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Remembering C.V. Raman: The Man Behind the Groundbreaking Discovery of the Raman Effect

Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, known as C.V. Raman, was an Indian physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for his discovery of the Raman effect. The Raman effect is the scattering of light by molecules, which causes a change in the wavelength of the light that is scattered. This discovery had a profound impact on the field of physics and paved the way for many scientific advances. In 1986, the Government of India designated February 28 as National Science Day, to commemorate the announcement of the discovery of the “Raman effect”.

Picture: Kumaon Jagran
C.V. Raman

Early Life and Education:

C.V. Raman was born on November 7, 1888, in Tiruchirapalli, a city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. His father was a high school teacher, and his mother was a homemaker. Raman was a gifted student and showed an early interest in science. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Physics from Presidency College, Chennai, and went on to earn a Master's degree from the University of Madras.


After completing his education, Raman joined the Indian Finance Department as an Assistant Accountant General. However, he was not interested in finance and left the job after a few years to pursue a career in science. In 1917, he joined the University of Calcutta as a Professor of Physics. Later, in 1928, he became the Director of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

Discovery of the Raman Effect:

In 1928, C.V. Raman and his research partner, K.S. Krishnan, were studying the scattering of light by liquids when they discovered a new type of scattering. They found that when light was passed through a liquid, some of it was scattered, but the scattered light had a different frequency from the original light. This phenomenon was not predicted by classical physics and was a groundbreaking discovery.

Raman and Krishnan realized that the frequency of the scattered light was related to the vibrational modes of the molecules in the liquid. This led to the development of a new field of study called Raman spectroscopy, which is used to study the vibrational modes of molecules in liquids, gases, and solids.

Impact of the Raman Effect:

The discovery of the Raman effect had a profound impact on the field of physics and chemistry. It opened up new avenues of research and paved the way for many scientific advances. Raman spectroscopy is now widely used in fields such as materials science, chemistry, and biology.

Honors and Awards:

C.V. Raman was awarded numerous honors and awards during his lifetime. In addition to the Nobel Prize in Physics, he received the Franklin Medal in 1941 and the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, in 1954. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the Indian National Science Academy, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


C.V. Raman was a pioneer in the field of physics and made significant contributions to our understanding of the behavior of light and matter. His discovery of the Raman effect had a profound impact on the scientific community and paved the way for many scientific advances. Today, his legacy lives on through the continued use of Raman spectroscopy and the many scientific discoveries it has enabled.

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