Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Nobel scientist from Malleswaram

There was no major public function, processions, banners or buntings to herald the birth anniversary of one of  the greatest Indians. This man had settled in Bangalore and his contribution to the field of science is so immeasurable that even to this day he remains a beacon to budding scientists and researchers.
He also holds the distinction of being the handful of Indians to have won the Nobel Prize. Modest to the core and totally dedicated, he was a totally dedicated physicist. He is none other than our own C.V, Raman.
C.V. Raman was born on November 7, 1888 in Thiruvanaikaval, near Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu. His father was R Chandasekhara Iyer and mother  Parvati Ammal (Saptarshi Parvati).
Bangalore has a unique connection with this great scientist. His house Panchavati is in Malleswaram 8th Cross. It is on the same road as one of the most prestigious schools in Bangalore-the MES.
Panchavati was built more than a hundred years ago. Its first owner was Jagadeo Naik, a Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore. He built the house in 1903 and sold it to C.V, Raman.
The scientist appeared happy with the house and the only
additions he made during his long stay here was a pantry and kitchen in the rear of the house and a few small outhouses.
as in 1942 that Raman made Panchavati his permanent home when he joined the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).  
He retired from the IISc in 1944 and then set up the Raman Research Institute. He served as its director till his death in 1970.
Panchavati today is managed by the Raman Trust. Raman and his wife Lokasundari Ammal lived in this house. His wife passed away in 1980.
His Nobel Prize winning endeavour happened in 1921 when he was on a voyage to England.  When the ship was on the Mediterranean Sea, he closely observed that the waters was a darker shade of blue. This set him thinking and the result was Raman effect.
The Raman effect is a pioneering work on optics and dispersion of light. He found out why light changes colour when it passes through a transparent medium or platform. This medium could be solid, liquid or in gaseous form. This is called spectroscopy and Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.
Raman was a thorough Indian. He always was immaculately  dressed and  he always wore the Indian turban or peta.
The Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) on Kasturba Road in Bangalore had organised an exhibition titled ‘Laser’ to highlight the Raman Effect. Raman’s son V Radhakrishnan, an eminent astrophtcist, passed away in 2011.ct. Apart from other scientific and research institutions I do not know of any public function held in Bangalore to honour this great man.
Before ending this article, permit me a small digression.
Raman had an elder brother by name C.S Iyer.
Iyer was a renowned musicologist. He was also the father of  Dr. S. Chandrashekar, Nobel Laureate. He could play the violin in such a mesmerizing manner that Queen Elizebeth who heard him once was too struck for words to describe the performance.
Iyer was also the founder member of the Madras Music Academy. He has written several books on music.


  1. The day the "Raman Effect" was discovered by him, February 28th, is celebrated as National Science Day.
    ISRO conducts various science competitions - model making, quizzes, etc - on that day for students from various schools all over India.

  2. Sir C V Raman's residence is in Malleswaram 15th cross and not in 8th cross, as mentioned here.