C.V. Raman

Chandrasekhar Venkata Raman was born at Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu on 7th November 1888.

 Raman’s father was Chandrasekaran Ramanathan Iyer,  a teacher of mathematics and physics. His mother was Parvathi Ammal, who was taught to read and write by her husband. Hailing from a family of modest means Raman was the second of eight children.They were Brahmins but  his father paid little attention to religious matters: There was an academic atmosphere at home.  .

When Raman was four years old his father got a job as a lecturer and the family moved to Waltair (now Visakhapatnam).Raman was greatly interested in science. On vacations he would demonstrate experiments to his younger brothers and sisters.

He was awarded a scholarship and  studied at Presidency College for his master’s degree.  In November 1906, aged 18, Raman had his first academic paper published in the Philosophical Magazine .  When his second paper  was published he received a letter from Lord Rayleigh, the eminent British physicist who was unaware that Raman was just a teenage student .The letter was sent to “Professor Raman.”

 Although Raman was intent upon a scientific career, his family was in debt and  his brother persuaded him to  join the civil service. For 10 years Raman worked as a civil servant in the Indian Finance Department in Calcutta (now Kolkata ) In his free time he carried out research into the physics of stringed instruments and drums. He did this work at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS).  He also gave public lectures in Calcutta popularizing science.

He then got into full  time research .He did not take any government funds . With basic resources and great passion he and his students did great research. He was awarded the Nobel Prize  in Physics  and many other awards ,including the Bharat Ratna. He was the first Indian to be awarded the Nobel Prize.

In 1933 Raman became the first Indian director of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. In 1947 he became independent India’s first National Professor. In 1948 he founded the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, where he worked until the end of his life.


“It appears to me that this very beautiful discovery which resulted from Raman’s long and patient study of the phenomenon of light scattering is one of the best convincing proofs of the quantum theory.”

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