The whole edifice of modern physics is built up on the fundamental hypothesis of the atomic or molecular constitution of matter.
C. V. Raman, A Professor of Physics at Calcutta University was the first `non-white’, Asian and Indian to receive the Nobel prize (1930) in physics for his work on scattering of light and discovery of the Raman effect, with simple equipment barely worth RS. 300.
Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born at Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu on 7th November 1888 to a physics teacher. Raman was a very sharp student. After doing his matriculation at 12, he was supposed to go abroad for higher studies, but after medical examination, a British surgeon suggested against it. Raman instead attended Presidency College, Madras. After completing his graduation in 1904, and M.Sc. in Physics in 1907, Raman put through various significant researches in the field of physics. He studied the diffraction of light and his thesis on the subject was published in 1906.
Raman received the Nobel prize `for his work on diffusion of light and for the effect named after him’. The objections raised by some historians that Raman did not share the Nobel prize with others or that the Committee ignored Raman’s collaborators as well as Russian colleagues is not correct; as he was awarded the Prize not only for the Raman effect, but for other work in this field as well. The Nobel Committee had to take the decision according to certain rules and regulations imposed on it by the Nobel Foundation. Raman was nominated 10 times and the nominators wrote convincing recommendations in favour of him; thus the Committee decided for Raman. He received the Nobel prize in record time due the practical significance of the discovery, as well as the good opinion of the famous contemporary scientists about his work.