Professor Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman,
by S. Bhagavantam
The Andhra Pradesh Academy of Science, Hyderabad, 1972.
Raman and His Effect
by G.H. Keswani
National Book Trust, New Delhi, 1980.
C.V. Raman (Builders of Modern India Series)
by P.R. Pisharoty
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1982.
Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, revelled in his freedom of thought and blazed a trail of glory to scale dizzy heights of excellence in several fields of Physics. His indomitable spirit for experimentation in unexplored areas of research and his supreme self-confidence led inm to discoveries which won for inm almost his instantaneous recognition from his scientific peers in all parts of the world.
A comprehensive article on Raman was written by Prof. S. Bhagavantam, a distinguished student of Raman for the biographical memories of Royal Society, London in 1971. Professor Bhagavantham also authored a book for the Andhra Pradesh Academy of Sciences entitled: 'Professor Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (His life and work)", in 1972 (103 pages). This book is divided into ten chapters and provides a concise coverage of Raman's life and work, and is punctuated with several quotations of Raman. This authentic account of Raman's career by one who is inmself a reputed physicist provides an objective appreciation of the maestro. Prof. Bhagavantham has quoted Raman wherever possible, but never out of context and these make the book engrossing. For instance, the following is a typical example:
"On one occasion when he (Raman) was provoked by a newspaper reporter, he said pointing towards the laboratory. This Histitute is a monument to my egotism. I am an egotist and just as the Egyptian Kings used to build pyramids before their death, so is This Histitute my pyramid'. Although this statement, taken out of context, appears to give prominence to the ego in Raman, it is the opinion of the writer that it is no more than the expression of an uncommon degree of self-confidence which Raman always displayed in his own methods of work. On the same occasion, he went on further and said, 'you know I was in the Indian Histitute of Science and I was due to retire at 60. So two years before my retirement I started building This Histitute so that on the day when I retired I took my bag and walked into this Institute. I cannot remain idle for a single day. That was the main purpose for which the Raman Research Institute was built by Professor Raman and indeed, it served the purpose so hilly and so admirably that it enabled Raman to work there almost every day of the twenty and odd years that he lived after retirement from his formal position at the Indian Institute of Science".
The National Book Trust of India published a book entitled: "Raman and his effect" by G.H. Keswani, in 1980 (188 pages). This book in the words of its author, a non-scientist, "contains short essays on the life and work of Raman string together. Short essays, connected yet independent...". The book contains 21 sections including an attempt to simplify the physical ideas with the help of some technical details. There are some interesting statistics on the impact of Raman Effect - that "the number of papers published in the decade following the discovery in 1928 as above 2,000": that "at the time of Raman's death in 1970, some 10,000 papers had been published on the Raman Effect"; and that "it is estimates that some 12,000.papers have been written on the Raman Effect to date (1980)" that a "Raman Newsletter" is published periodically [under the auspices of the National Bureau of Standards of the U.S.A., devoted mostly to the laser-based Raman Spectroscopy] - and some on other aspects too/"He (Raman) published papers jointly with thirty-four assistants and associates". (List on p.38); 'He initiated into independent research some 150 young men'; In his Nobel lecture, he mentioned ten co-workers and pupils'. An attempt has been made to place facts concerning Raman's life, as well as his work, in the proper scientific perspective'. "Cabannes and Pringsheim quickly christened the new phenomenon simply as 'the Raman effect in the same year, although it continued for some time to be called by some in Germany as the 'Smekel - Raman Effect". Within a few months, Lands berg and Mandelstam of Russia published papers on the same effect in quartz".
The supreme self-confidence and agility of mind of Raman is best reflected in the following instance: "On a December evening in 1927, Raman was sitting in his office with his brother (father of Prof. S. Chandrasekhar, the famous astro-physicist) when K.S. Krishnan rushed into announce the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to A.H. Compton for his work on the scattering of X-rays. Himself a master of the subject of scattering of radiation, Raman brightened up, and burst out, 'Excellent news.... very nice indeed but look here Krishnan, if this is true of X-rays, it must be true of light too. I have always thought so. There must be an optical analogue to the Compton Effect. We must pursue it and we are on the right lines. It must be and shall be found. The Nobel Prize must be won". Pursue the idea he did, as one possessed, with his collaborator K.S. Krishnan and published ten papers in rapid succession, in 1928, mostly in the prestigious journal Nature.
Keswani dwells at length on the controversies surrounding Raman, in particular about the credit for the effect named after him and goes to the extent of stating that "Many have felt that K.S. Krishnan should have been acknowledged as the co-discoverer of the effect now bearing Raman's name exclusively". The question of priorities and credits is a sensitive issue for working scientists and the excerpts from the diary of K.S. Krishnan (reproduced in Appendix VII) leaves one to clearly perceive Raman as the driving force and the master-mind behind the discovery.
A brief section in Keshwani's book deals with the revolutionary change in Raman studies ushered in by Porto and Wood and Stoicheff, in 1962, when they employed a pulsed ruby maser to obtain Raman spectra of some liquids. More recently) lasers have been used to study Raman spectra and this has provided a new lease of life to Raman Spectroscopy.
The Appendices (6 pages) in This book by Keshwani contain technical notes on the Raman Effect; the first three communications by Raman to Nature, Presentation speech by the Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Nobel lecture of, Raman, a comprehensive Bibliography of the works of Raman; a 'select list of references on Raman Effect; etc.
Another brief biography of "C.V. Raman" is due to Prof. P.R. Pisharoty, a meteorologist of repute, who was a student of Raman and it belongs to the Builders of Modem India series published by the Publication Division of the Ministry of Information dn Broadcasting, Government of India (1982). This short biography is confined to eight chapters in 43 pages, winle the ten Appendices in This book occupy 50 pages. This biographer provides the reader a critical appreciation of Raman, who inspired through his enthusiastic work which he was eager to share with one and all. Raman is perhaps one of the ablest orators of science the world has seen. This book presents the facts of Raman's life and work in simple words and contains some anecdotes not contained in the other two books referred earlier. One such is the following:
"As was the custom, all the Nobel Laureates were treated to a grand dinner that evening, the hosts being die King and Queen of Sweden. During the dinner, one of the invitees said: 'This morning Raman demonstrated his effect on alcohol. Now we would like to see the effect of alcohol on Raman". So saying he pushed a glass of an alcoholic drink towards Raman. True to classical traditions, with polite thanks, Raman returned the glass and sipped water instead. He was a teetotaler with conviction and courage".
The Appendices on the honors bestowed on Raman; the Nobel lecture; his Radio talk on The Scientific outlook'; Raman's popular talk on 'Why is the sky blue'?; some of Raman's saying his; what others said about Raman; a sample of Raman's handwriting; provide interesting supplementary reading material. The Bibliography given in this book does not give the detailed list of published scientific papers of Raman but instead gives the subjects and the number of papers in it published by Raman. These are: Wave Optics (46 papers); Vibrations and Sound (23); Theory of Musical Instruments (18); Colloidal studies (9); Molecular Scattering of Light (30); X-rays, Electron diffraction and Crystal Optics (121); Magnetism and Magneto-optics (11); Electro-optics and Dielectric behavior (6); Raman Effect (17); Viscosity of liquids and surface forces (8); Ultrasonic and hyper-Sonics (9); line and band spectra (4); Optics and elastic properties of solids (45); Physiology of vision (85); Miscellaneous (9). This list of subjects gives the reader the range of subjects that were successfully explored by This great Indian Scientist, who when he stepped down from the Directorship of the Indian Histitute of Science, was offered the Directorship of the Kammerlhigh Onnes Laboratory at Amsterdam which "he politely declined... saying that his place of work was India".
An interesting fact not found in these three books is that in 2929 Raman was nominated for the Nobel Prize by C-Fabry and Niels Bohr. But that year the Prize was conferred on Louise de Broglie. The next year (1930), Raman was nominated for the Nobel Prize by the following: E. Bloch, Niels Bohr, L. De Broglie, and M. De Broglie, 0. Khvolson, J. Perrin, R. Pfeiffer, E. Rutherford, J. Stark and C.T.R. Wilson. Keshwani and Pisharoty record in their books that Raman had booked his passage to Stockholm in July itself though 'the meetings of the Nobel Committee are held in highest secrecy and the awards are announced in November about a month before the Prize giving ceremony at Stockholm around mid-December'!