Remembering Asia's 1st Nobel Laureate, who explained why sea looks blue

In 1930, Sir CV Raman was the first non-white, Asian and Indian to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on Light Scattering and discoveringthe Raman Effect. He was an Indian physicist, born in the former Madras Province on 7 Nov 1888. Son of a school teacher, he excelled in studies and graduated at 16 with a BA from the Presidency College at the University of Madras in 1904. He won gold medals in both English and Physics as core subjects. At 18, he published his first scientific paper in the British journal Philosophical Magazine on the topic "Unsymmetrical diffraction-bands due to a rectangular aperture."He joined Indian Association for Cultivation of Science (IACS) in 1907 and worked in the field of Acoustics for ten years. He was appointed professor at University of Calcutta, from where he went to Oxford in 1921 to represent his university.

During his voyage, he did experiments on 'the colour of the sea' and sent a note to Nature, which was against the principles of the general notion that the colour of the sea is due to the reflection of the skylight. Raman had shown that the colour of the sea is independent of the skylight and is due to molecular diffraction. He discovered the Raman Effect in 1928, which deals with the change in the frequency of monochromatic light after scattering.

The list of honours and awards bestowed on Raman for his scientific contributions is long. A fascinating factor in the case of Raman is that he received the Nobel Prize in record time; he discovered the Raman effect in 1928 and was awarded the Nobel prize in 1930.

India celebrates National Science Day on 28 Feb every year to commemorate the day he discovered the Raman effect. In 1954, he was honoured with the highest civilian award in India, the Bharat Ratna.He was the first director of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in 1933 and went on to found the Raman Research Institute (RRI) in 1948 on a plot of land in Bengaluru gifted by the Government of Mysore. The institute was funded personally by him and with donations from private sources.

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Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru

Indian Academy of Sciences (IASc), Bengaluru

Raman Centre for Applied and Interdisciplinary Sciences

Raman Science Centre & Planetarium, Nagpur

Sir CV Raman State Award

Sir CV Raman Award

Chandrasekhara Venkat Raman Medal

CV Raman Fellowship for African Researchers

Raman Fellowship for Post Doctoral Research for Indian Scholars in USA

Raman-Charpak Fellowship