C.V. Raman

Quick Facts:

Birthday: 7th November, 1888

Father's name: Chandrashekaran Ramanathan Iyer

Mother's name: Parvathi Ammal

Born In: Thiruvanaikoil, Madras Presidency, British India (Tamil Nadu, India)

Death: 21st November, 1970, Bengaluru

Nationality: Indian


CV Raman (Fully abbreviated as Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman) was one of India's greatest Physicists and Mathematicians, who did excellent research work in fields of optics and scattering of light particles. In the year 1930, he earned a noble prize for the same groundbreaking work he did in the scattering effect of light. He was the first person in entire Asia to get the Noble Prize in Physics.

Raman has been acknowledged with a large number of honorary doctorates and various memberships of scientific societies. He was elected a candidate of the Royal Society early in his career in the year of 1924 and was knighted in the year 1929.

In the scattering experiment, he also figured out that when the light encounters the transparent particles, it causes the light to change its wavelength and amplitude. This phenomenon was later defined on his name as Raman scattering.

Max Born and Peter Debye, who were well-named scientists of that time, introduced their theories to understand and conceptualize the idea of X-ray Laue photographs. CV Raman, on the other hand, not just criticized their conceptualization and ideology for explaining the phenomenon but also came up with his understanding of the same phenomenon. This also created a huge controversy between these two, which never seemed to end completely.

Apart from the above mentioned physics topics, his other primary interests included the optics of colloids, electrical and magnetic anisotropy, and the physiology of human vision.

Early Life:

Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman was born in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, to his Tamil parents, Chandrashekaran Ramanathan Iyer, who was his father and Parvathi Ammal who was his mother. Raman's father worked in Mrs. A.V. Narasimha Rao College in the city of Visakhapatnam, where he was a lecturer who taught mathematics and physics in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Later on, he also became the part of Presidency College in Madras, which is now known as Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu.

At a very early age, Raman shifted to the city of Visakhapatnam, where he started his academics and the studies in St Aloysius Anglo-Indian High School. Raman passed matriculation at age 11 and the FA examination with a scholarship at age 13. These exams are no less than today's Intermediate exams, PUCPDC, and +2.

In the year 1902, Raman entered Presidency College in Madras, where his father was also a Lecturer in the subjects, Mathematics and Physics. In the year 1904, he received a BA degree from the University of Madras, where he attained the first position among all the students in the University and also won the gold medal in Physics. In the year 1907, he completed his MSc degree at the University of Madras with getting the highest distinction.


On 28th February 1928, Raman effect came as the consequence of the experiment on the scattering of light, where Raman worked with K. S. Krishnan. A detailed description of this entire work is well documented in the biography by G. Venkataraman. After the results they expected and what they got, it made things extremely clear and was seen as a very potential discovery of the year. It also enlightened more about the proof of the quantum nature of light. Raman had a super complicated and very professional relationship with K. S. Krishnan, who although did not go for the award with Raman, but is mentioned prominently even in the Nobel lecture, which Raman delivered while receiving his Nobel prize.

A new field of spectroscopy that is Raman spectroscopy came to its existence by making use of this phenomenon, and Ernest Rutherford, another great scientist of that time, attributed to it in his presidential speech to the Royal Society in the year 1929. Raman was president of the 16th session of the Indian Science Congress in the year 1929. He was awarded a knighthood, numerous medals, and honorary doctorates by several different universities.

Raman was very much confident about receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics for his incredible, groundbreaking work. But he was utterly disappointed too when Owen Richardson received the Nobel Prize in the year 1928 and after that, Louis de Broglie in the year 1929. After this in the year 1930, he was very much confident of winning the prize that he prebooked his tickets in July, even though the awards were supposed to be announced in November. In all his enthusiasm and excitement, he would scan each newspaper every day, searching and looking for the announcement of the Nobel prize, and then tossing it away if it did not have the news, he wanted to see. And finally, the time came in the year 1930 when he received his Nobel Prize in Physics for his observation on the scattering of light and also for the development and discovery of the Raman effect. He was the first non-white and the first Asian to receive any Nobel Prize in the topic of sciences. Earlier to him, Rabindranath Tagore, who was also an Indian, won his Nobel Prize for Literature in the year 1913.

Family and Personal Life:

Raman got married on the 6th of May 1907 to Lokasundari Ammal. Raman had two sons, Chandrashekhar and Radhakrishnan, who was also a radio-astronomer.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who later received the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year of 1983 for his work and discovery of the Chandrasekhar limit in the year 1931 and also for his following work on the nuclear reactions essential for stellar evolution. CV Raman was actually his paternal uncle.

Raman began an extensive personal compilation of stones, minerals, and materials with interesting light-scattering properties throughout his life. He obtained such things from his world tours and as the many gifts, he received from the people around him. He always used to carry small and handheld spectroscope modules everywhere with him to study and analyze specimens. Today, these have been kept on display at the Raman Research Institute, the place where he devoted all his life working and teaching.


In late November of the year 1970, due to heart failure, Raman collapsed in his lab. Later he was taken to hospital, where he was supposed to live for four more days. He asked the doctors to leave him back to his home, where he wanted to spend more time in his gardens before he died in peace. After that, he died in 21st November. 


  • He was selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society early in his career in the year 1924 and then knighted in the year 1929.
  • He was selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society early in his career in the year 1924 and then knighted in the year 1929.
  • In the year 1930, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • In the year 1941, he was awarded the Franklin Medal.
  • In the year 1954, he got the Bharat Ratna.
  • He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in the year 1957.

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