The Down To Earth Man, A Fruitful Life and Different Perspectives of Dr. Raman

The Biography of Famous Personalities of India will tell you about the controversies, the dark sides of a person that you may have never heard of.

The Down To Earth Man, A Fruitful Life and Different Perspectives of Dr. Raman

Raman – The Down To Earth Man

Dr. Raman was greatly studious. He kept in touch with the latest developments in science in the world around him. He had personal contact with many scientists. He used to read new books and research papers from different centres. On one occasion he was addressing the students of Presidency College, Madras. Like an elder brother he told them, “How much can you learn in an hour’s lecture? Spend more time in the library.” Studying and experimenting, he remained a student throughout his life.

“The equipment which brought me the Nobel Prize did not cost more than three hundred rupees. A table drawer can hold all my research equipments,” he used to say with pride. It was his conviction that if the research worker is not inspired from within, any amount of money cannot bring success in research.

He hoped that scientists of free India would win worldwide fame by their discoveries. “If there are no facilities here, what is wrong with their going abroad and spreading the fame of India? Did not the workers of the East India Company come and rule India?” he used to say.

Raman was not conservative in his outlook. He used to spell out his opinions boldly. When he was called ‘India’s illustrious scientist’,! he would correct the description with humility—“I am just a man of science.” When scientists were criticized, he would retort with confidence that they were the salt of the earth.

His greatness lay not just in his specialized field of research but in his extent of knowledge, his eagerness to collect and read books on other subjects in literature, music, science, and technology. His lectures to a lay audience made him especially noteworthy. He could capture the attention of school children, college students, and town people equally well. Possessing in a rare measure the extraordinary gift of making the most difficult problems in physics appear simple and with a keen and irresistible sense of humor, he would have the audience roaring in laughter every few minutes.

Raman – A Fruitful Life

Raman possessed the curiosity of a little boy to know new things, and the intuition of a great genius in understanding the secrets of Nature. The life of this great scientist was truly the life of a great seer.

Without much encouragement, Raman had entered the field of science in his early years. Deeply attracted by the secrets of sound and light, he marched ahead in the world of science. By his achievements and self-respect he earned a honored place for India in the world of science. He laid „ the foundations of a scientific tradition in India by building up institutes for research, by publishing science journals and by encouraging young scientists.

Raman exhibited remarkable independence in choosing to work in areas that exited his curiosity. Further, when faced with lack of infrastructure, he always improvised and built up whatever he needed from scratch. C.V. Raman’s determination, spirit, and contributions indeed remain special within the context of the practice of science in India.

Raman took over Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore as a Director and he stayed there until 1948. He spent equal amount of time on research and organizational work.

He not only conducted research but also mentored many students.

Raman dedicated his final years from 1948 to 1970, to set up of the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore and the running of the Indian Academy of Science. Despite his busy schedule, he edited journals ‘Current Science’ and the ‘Proceedings of the Academy’.

A few days before his 83rd birthday, Raman suffered a mild heart attack. But there was quick recovery. He never dreamt of a life without work. When advised rest, he told his doctor, “I wish to live a hundred-per-cent active and fruitful life.”

Dr. C.V. Raman died on 21 November, 1970. By a special arrangement, according to his wish, his mortal remains were consigned to flames in the institute campus itself, amidst the surroundings he loved, without any religious ceremonies. Today, a solitary tree is all that marks that spot in the grounds of the Raman Research Institute.

Dr. Raman In Different Perspectives

Raman’s Delight in Colour and Light
Raman collected rocks and precious stones. His invaluable collection included hundreds of objects such as sand that melted due to lightning, rock indicating the lava flow during a volcano and diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Many fluorescent minerals were kept in a dark room. There he could create a small twinkling world by switching on the ultra-violet light. Thin layers of some crystals were prepared for study. No colour was seen when they were viewed perpendicularly. But the viewer had only to change the angle—and blue, green and yellow colours delighted the eye. After a deep study of diamonds Raman explained many of their characteristics.

Once in Paris, he went shopping for diamonds and crystals. There two beautiful butterflies with blue wings in a shop window attracted him. He bought them and later collected thousands of specimens.

Raman loved flowers for their colours. He grew many flower plants. He used to visit flower exhibitions to examine flowers.

Raman’s Interest in Music
Raman was a great lover of music. He used to say, “I should live long, because I have not heard all the music I want to hear.” He was a frequent visitor to a shop selling musical instruments in Balepet, in Bangalore. He collected a variety of musical instruments like the Mridangam, the Tabla, the Veena, the Violin and the Nagaswaram.

‘The Catgut Acoustical Society’ of America is devoted exclusively to the study of violins. It elected Raman as its honorary member.

Raman — ‘A General Practitioner in Science’
When Raman stepped into the field of research, Modem Physics was in its infancy. It developed numerous branches by the time he began working in his own Institute. Then research workers had access to modem equipment and methods, which were not available six decades earlier. They tended to study a small field and to specialize in it. But Raman never limited his activities and interests to a narrow field.

Raman once inaugurated the ‘General Practitioners’ Conference’ in Bangalore. A general practitioner is a doctor who treats common illnesses. Raman humorously commented on that occasion that he was a general practitioner in science. He liked all scientific problems whether they were small or big. His interest and satisfaction lay in finding a solution to the problem.

In 1969, the daughter of Nagendranath (who had been a research student under him thirty years earlier) was married; Raman and his wife attended the reception. Raman drew Nagendranath aside and explained his new problem; he was trying to find a theory of earthquakes taking into account the actual shape of the earth and the wave-like nature of the quakes. Raman was not a person to be satisfied with his past achievements. He was always seeking new and vaster fields of study.

Raman was a delightful speaker. Sprinkled with good humor, his talk was usually focussed on realities. Raman used to say that the colour of the sea interested him more than the fish, which lived in it. He thought that we should have our own ships for oceanographic research. He often said that India lost her freedom because she took no interest in the seas.

Raman had A Lion’s Heart
Friends and admirers organized a special function at the Annual Session of the Academy at Ahmedabad to honour him on his eightieth birthday. Many people expressed warm sentiments. Raman never took much interest in birthday celebrations. Still, at the end, He thanked the organizers; and with a twinkle in his eyes, he said, “I wish some one had said that I had a lion’s heart!” All who had spoken forgot to make mention of his great asset, namely courage.

Raman’s God and Religion
Raman would not speak much about God and religion. Science was his God and work his religion. He believed that new discoveries confirm the existence of God; if there is God we have to find Him in this universe.

A journalist once asked him, “What do you feel about the long and eventful period of your scientific work and achievements?” Raman replied promptly, “I have no time to think of the past and I am not inclined to do so. I spend my life as a scientist. My work gives me satisfaction.”


Birth of C.V. Raman : 7 November, 1888
Done Matric : 1902
Done B.A. : 1905
Done M.A. : 1907
Joined the FCS at Calcutta : 1907
Marriage : 6 May, 1907
Joined LACS at Calcutta : 1907
Transferred to Rangoon : 1909
Father Passed Away 1910
Became Palit Professor at Calcutta University : 1917
Became Honorary Secretary of IACS : 1919
Went to England to represent Calcutta University : 1921
Honoured as fellow of the Royal Society : 1924
Visited Canada & America : 1924
Went to Russia : 1925
Found Raman-Effect : 16th March, 1928
Attained Knighthood : 1929
Received Nobel Prize : 1930
Joined Tata Institute, Bangalore : 1933
Established the Indian Academy of Science : 1934
Established The Raman Research Institute : 1948
Conferred Bharat Rama : 1954
Passed Away : 21 Nov., 1970


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