Biography of SIR C.V Raman


C V. Raman was born on 7 November 1888 in a Tamil Hindu family to Chandrasekaran Ramanathan Iyer and Parvathi Ammal. Raman’s father was a lecturer who taught mathematics and physics in Mrs A.V. Narasimha Rao College, Visakhapatnam (then Vishakapatnam) in India and later joined Presidency College in Madras (now Chennai). At an early age, Raman moved to the city of Visakhapatnam and studied at St. Aloysius Anglo-Indian High School.


Raman passed his matriculation examination at the age of 11 and he passed his F.A. examination with a scholarship at the age of 13. In 1902, Raman joined Presidency College in Madras where his father was a lecturer in mathematics and physics.
In 1904 he passed his Bachelor of Arts examination of University of Madras. He stood first and won the gold medal in physics.
In 1907 he gained his Master of Sciences degree with the highest distinctions from University of Madras

In the year 1917, Raman resigned from his government service after he was appointed the first Palit Professor of Physics at the University of Calcutta.
At the same time, he continued researching the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Calcutta, where he became the Honorary Secretary.

In 1926 Prof. Raman established the Indian Journal of Physics and he was the first editor. The second volume of the Journal published his famous article “A New Radiation”, reporting the discovery of Raman Effect.


On 28 February 1928, Raman led an experiment with K. S. Krishnan, on the scattering of light, when he discovered what now is called the Raman effect.

It gave further proof of the quantum nature of light. Raman had a complicated professional relationship with K. S. Krishnan, who surprisingly did not share the award, but is mentioned prominently even in the Nobel lecture.

He has conferred a knighthood, and medals and honorary doctorates by various universities.


He did eventually win the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the Raman effect”. He is the first Asian and first non-white to receive any Nobel Prize in the sciences. Before him, Rabindranath Tagore (also Indian) had received the

Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

Raman also worked on the acoustics of musical instruments. He worked out the theory of transverse vibration of bowed strings, based on superposition velocities.


Raman’s work on acoustics was an important prelude, both experimentally and conceptually, to his later work on optics and quantum mechanics. In 1933, Raman left IACS to join Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore as its first Indian director.

Other investigations carried out by Raman were experimental and theoretical studies on the diffraction of light by acoustic waves of ultrasonic and hypersonic frequencies and those on the effects produced by Xrays on infrared vibrations in crystals exposed to ordinary light.


In 1947, he was appointed as the first National Professor by the new government of Independent India. Raman retired from the Indian Institute of Science in 1948 and established the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, Karnataka, a year later. He served as its director and remained active there until he died in 1970, in Bangalore, at the age of 82.

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