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BIO Magazine - The first Asian and first non-White to get any Nobel Prize in Science Δεκέμβριος 2015
Δεκέμβριος 2015 No38

BIO Biography

The first Asian and first non-White to get any Nobel Prize in Science
The first Asian and first non-White to get any Nobel Prize in Science

Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, (7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) was an Indian physicist and Nobel laureate in physics recognised for his work on the molecular scattering of light and for the discovery of the Raman effect.

On February 28, 1928, through his experiments on the scattering of light, he discovered the Raman effect ( the inelastic scattering of a photon). It was instantly clear that this discovery was an important one. It gave further proof of the quantum nature of light.

Raman was confident of winning the Nobel Prize in Physics, and was disappointed when the Nobel Prize went to Richardson in 1928 and to de Broglie in 1929.

He was so confident of winning the prize in 1930 that he booked tickets in July, even though the awards were to be announced in November, and would scan each day's newspaper for announcement of the prize, tossing it away if it did not carry the news. He did eventually win the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him".

Raman scattering or the Raman effect is the inelastic scattering of a photon. When light is scattered from an atom or molecule, most photons are elastically scattered, such that the scattered photons have the same energy (frequency) and wavelength as the incident photons. However, a small fraction of the scattered light (approximately 1 in 10 million photons) is scattered by an excitation, with the scattered photons having a frequency different from, and usually lower than, the frequency of the incident photons. In a gas, Raman scattering can occur with a change in vibrational, rotational or electronic energy of a molecule. Chemists are concerned primarily with the vibrational Raman effect.

He was the first Asian and first non-White to get any Nobel Prize in Science. Before him Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore (also Indian) had received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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