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Thursday, November 7, 2013

A tribute to Sir C.V. Raman, who produced the Raman Effect.

 
 
One of the most prominent Indian scientists in history, C.V. Raman was the first Indian person to win the Nobel Prize in science for his illustrious 1930 discovery, now commonly known as the “Raman Effect”. It is immensely surprising that Raman used an equipment worth merely Rs.200 to make this discovery. The Raman Effect is now examined with the help of equipment worth almost millions of rupees
 
The Blue of the Sea
When the blue of the sky was thought to be due to the reflection of the sunlight by the sea, it flashed to C.V. Raman that the blue color might be caused by the scattering of the sun’s light by water molecules. Next year he published a lengthy article on the molecular scattering of light.

 
When a beam of monochromatic light passes through a transparent substance (a substance which allows light to pass through it), the beam is scattered. Raman spent a long time in the study of the scattered light.. On February 28, 1928, he observed two low intensity spectral line corresponding to the incident mono- chromatic light. Years of his labor had borne fruit. It was clear that though the incident light was monochromatic, the scattered light due to it, was not monochromatic.Thus Raman’s experiments discovered a phenomenon which was lying hidden in nature.

The 16th of March 1928 is a memorable day in the history of science. On that day a meeting was held under the joint auspices of the South Indian Science Association and the Science Club of Central College, Bangalore; Raman was the Chief Guest. He announced the new phenomenon discovered by him to the world. He also acknowledged with affection the assistance given by K.S. Krishnan and Venkateshwaran, who were his students.

World-Wide Interest in Raman Effect
Investigations making use of the Raman Effect began in many countries. During the first twelve years after its discovery, about 1800 research papers were published on various aspects of it and about 2500 chemical compounds were studied. Raman Effect was highly praised as one of the greatest discoveries of the third decade of this century.
After the ‘lasers’ (devices that produce intense beams of light, their name coming from the initial letters of ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) came into use in the 1960′s, it became easier to get monochromatic light of very high intensity for experiments. This brought back scientific interest in Raman Effect, and the interest remains alive to this day

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