degree in Physics from Presidency College, Kolkata, he topped the FCS (Financial Civil Services) examination and started working as an Assistant Accountant General in Kolkata (then Calcutta). After some time, he started doing his research works on physics and became a professor at the University of Calcutta. Throughout his whole life, he devoted himself to physics and his scientific contributions are still worth mentioning in today's world.

  1. The physics of musical Sound: Raman researched on different kinds of musical instruments to understand the physics of musical sound. With the application of superposition of velocities, he worked out the theory of transverse vibration of bowed string instruments. He investigated the harmonic nature of the sound of Indian drums and the propagation of sound in whispering galleries.
  2. Raman Spectroscopy: Raman researched on photons and showed, "The energy of photons scattered inelastically serves as a 'fingerprint' for the substance the light is scattered from." To identify substances in chemical laboratories or to investigate living cells and tissues in medicines, 'Raman Spectroscopy' is now used in all over the world. It also helps to detect cancer without causing any harmful effects.
  3. The sea scatters light: Raman had an interest to understand the physics behind the blue colour of the seawater and in 1921, when he was sailing back to India from England, he used a Nicol prism, a diffraction grading and a miniature spectroscope to study the seawater and the sky. He found that the sea was scattering light and then reported this discovery to the journal 'Nature'.
  4. Raman Effect: The most significant scientific contribution by Dr. CV Raman is definitely his observation on the effect when light scatters in gases, liquids and solids. This observation, known as 'Raman Effect' is defined as, "The change in wavelength of light scattered while passing through a transparent medium, the collection of new wavelengths (Raman spectrum ) being characteristic of the scattering medium and differing from the fluorescent spectrum in being much less intense and in being unrelated to an absorption band of the medium."
For this discovery, he won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930.
  1. Others: Raman worked on the theory of Crystal Dynamics which later helped to solve the fundamental problems of crystals. He also discovered that photons process a property called spin. He researched on several other topics such as electric and magnetic anisotropy, structure of colloids, X-ray effects etc.
Dr. CV Raman was a genius scientist. In his honour, 28th February each year is celebrated as National Science Day in India.