20 Sir Venkata Raman Facts – Discovery of Raman Effect

Venkata Raman Facts

In our previous article on C.V. Raman facts, we learned about his early life and his work in general. We did not delve deep into that particular work that earned him the Nobel Prize. This article on Sir Venkata Raman facts will focus on that. We will also learn about his behavior in expectation of Nobel Prize. These facts are pretty interesting. Let’s learn…

Sir Venkata Raman Facts: 1-5 | Discovery of Raman Effect

1. Sir Raman was on a voyage to Europe in year 1921. It was during that voyage that he keenly noticed glaciers’ blue color and also the Mediterranean Sea.

2. The striking blue color caught his attention and suddenly he felt the urge to find out the cause of the blue color.

3. He returned back to India and started experimenting. In 1928, when he was in Calcutta and worked with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, he carried out several experiments along with K. S. Krishnan.

4. He started observing the light scattering by ice blocks (transparent) and water. He made use of a mercury arc lamp for the experiments.

5. The mercury arc lamp that emitted monochromatic was made to pass through water and even transparent ice.

Sir Venkata Raman Facts: 6-10 | Discovery of Raman Effect and Noble Prize Expectation

6. The light that came out from the other side of the transparent materials he used was allowed to fall straight on a spectrograph.

7. The purpose of using a spectrograph was to measure the spectrum of the light. In the process, Raman found some lines created in the spectrum.

8. Sir Raman had discovered the Raman Effect and the Raman Lines. In 1928, the finding were presented by Raman in a scientists’ meet that was organized in Bangalore on 16th March.

9. Because of his findings, Raman expected that he will win the Nobel Prize in 1928. Unfortunately, that did not happen. That year, the Nobel Prize went to Owen Richardson.

10. In 1929, Raman again expected that he will win the Nobel but by a stroke of bad luck, the prize went to Louis de Broglie.

Sir Venkata Raman Facts: 11-15 | Nobel Prize and Munich Skepticism

11. In 1930, Sir Raman was extremely confident about winning the Nobel Prize. Such was his excitement that he actually booked his tickets to reach Stockholm, Sweden in July while the award ceremony was in November.

12. He was so confident and excited that he used to read every day’s newspaper to find news on Nobel Prize. He used to toss away the paper when he did not find any news.

Sir Venkata Raman Facts
Raman at the 1930 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony | By Unknown (TT Nyhetsbyrån) – Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70923821

13. Eventually in 1930, Raman was awarded with Nobel Prize in Physics, making him the first non-white and first Asian person to win Nobel Prize in science category.

14. Raman’s discovery however met with some skepticism in Munich. A group of German scientists tried to replicate Raman’s work but they met with failure initially, which led to some skepticism.

15. Eventually, a German scientist by the name Peter Pringsheim managed to successfully replicate Raman’s experiments. It was Pringsheim who coined the terms ‘Raman Lines’ and ‘Raman Effect’.

Sir Venkata Raman Facts: 16-20 | Nobel Prize Controversy

16. Russian scientists L.I. Mandelstam and G.S. Landsberg also observed the same effects as Raman did. This led to a controversy about Raman not sharing the award with them.

17. However, the Nobel Committee on Physics argued that Mandelstam and Landsberg failed to provide independent interpretation of the effect they discovered. They instead, decided to cite the article by C.V. Raman.

18. The Committee also said that the Russians discovered it only using crystals. Raman on the other hand (of course with help of Krishnan) observed the effect in gases, liquids and solids. This means, Raman proved the universal nature.

19. The Committee also argued that uncertainties regarding infrared lines and Raman lines observed in the spectrum was explained later and also, the method of Raman was applicable in molecular physics fields with great precision and success.

20. Finally, the Committee also said Raman Effect helped to check actual symmetry problems in molecules and hence, helped in dealing with problems related to nuclear-spin that was prevalent in nuclear physics. Because of these reasons, Raman’s name was proposed by the Committee to Swedish National Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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