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28th February, 2024 Science and Technology


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National Science Day in India is celebrated annually on February 28th to commemorate the discovery of the Raman effect by Sir C. V. Raman in 1928. This day serves as a platform to recognize the contributions of Indian scientists and to promote scientific temper and innovation across the country.


  • In 1986, the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) proposed to the Government of India to designate February 28th as National Science Day.
  • The event is celebrated in schools, colleges, universities, and research institutions to raise awareness about the importance of science and technology in our daily lives.
  • Over the years, National Science Day has been celebrated with various themes reflecting contemporary scientific issues and challenges.
  • Past themes have covered a wide range of topics, from environmental sustainability to gender equity in science.

National Science Day 2024 Theme: "Indigenous Technologies for Viksit Bharat"

  • The theme underscores the significance of indigenous technologies in fostering a self-reliant and advanced India, often referred to as "Viksit Bharat."
  • It highlights the achievements and potential of homegrown innovations across sectors such as aerospace, defence, healthcare, agriculture, and information technology.
  • Celebrating indigenous technologies promotes national pride, economic growth, job creation, and technological self-sufficiency.

About Sir C. V. Raman

  • Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, born on November 7, 1888, and passing away on November 21, 1970, was an illustrious Indian physicist.

Early Life and Education:

  • Raman was born to Tamil Brahmin parents and exhibited exceptional academic prowess from a young age.
  • He completed his secondary and higher secondary education at St Aloysius' Anglo-Indian High School, achieving remarkable results at the ages of 11 and 13, respectively.
  • His academic journey continued with distinction as he topped the bachelor's degree examination in physics from Presidency College at the age of 16.

Contributions to Science:

  • Raman's early research interests led to significant contributions in the fields of acoustics and optics, notably publishing his first research paper on the diffraction of light while still a graduate student.
  • Joining the Indian Finance Service in Calcutta at the age of 19 provided him with the opportunity to engage with the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), where he conducted independent research and made groundbreaking discoveries.
  • In 1917, he was appointed as the first Palit Professor of Physics at the Rajabazar Science College under the University of Calcutta, marking a pivotal moment in his career.
  • Raman's curiosity about the blue color of the Mediterranean Sea during a trip to Europe led him to challenge prevailing scientific explanations, ultimately leading to the discovery of the Raman effect in 1928.

Legacy and Impact:

  • The Raman effect, discovered on February 28, 1928, revolutionized the field of spectroscopy by revealing the phenomenon of light scattering in transparent materials.
  • Raman's contributions to science extended beyond his groundbreaking discovery, as evidenced by his founding of the Indian Journal of Physics in 1926 and the establishment of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1933.
  • His legacy lives on through the Raman Research Institute, founded in 1948, where he continued his research endeavors until his final days.

Raman's Contributions to the Science of Musical Sound

  • Sir C. V. Raman's scientific curiosity extended beyond the realm of physics to encompass the study of musical sound.
  • Inspired by Hermann von Helmholtz's seminal work, "The Sensations of Tone," Raman delved into the scientific basis of musical sounds, conducting prolific research between 1916 and 1921.
  • His investigations yielded valuable insights into the physics of sound production and propagation, particularly in the context of musical instruments.

Transverse Vibration of Bowed String Instruments:

  • Raman developed a comprehensive theory on the transverse vibration of bowed string instruments, based on the superposition of velocities.
  • This theoretical framework provided a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics involved in producing musical tones with instruments like violins and cellos.

Wolf Tone Studies:

  • Among his earliest studies was an investigation into the phenomenon of wolf tones in violins and cellos.
  • Raman's research shed light on the factors contributing to these undesirable acoustic anomalies, paving the way for potential solutions to mitigate their effects

Acoustics of Violin and Related Instruments:

  • Raman conducted extensive acoustical analyses of various violin and related instruments, including Indian stringed instruments.
  • His studies elucidated the harmonic characteristics and resonance patterns of these instruments, contributing to the understanding of their unique tonal qualities.

Experiments with Mechanically-Played Violins:

  • Raman explored the acoustic properties of mechanically-played violins, conducting experiments to investigate the sound production mechanisms and acoustic signatures of these instruments.

Study of Indian Drums:

  • Raman's research extended to the unique characteristics of Indian drums, particularly the tabla and mridangam.
  • His pioneering studies marked the first scientific investigations into the harmonic nature of Indian percussions, shedding light on their acoustic properties and playing techniques.

Whispering Gallery Experiment:

  • During a brief visit to England in 1921, Raman conducted experiments to study the propagation of sound in the Whispering Gallery of St Paul's Cathedral in London.
  • His observations of the unusual sound effects produced in this architectural marvel added to his understanding of sound wave dynamics and propagation.

Impact on Optics and Quantum Mechanics:

  • Raman's work on acoustics served as an important prelude to his later groundbreaking contributions to optics and quantum mechanics.
  • The experimental and conceptual foundations laid during his studies of musical sound enriched his subsequent research endeavors in these fields.

Raman's Discovery of the True Nature of the Blue Color of the Sea

  • Sir C. V. Raman's exploration into the realm of optics led him to investigate the phenomenon of light scattering, beginning in 1919.
  • One of his seminal discoveries in this field was the revelation of the true cause behind the blue color of seawater, which challenged existing scientific explanations.

Voyage and Contemplation:

  • During a voyage from England to India aboard the S.S. Narkunda in September 1921, Raman observed the captivating blue hue of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Intrigued by this phenomenon, he embarked on a scientific inquiry to unravel the underlying physics behind the coloration of seawater.

Experimental Setup:

  • Armed with simple optical equipment—a pocket-sized spectroscope and a Nicol prism—Raman conducted his observations of the seawater.
  • The use of the Nicol prism helped mitigate the influence of sunlight reflected by the water's surface, allowing for clearer observations.

Contradiction of Prevailing Explanation:

  • At the time, the prevailing explanation for the blue color of the sea, proposed by Lord Rayleigh in 1910, attributed it to the scattering of light by particles in the atmosphere.
  • According to Rayleigh's hypothesis, the deep blue color of the sea was merely the reflection of the blue sky.
  • However, Raman's observations contradicted this explanation, as he noted that the sea appeared even bluer than usual, challenging the conventional understanding.

Raman's Revelation:

  • Through his meticulous observations and experimental analysis, Raman concluded that the blue color of seawater was not solely a result of sky reflection, as proposed by Rayleigh.
  • Instead, he proposed a new explanation based on the scattering of light within the water itself, distinct from atmospheric scattering.
  • Raman's groundbreaking insight into the true nature of the blue color of the sea marked a significant departure from established scientific theories, challenging and expanding our understanding of optical phenomena.

Introduction to the Raman Effect

  • The Raman Effect, discovered by Sir C. V. Raman in 1928, is a phenomenon in which light undergoes inelastic scattering when interacting with matter.
  • Unlike regular scattering (Rayleigh scattering), where the frequency of scattered light remains unchanged, the Raman Effect involves a shift in the frequency of scattered light, revealing valuable information about the molecular structure of the sample.

Principles of the Raman Effect:

  • Photon-Molecule Interaction: When incident light interacts with molecules, some photons undergo elastic scattering (Rayleigh scattering), while others undergo inelastic scattering (Raman scattering).
  • Energy Exchange: In Raman scattering, the incident photon transfers energy to the molecule, causing it to vibrate. The scattered photon retains the difference in energy between the incident and scattered photons, resulting in a shifted frequency.
  • Vibrational Modes: The frequency shift in Raman scattering corresponds to the vibrational modes of the molecule, providing a unique "fingerprint" of its molecular structure.

Types of Raman Scattering:

  • Stokes Raman Scattering: In Stokes Raman scattering, the scattered light has lower frequency (longer wavelength) than the incident light, corresponding to energy loss by the molecule.
  • Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering: Anti-Stokes Raman scattering occurs when the scattered light has higher frequency (shorter wavelength) than the incident light, indicating energy gain by the molecule.

Experimental Setup and Techniques:

  • Laser Source: A monochromatic laser source is commonly used to provide a narrow wavelength range for excitation.
  • Sample Interaction: The sample is irradiated with laser light, and the scattered light is collected and analyzed.
  • Spectroscopic Analysis: Raman spectra are typically obtained using spectrometers equipped with diffraction gratings or interference filters to separate and analyze the scattered light.

Applications of the Raman Effect:

  • Molecular Identification: Raman spectroscopy is widely used for identifying and characterizing molecules in various fields, including chemistry, biology, and materials science.
  • Material Analysis: Raman spectroscopy provides insights into the composition, structure, and bonding of materials, making it valuable for materials analysis and quality control.
  • Biomedical Imaging: Raman spectroscopy can be utilized for non-destructive imaging of biological samples, offering potential applications in disease diagnosis and drug development.
  • Forensic Science: Raman spectroscopy is employed in forensic science for identifying substances, analyzing trace evidence, and investigating crime scenes.

Advantages and Challenges:

  • Advantages: Raman spectroscopy is non-destructive, requires minimal sample preparation, and offers high specificity for molecular identification.
  • Challenges: Weak Raman signals, fluorescence interference, and spectral complexity pose challenges in some applications, requiring advanced instrumentation and data analysis techniques.

Other Scientific Contributions of Sir C. V. Raman

  • Photon Spin: Raman's collaboration with Suri Bhagavantam led to the determination of photon spin, further corroborating quantum theory.
  • Raman-Nath Theory: His work with Nagendra Nath contributed to the theoretical understanding of acousto-optic effects, facilitating advancements in optical communication.
  • Crystal Dynamics and Optical Properties: Raman's investigations into crystal dynamics, diamond structures, and iridescent materials expanded our knowledge of material science and optics.


  • Nobel Laureate: Raman's groundbreaking discoveries earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930, making him the first Asian recipient of this prestigious award.
  • Bharat Ratna: He was honored with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, in 1954, recognizing his exceptional contributions to science.
  • Lenin Peace Prize: Raman's global impact was acknowledged with the Lenin Peace Prize in 1957, further cementing his legacy as a visionary scientist.


Q. The Raman Effect has revolutionized molecular spectroscopy, unlocking a wealth of molecular information with far-reaching implications. Critically Analyse. (150 words)