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Dr CV Raman: The Celebrated Genius Summary
Dr. C.V. Raman, gone down in the annals of science (National as well as International) as celebrated genius rightly and deservingly so. He looked upon science as God and considered work as his religion. His unswerving dedication to the development of science and research in India (a county which did not figure anywhere on the map of science), is extremely laudable. He brought laurels not only to his own person but to India – an extremely backward country in science and this he did at a time when she (India) was panting under the colonial rule of the British.
Right from his early age, he displayed the signs of genius, and an undeniable fact evidenced by the fact that he passed his matriculation at the age of 11 with honors and graduated at 15-achievements almost unbelievable.
Hailing from extremely orthodox Brahman family of Tamil Nadu, he rose to the heights of occupying the Directorship of ‘The Institutes of Science and Technology’ at Bangalore— a post he held for 15 years till his retirement, needless to say, that he was the first Indian to occupy the post.
After having got his Masters in Physics and Literature and having qualified the competitive exams of Finance department– he started his career as assistant Account General in Calcutta – an extremely lucrative post that fetched him quite a handsome salary , but he did not feel contented as it pushed him away from his first and last love ‘science’.
It was his undying and never dwindling zeal and passion for science that bought him in contact with an institute named Indian ‘Association for Cultivation of Science’ at 210 street Calculate run by Amit Lal Sarkar. Such was his passion for science that he continued his research programme in the institute from six to nine in the morning and from five to ten in the evening, besides discharging his routine duties as Assistant Account General.
He was offered the Palit Chair of Physics AT Calcutta University by Dr. Mukherji and he accepted without sparing a moment’s thought — though the University paid him almost half the salary, he got from the government. It was as representative of Calcutta University that he had to make a voyage to Europe in 1921 to attend a science conference there and this voyage proved to be a turning point in his career as, having been inquisitive by nature since his birth. He was surprised by the deep blue coloration of Meditterian waters and his inquisitive mind ruled out the standing explanation that it must be due to the reflection of the blue sky. This triggered his exploring mind and ceaselessly for almost seven years to unravel the mystery and give the world his theory of Scattering.
The phenomenon of light while passing through different media, together with the Quantum theory of light which has gone under his name as ‘Raman Effect’. It was this discovery that won for him the much coveted and prestigious.
Nobel Prize. Thus he became the first Indian– nay Asian who rose to the status of Noble laureate. Raman had a very deep love for his country- India. This is evidenced by the fact that he suffered a nervous breakdown while receiving Nobel Prize from the hands the Swedish King Gustav and tears gushed down his cheeks when he realised that he was standing under the Union Jack (British Flag) and not the Indian tri-colour which meant that his poor country—India did not have a flag of her own. Besides, he never opted for a European hat and suit in place of a typical Madrasi dress.
It was in acknowledgment of his scientific genius that personalities like with great personality like Rutherford and Neil Buhr etc. established friendship with him.
C.V. Raman was so deeply obsessed by the passion of promoting science and research in India and setting up a research Institute of his own that he traversed the whole country, collecting money from every possible source.
This was necessitated by the unfortunate incident of his having lost the entire savings of his life in the ‘South Sea Babble’ catastrophe. He did not feel shy of it remarking that all great Indians like Shankara, Buddha, and Gandhi had been beggars. Finally, he did succeed in establishing the ‘Raman Institute’ on a piece of land (about 31 acres) donated by a local landlord who too had the similar desire to see India on the science map of the world.
Raman’s keen ear for music and it was this trait of his personality that brought him in touch with Lokasundri, a Vienna whom he finally wedded as a life partner. He confronted a lot of problems in his life, but never felt depressed and deterred. One of the major causes of these problems was his irritable temperament and too harsh a behavior.
He believed in simple living, close to Nature itself. His philosophy of life and concept patriotism were novelties and down to earth realistic. He believed in simple living and very high thinking. Patriotism for him meant the love of mother earth which could be exhibited by nurturing it, making it more and more productive without causing any damage to its texture. Simple things like a glass of plain water, a long walk in the woods, and a loaf of Ragi fascinated him more than anything else. He perceived Oneness in science and nature and never gave up serving them. He laid upon his countrymen to study science to be of some use to the country. He was a great and effective orator, educationist as well as a humanist. He preached that Indians needed to spend much of their time on the education of their children— spending money alone was not enough. To him, it was not just spending money that would transform the illiterate and scientifically backward India into the heaven of literacy. His speeches packed with wit and wisdom and spiced with humour inspired the youth all over the country and taught them not to lose heart and courage even in heavy odds– not to be deterred ever and never to say die.
1 How were the great men who Raman read about as a child reflected in the work he did later in life ?
Ans. Dr C.V.Raman was a keen reader of books right from childhood. His interest in reading books with his father’s library at home has been further strengthened. He is both a savvy and voracious reader and anxiously pored over all the books in the collection of his father. Some of these are ‘ original writings of the exceptional 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. These three were Edwin Arnold’s ‘Light of Asia’ which is the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Second one is titled ‘The Elements of Euclid’, is a treatise on Classical Geometry. ‘The Sensations of Tone’ is the last one and was authored by German scientist Helmholtz, on the properties of sound waves”.
Waves and Sound
These three were Edwin Arnold’s ‘Light of Asia’ which is the biography of Lord Gautama Buddha. Second one is titled ‘The Elements of Euclid’, is a treatise on Classical Geometry. ‘The Sensations of Tone’ is the last one and was written by German researcher Helmholtz, on the properties of sound waves”. These books have impacted Raman’s working style and critical thinking nature in his later life. It started with his Masters’ in Physics in Presidency school, Madras.
When there was a discourse hung on how light that fell on a screen placed in its way would get diffracted, or bent, when entering a tight slit in it. While the whole class was pre occupied with it, Raman thought about what might happen whether the light shone straight, not from an angle, on the screen. No student could show such elective reasoning as Raman. He contemplated it as well as published an research paper on it in Philosophical Magazine, a British Journal. He was the among the pioneer from Presidency school to publish an research paper. The sign of the extraordinary mind proceeded in his later research on melodic instruments.
Raman was entranced by waves and sounds and constantly carried in his mind the memory of reading Helmholtz’s book on ‘The Sensations of Tone’ in his school days. He got an opportunity to study and experiment in the IACS, he studied musical instruments first. He utilized a thought found in Helmholtz’s book, he clarified the working of the Ektara, which is a simple instrument made of a resonant box and a string extended to lie across the cavity. Beginning from his comprehension of this simple instrument, he created numerous thoughts that he called ‘remarkable resonances’. Amid this time, he took up the violin for study and built up a method for developing the quality instrument.
It was the first run a scientific understanding was built up, and it is utilized even today. Raman’s investigations on the violin were broad and published as a book entitled ‘On the Mechanical Theory of Musical Instruments of the Violin Family with Experimental Results: Part I.’ Raman’s revelation, while his voyage across the Mediterranean sea, that water molecules could scatter light simply like air molecules was essential and radical back then. It set him on the track to finding the popular Raman’s Effect. In 1922, he composed a splendid essay titled, “The Molecular Diffraction of Light”, in which he theorized that light may exist in quanta, that is, massless particles of energy. This is an acknowledged theory till today yet was most radical back then. In this way, the extraordinary personalities whom Raman read during his youth considered his scholarly and proficient career.
2. Why did Raman fail to impress his teachers when he joined Presidency College ?
Raman completed school when he was just eleven years old. He joined the BA course at Presidency College, when he was only thirteen years old. Being young for his class Raman failed to impress his teachers with his appearance. In the first English class that he had attended, Professor E.H. Eliot asked if he really belonged to the junior BA class.
3. What made Raman say of the Civil Surgeon of Madras, ‘I shall ever be grateful to this man’ ?
Ans.Raman was suggested to prepare for the Indian Civil Services (ICS) examination by his teachers. Raman had to undergo a medical examination to take the ICS test. But the Civil Surgeon of Madras declared him medically unfit to travel to England. This was the only exam Raman failed, and he would later remark in his characteristic style about the man who disqualified him because at that time, he simply put the attempt behind and went on to study physics.
4. Why was the day when Raman walked into the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science a historic moment ?
Ans. The day when Raman walked into the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science a historic moment because the building that became the laboratory where he and his team performed the legendary experiments on light.
5. Outline the subject of the first research Raman conducted in the IACS ?
Ans. The first research Raman has chosen was studying musical instruments. He explained the working of the ektara. He developed several idea that he called, ‘remarkable resonances’. He took up a violin for study and developed a way of characterizing the quality of the instrument. This was the first time a scientific understanding was established, and it is used even today.
6. What discovery did Raman make during his voyage across the Mediterranean and how did it prove to be important ?
Ans. Raman discovered that water molecules could scatter light like air molecules, during his voyage across the Mediterranean. It set him on the track to discovering the famous Raman effect. In 1922, he wrote a brilliant essay entitled ‘The Molecular Diffraction of Light,’ in which he speculated that light may exist in quanta, that is, as massless particles of energy.
More Questions of Dr CV Raman: The Celebrated Genius
Q. Why was the voyage C.V.Raman undertook in 1921 important in his life?
Ans. The voyage was important in his life because when he was crossing the Mediterranean Sea he wondered why it’s water has such a dark shade of blue. He started research about this apparently simple question and finally he got success. It was this very research that won him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930.
Q. Raman was just an average student at school and college. Is this true or false? Give reason to justify your answer?
Ans. Raman was not an average student at school and college .He was very brilliant, intelligent and efficient. He passed his matriculation at the age of 11 and he was only 15 years old when he completed his graduation from The Presidency College Madras (now Chennai).
Q. Why could Raman not pursue higher studies abroad even though he was very keen to do so?
Ans. Though Raman was very keen to pursue higher studies abroad but he was disqualified by a British doctor on medical reasons.The doctor told Raman that he would would not be able to bear the severity of English climate.
Q. Give an example to show that Raman’s interest in science did not lessen even when he started working as an accountant general?
Ans.When Raman completed his masters degree, he took a job in Kolkata is an assistant accountant general but his interest in science did not show any sort of decline.He used to spend most of his spare time in the mornings and evenings in the laboratory of Indian Association for Cultivation of science.
Q. Why was there no Indian flag flying when Raman was awarded Nobel Prize? How did this effect him?
Ans. Noble Prize was awarded to Raman in 1930 for physics and at that time India was under the British rule. That is why, there was no Indian flag. When he saw himself under the British flag, he was so moved by emotions that tears started trickling down his face.
Q. Raman was proud to be an Indian. How does this manifest in his personal life?
Ans. Raman was proud to be an Indian. He would wear a closed coat and turban till his last breath. He did not give up his tradition Indian turban in favour of a European hat.
Q. The world was not slow to recognize the importance of CV Raman’s achievements? What are other important awards he won apart from the Nobel Prize?
Ans. Apart from the Nobel Prize, C.V.Raman was conferred many other important prizes. He won Bharat Ratan in 1954 and the International Lenin Prize in 1957.He was given Knighthood by the British Government in 1929. He was also made a fellow of the Royal Society London in 1924.
Q. “I can understand the difficulties that most of few graduates have to face”. How was this possible for him?
Ans. Raman himself had experienced a very tough and hard life. He had experienced poverty and miseries in his life. His life was not all milk and roses. Out of his personal experience, it was possible for him to understand the difficulties being faced by most of the graduates in India in those days.
Q. “I can admit success in life is always to the intelligent or the strong”. What are other qualities according to Raman bring success in life?
Ans. Rahman was of the opinion that success in life does not always come to intelligent or the strong.It is to some extent a bit of gamble. To be successful, one has to get one’s mind right and know one’s job well.
Q. What was Raman’s philosophy of life?
Ans. Raman’s philosophy of life was very simple. He was of the view that we should not get disappointed if we do not succeed in our life at the first attempt. We should not loose our heart rather we should continue efforts. We should face up life and take it as we find it. We should enjoy the common things in nature and life. He wanted us to appreciate the things that we see around ourselves.
Q.Three or four qualities of nature inspired Raman all his life. Which are they?
Ans. Raman appreciated nature. It was nature and her qualities that inspired him all his life. The wonderful bounties of nature, her marvelous ingenuity, he resourcefulness and her infinite variety are other qualities that inspired him.
Q. Raman had unusual view about Patriotism.What was it?
Ans. C.V. Raman had really unusual view about Patriotism. According to him, Patriotism is the love of the earth. It is earth and the things that grow upon it that make life possible. The love for land means the love of the earth which has borne us and which sustains us.The idea of the earth transcends the idea of national and international borders. By loving earth, we will be able to love all.
Q. The main purpose of Raman’s address to the graduates was to…
a. advise them
b. inspire them
c. impress them
Ans. b) inspire them
Explanation with reference to the context
1. After ten years of government service……. research of his life.
Context: These lines have been taken from the lesson “Dr CV Raman- The celebrated Genius”. The lesson depicts Raman’s philosophy of life and his remarkable achievements.
Explanation: In these lines here under discussion depict that Raman did government service for ten years and then resigned. After that he worked as the Professor of Physics at Calcutta University on lower salary than he earned previously. He performed the most important research of his life at the University laboratory.