Indian Academy of Sciences

 
   
 

RAMAN, Chandrasekhara Venkata*
Founding Fellow, President: 1934-70
b. 7 November 1888, Trichinopoly, Tamil Nadu
d. 21 November 1970
s. R Chandrasekara Iyer and Parvati Ammal
m. Lokasundari, two sRAMAN, Chandrasekhara Venkata

Edn.: Univ. of Madras: BA 04, MA 07; Hon. doctorates from 17 Univs. in India and abroad. Career: Indian Finance Dept., Calcutta and Rangoon: Gazetted Offr. 07-17; Univ. of Calcutta: Palit Professor-ship 17-33; IACS, Calcutta: Research 07-33 and Hon. Secy. 19--32; IISC, Bangalore: Director 33-38, Prof. of Phys. 33-48, RRI, Bangalore: Founder-Director 48-70. Fellow, Royal Soc. of London, INSA; Hon. Fellow, Optical Soc. of America, Mineralogical Soc. of America; Foreign Associate, Paris Acad. of Sc.; Foreign Member, USSR Acad. of Sc.; Hon. Member Acad. of the Republic of Romania and Catgut Acoustical Soc. (a renowned group of violinists); General President, Indian Science Congress 29. Curzon Res. Prize 12; Woodburn Res. Medal 13; Matteucci Medal 28; Knighted by the British Govt. 29; Hughes Medal of the Royal Soc. of London 30; Nobel Prize for Physics 30; Rajasabhabhushana by the Mysore Maharaja 35; Franklin Medal of Franklin Institute 41; National Professor 48; Bharat Ratna 54; Lenin Prize, USSR 57. Sc. Work in Vibrations and Musical Instruments, Geometrical and Wave Optics, Light and X-ray Scattering, Physics of Crystals, Colour. Best known for the Phenomenon of inelastic light scattering named the 'Raman effect' after him. Large body of experimental work was concerned with waves - wave motions of vibrating strings, sound waves, notes of musical instruments, wave optics: diffraction and interference effects. For this and other work simple but cleverly devised apparatus was designed and fabricated jointly with co-workers. Early examples are the arrangement to obtain photographs of the movement of nodes in a vibrating string and the mechanical violin player used to study. the mechanics of bowing of violin strings. Made detailed studies of the Dynamics of sound production of Indian stringed and percussion musical instruments. His concern with scattering of light by molecules of substances began in 1919 at IACS, and culminated in the paper published with K. S. Krishnan, in Nature in 1928. It announced the discovery of 'a new type of secondary radiation' later identified to be the result of a particular kind of light scattering that received the name 'Raman effect'. Honored with the Nobel prize in physics in 1930 for this discovery. Early work in optics at IACS included studies on diffraction fringes, caustics, halos, interference rings, and optical anisotropy and birefringence. While steeped in classical physics, was apparently conscious of other emerging trends, thus, with K. R. Ramanathan he proposed one of the first theories of X-ray diffraction in liquids and deduced that the theory of light scattering due to density fluctuations in gases. This theory could be applied to X-ray scattering also at small angles of scattering. It spurred some early, if rudimentary, work by the IACS group on X-ray diffraction by many substances, including some of biological interest. Later work in optics at IISC and RRI dealt with iridescence in stratified media, including natural materials such as bird plumage and marine shells, and ancient glass; coronae and halos; more interference rings; optics of heterogeneous media; colour; and studies on minerals and gems, including diamond. Three pieces of work in this period, considered important landmarks or forerunners of later, more precise work by others, are the investigations with N. S. Nagendra Nath, of the diffraction of light by density, fluctuations in a liquid produced by an ultrasonic wave. The discovery with T. M. K. Nedungadi, of a soft mode in quartz, with G. N. Ramachandran, a quantitative description in terms of interference effects of the diffusion corona due to randomly distributed particles (later called the speckle phenomenon) and over thirty years with a series of collaborators, S. K. Mitra, S. K. Banerji, K. S. Krishnan, Y. V. Kathavate and others, developed a versatile geometric theory of Fresnel dif-fraction. In a series of investigations on diamond attempted to formulate new rules of crystal symmetry for diamond but was later proven wrong. Was involved at this time in a deep controversy with Max Born concerning the Dynamics of crystal lattices. While Raman's theory was later shown to be wrong, it nevertheless predicted significant vibrational frequencies of crystal lattices observed in experiments because it gave an important subset of the modes in Born's theory. Published about 450 research papers and guided a large number of research students, many of whom went into scientific eminence and achievement in their own right.

Last Address: Raman Research Institute, Bangalore 560 080.