His father was a lecturer of mathematics and Physics. Sir. Chandrasekara Venkata Raman, was born in Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, India on 28th February, 1888. He studied his B.A. at Presidency College, Madras and won gold medal in physics for coming first. Later he obtained his M.A. Since jobs in science was not much those days he joined in Finance department. That did not stop him from his research and he spent his evening times in research in the lab of Association for the Cultivation of Science in Calcutta.
In 1917, he was offered professorship in Calcutta University in the department of Physics. He worked there for 15 years. He was elected to the Royal Society of London in 1924 and British government knighted him in 1929.
During his voyage to Europe, he was intrigued by the color of the sea which led him to discover the so called Raman Effect is a history many knows. In 1934 he was offered Directorship of the famous Indian Institute of Science, then known as Tata Institute. I remember when I was young I visited this institute several times. First time, when I went, I enquired many about IISc and to my surprise many answered in negative. Even when I expanded IISc, still it made no difference. Later a man explained that I should ask for "Tata Institute".
What makes a scientist if one asks, one answer could be the person's passion and the equally important one would be the keen observation. It is said when at 16 itself working with a Spectrometer in his college he observed a few diffraction rays and went on to publish his first paper. Therefore, I request the young researchers not to just look for what they are supposed to or asked to, but to go looking for unexpected things. His works were in many subjects such as acoustics, quantum property of photons, molecular scattering of X-rays, optics of colloids and physiology of vision.
Another important fact I would like to tell my young friends is, it is not very important to have great sophisticated instruments to work great things but work great things with even simple gadgets. It should be noted that even today we can construct a spectrometer with a few thousands of Rupees. It is with such simple instrument, he worked and discovered Raman Effect. For a genius, anything will become an instrument of research.
After his retirement from IISc, he established Raman Institute in 1949 where he worked till his death on November 21st, 1970. When I was yet a school boy, this news was broken to me by my father. This was one of the many inspirations for me in my career in science. It might seem crazy now, but this led me to talk of winning Nobel Prize in those childhood days. This of course made me look like a fool among my childhood friends.
Now as a mature person I know, a scientist does not work for a Nobel Prize but it is a recognition that comes later for the contribution of great people.
This Science Day, we should remember great Indian Scientists such as him. Not just to stop at that but, to learn how we need to motivate our youngsters in science and also get motivated in doing things which will bring accolades to our Nation.
Once while addressing the youngsters he said:
"I would like to tell the young men and women before me not to lose hope and courage. Success can only come to you by courageous devotion to the task lying in front of you and there is nothing worth in this world that can come without the sweat of our brow. I can assert without fear of contradiction that the quality of the Indian mind is equal to the quality of any Teutonic, Nordic or Anglo-Saxon mind. What we lack is perhaps courage, what we lack is perhaps driving force which takes one anywhere. We have, I think, developed an inferiority complex. I think what is needed in India today is the destruction of that defeatist spirit. We need a spirit of victory, a spirit that will carry us to our rightful place under the sun, a spirit which will recognize that we, as inheritors of a proud civilization, are entitled to a rightful place on this planet. If that indomitable spirit were to arise, nothing can hold us from achieving our rightful destiny."
I bow my head to you, the great man on your birthday. I take this opportunity to invite youngsters who have great interest in science to do things that make our country proud and to uplift the lives of millions across the world through inventions and innovations. Please do write about your views or share your ideas here.