Raman At Tata Institute, Effect On Brain Drain and Encouraging Original Thinker

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Raman At Tata Institute, Effect On Brain Drain and Encouraging Original Thinker

Raman At Tata Institute

Dr. Raman came to Bangalore as the Director of the Tata Institute (the Indian Institute of Science) in 1933. The Tata Institute soon became famous for the study of crystals. The diffraction of light (the very slight bending of light around comers) by ultrasonic waves (high-frequency sound waves which we cannot hear) in a liquid was elegantly explained by Raman and Nagendranath. This became known as the ‘Raman-Nath Theory’.

Raman was an early riser and used to take morning walks regularly. The sight of tall trees against the sky at dawn delighted him. By six in the morning, he would be in the chamber where he worked. Up to 9 a.m., he would devote his time to discussing with students who were experimenting and to the study of research papers. At 10 o’clock he would be in the Director’s office. He would complete the office work and return to the laboratory. He would be immersed in research till 8.30 p.m. He used to arrange two or three seminars every week. At these seminars all the workers would come together to discuss various problems of their research.

Raman Effect On Brain Drain

One event shows the extra-ordinary pride Raman felt as an Indian. Very many years later, when Raman had received worldwide recognition, there was an event. This was around 1933, when Raman was in Bangalore as the Director of what is now the Indian Institute of Science, then known as the Tata Institute. At that time, several German Physicists were fleeing their country to escape the atrocities committed by Hitler. Raman, who was opposed to young Indians going abroad for education, rather believed in getting great international stalwarts here. So he approached several of the German Physicists who were fleeing Germany and tried to attract them to take up permanent jobs in India.

Amongst the persons he approached are distinguished Physicists like Erwin Schrodinger and Max Bom, both Nobel laureates. Unfortunately, as Schrodinger himself wrote in a letter, he had already accepted a job at Dublin when Raman’s invitation reached him. Schrodinger also wrote in that letter, that he regretted that he could not settle in India, the land of the Upanishads.

Encouraging Science & Research

After retirement from the Indian Institute of Science in 1948 he started an Institute of his own with the sponsorship of the Indian Academy of Sciences which he had founded in 1935, in the hope that it would “become an international cultural center that would shown India’s greatness in the field of exact sciences.” The Raman Institue, besides being well equipped for research in the fields of spectroscopy, optics, X-rays, crystal physics and mineralogy, houses an outstanding museum attached to the Institute containing a magnificent collection of rocks and minerals, and possibly the largest collection in the world today of diamonds for experimental investigations.

The Government of Mysore granted 24 acres of land to promote the activities of the Academy. It was his earnest desire ‘to bring into existence a centre of scientific research worthy of our ancient country, where the keenest intellectuals of our land can probe into the mysteries of the Universe’. He fulfilled his wish by establishing a Research Institute at Hebbal, Bangalore. He did not seek help from the Government but gave away all his property to the Institute. The Executive Committee of the Academy named the centre ‘Raman Research Institute’.

In 1948, this great scientist entered on one more active phase of life when he became the Director of the Raman Research Institute. The Institute became the centre of all his activities. A garden and tall eucalyptus trees surrounded it. He used to say, “A Hindu is required to go to the forest in old age, but instead of going to the forest, I made the forest come to me.” At the Institute he could concentrate on things that interested him. He was alone with his work and was happy.

He did research on sound, light, rocks, gems, birds, insects, butterflies, sea shells, trees, flowers, atmosphere, weather and physiology of vision and hearing. His study covered such different fields of science as Physics, Geology, Biology and Physiology. Among them sound and colours particularly attracted him. Once he even went round shops to select sarees of different colour designs.

His interests in later years were mainly focused on finding a satisfactory explanation of the floral colours and the physiology of human vision. For his continued and relentless pursuit of science, honours continued to pour in. In 1941 he was awarded the Franklin medal, the title ‘Bharat Ratna’, the highest honour by India is 1954, the Lenin Prize in 1957, elected as an honorary fellow of the Optical Society of America, foreign Associate of the French Academy, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Pointificial Academy of Sciences by the Pope in 1961, fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, and memberships in numerous other scientific societies throughout the world.

Raman : Original Thinker & Reader

Dr. C.V. Raman was one of the world renowned scientists of India. He was a brilliant, industrious and disciplined student. He was also an original thinker. During his youth, India was not a free country, and there were hardly any institutions or libraries to encourage for higher education. Despite these hurdles, Raman was able to contribute so greatly to Indian science. It was possible only because of his deep and genuine passion for physics and his commitment to finding answers to questions that puzzled him.

Raman was an intelligent and voracious reader and pored eagerly over all the books in his father’s collection. Some among those were the original writings of the outstanding scientists. He once said, “out of this welter of subjects and books, can I pick anything really mould my mental and spiritual outlook and determine my chosen path? Yes, I can and shall mention three books.”

“They are Edwin Arnold’s ‘Light of Asia’ which is the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Second is ‘The Elements of Euclid’, is a treatise on Classical Geometry. ‘The Sensations of Tone’ is the last one and is authored by German scientist Helmholtz, on the properties of sound waves.”