C.V. Raman, the Pride of IndiaLook at the pictures and answer the questions that follow:
- Can you name these scientists?
- Tell your class what you know about them.
- Are scientists special people? How?
- Do you want to be a scientist? Why?
- How many of them received the Nobel Prize?
- Who was the first Indian scientist that received the Nobel Prize?
A. ReadingRead the following passage and answer the questions that follow:
On the busy Bowbazaar Street in Calcutta there was an old building. It was the headquarters of the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science. In December, on a fine evening in 1927, there was much excitement in one of its laboratories. Chandrasekhar Venkata Raman was showing a visitor some of his instruments when a young man, K.S.Krishnan, rushed in and announced, “Professor Compton has won the Nobel Prize.”
Raman was equally delighted. “Excellent news,” he said, smiling at the visitor and then he was lost in thought. “But …. look here, Krishnan,” he said turning to the young man, “if this Compton Effect is true of X-rays, it must be true of light too.”
A few years earlier, A.H.Compton had shown that the nature of X-rays changes when passed through matter. The change was dependent on the kind of matter. This effect was called the ‘Compton Effect.’
Could light also change its nature when passed through a transparent medium? That was the question that Raman asked himself. For five years he had been doing research in optics, the science of light. No sophisticated equipment was available in his laboratory, but Raman was confident that he could find the answer with some modifications in his equipment.
Four months later, on March 16, 1928, Raman announced his discovery of ‘new radiation’ (describing the behaviour of a beam of light passing through a liquid chemical) to an assembly of scientists at Bangalore (now called Bengaluru).
The world hailed the discovery as the ‘Raman Effect’. For scientific research in this country, it was a red-letter day. His discovery caught the attention of the world. With equipment worth hardly Rs. 200/- and limited facilities, Raman was able to make a discovery which won him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1930.
Raman was born on November 7, 1888, at Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. His father was a physics teacher in a college. He was a brilliant student right from the start. When Raman passed his matriculation, his parents were keen to send him abroad for higher studies. But on medical grounds, a British surgeon advised them against it and Raman stayed in the country to do the M.A. course at Presidency College in Madras
(now called Chennai).
Science had already made an impression on him and he began to write research papers for science journals. When he was only 19, he became a member of the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science. Meanwhile, respecting his parents’ wishes, he took up an administrative job in the Finance Ministry in Calcutta. His interest in science, however, did not flag. He used to spend his hours after office in the lab of the Association working throughout the night.
In his youth, Raman was mainly interested in acoustics, the science of sound. He studied how stringed instruments like the violin and the sitar could produce harmonious music.
He was elected to the Royal Society of London in 1924 and the British Government made him a knight of the British Empire in 1929. It was a high honour for any great scientist.
His advice to young scientists was to look at the world around them and not to confine themselves to their laboratories. “The essence of science,” he said, “is independent thinking and hard work, not equipment.”
C.V.Raman was the first Indian scholar who studied wholly in India and received the Nobel Prize. He was the first Asian and the first non-white to win such a great award in science. He passed away in 1970 on November 21. But his memories are with us. February 28, the day on which he discovered the ‘Raman Effect’, is celebrated as National Science Day to commemorate his remarkable achievement in science.
(Adapted from SCIENTISTS OF INDIA published by Children’s Book Trust, New Delhi)