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C. V. Raman

  • Indian physicist
  • Born November 7, 1888
  • Died November 21, 1970

Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman (; 7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) was an Indian physicist born in the former Madras Province in India (presently the state of Tamil Nadu), who carried out ground-breaking work in the field of light scattering, which earned him the 1930 Nobel Prize for Physics. He discovered that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes wavelength and amplitude. This phenomenon, subsequently known as Raman scattering, results from the Raman effect.


The fundamental importance of the subject of molecular diffraction came first to be recognized through the theoretical work of the late Lord Rayleigh on the blue light of the sky, which he showed to be the result of the scattering of sunlight by the gases of the atmosphere.




A voyage to Europe in the summer of 1921 gave me the first opportunity of observing the wonderful blue opalescence of the Mediterranean Sea. It seemed not unlikely that the phenomenon owed its origin to the scattering of sunlight by the molecules of the water.




When we consider the fact that nearly three-quarters of the surface of the globe is covered by oceanic water, we begin to realise that the molecular scattering of light in liquids may possess an astronomical significance, in fact contribute in an important degree to the observed albedo of the earth.




In the history of science, we often find that the study of some natural phenomenon has been the starting point in the development of a new branch of knowledge.




To an observer situated on the moon or on one of the planets, the most noticeable feature on the surface of our globe would no doubt be the large areas covered by oceanic water. The sunlit face of the earth would appear to shine by the light diffused back into space from the land and water-covered areas.




The whole edifice of modern physics is built up on the fundamental hypothesis of the atomic or molecular constitution of matter.



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