The man who explained why the sea looks blue

The man who explained why the sea looks blue

Written By: / Articles / Thursday, 10 November 2022 17:05

Professor CV Raman was awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics
He was the first person of Asia descent to win the prestigious medal
While he won the Nobel for his work around light, he was an expert in the study of sound
By India Today Web Desk: Born in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu on November 7 1888 Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman was one of the foremost physicists India ever produced. His path-breaking studies led to a revolution in the world of Physics and none so intriguing as the one that explained why the sea appears blue.
Professor CV Raman was awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery and was the first person of Asian descent to win the prestigious medal. The Nobel was awarded for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him — the Raman effect.
WHO WAS SIR C V RAMAN?
Son of a school teacher, Raman excelled in studies early on and graduated at the age of 16 with a BA from the Presidency College at the University of Madras in 1904, where he won gold medals in both English and Physics as core subjects. At the age of 18, he published his first scientific paper in the British journal Philosophical Magazine under the topic “Unsymmetrical diffraction-bands due to a rectangular aperture.”
The Raman effect is one of the most difficult things to observe. 
In 1917 Raman was given a full professorship at the University of Calcutta. He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1924 and knighted by the British in 1930. He was the first director of the Indian Institute of Science in 1933 and went on to found the Raman Research Institute in 1948 on a plot of land in Bengaluru gifted by the Government of Mysore. The institute was funded personally by him and with donations from private sources.
WHEN HE EXPLAINED WHY THE SEA APPEARS BLUE AND WON NOBEL
The Committee for Physics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics to Professor CV Raman on December 10, 1930. The award was given for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the Raman effect.
While he won the Nobel for his work around light, he was originally an expert in the study of sound and vibrations and it was his trip to London that fascinated him about light. He was curious to understand the reason behind the deep blue colour of the Mediterranean sea during his 15-day return trip aboard SS Narkunda.
While the reason behind the sky appearing blue was already explained by Lord Rayleigh, who had said that the blue colours of the sky and the reddish colouring that is observed at sunrise and sunset are caused by the diffusion of light owing to the fine dust or the particles of water in the atmosphere, Professor Raman was not impressed.
He was the first director of the Indian Institute of Science in 1933.
Raman began his work to explain the phenomenon while at sea and when he reached India, he conclusively proved that the colour of the sea was due to the scattering of light by water molecules. “Raman investigated the universal character of the phenomenon by using a large number of substances as a scattering medium, and everywhere found the same effect,” the Nobel committee said.
When light meets particles that are smaller than the light’s wavelength, the light spreads in different directions. Professor Raman discovered that a small portion of the scattered light acquires other wavelengths than that of the original light. This is because some of the incoming photons’ energy can be transferred to a molecule, giving it a higher level of energy.
The Raman effect is one of the most difficult things to observe as only one in a million of the scattered light particles actually exhibits the change in wavelength. According to the effect, light cannot be emitted from or absorbed by material otherwise than in the form of definite amounts of energy or what is known as “light quanta”. Thus, the energy of light would possess a kind of atomic character.
The effect is used to study materials by chemists and physicists and is also used in telecommunications where lower-frequency photons are pumped to a high-frequency. It also finds use in the field of nanotechnology, in the study of low-frequency DNAs, remote sensing and analysing minerals.

About the Author

Vijay Garg

Vijay Garg

Vijay Garg is a regular contributor of Imphal Times, mostly related with Education. Vijay is a resident of Street Kour Chand MHR Malout-152107 Distt Sri Muktsar sahib Punjab. Vijay Garg, Ex.PES-1 is a retired Principal from Government Girls Sen Sec school Mandi Harji Ram Malout -152106 Punjab. He is also the author of Quantitative Aptitude, NTSE , NMMS, Mathematics of XII, ICSE numerical physics and chemistry many more books.

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