Here’s Why India Celebrates National Science Day on 28 Feb

What is the Raman Effect? 

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(This article was first published on 28 February 2018 and has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark the death anniversary of CV Raman.)

National Science Day is celebrated in India on 28 February. But, do you know why we celebrate it?

Iconic Indian physicist Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman, more commonly known as CV Raman, discovered something known to the world today as the Raman Effect — for which he went on to receive the Nobel Prize in physics in 1930.

National Science Day is celebrated to spread a message about the importance of science used in our daily lives. In most schools and educational institutions, students are invited to participate in science exhibitions, research demonstrations, debates and many more such activities.

CV Raman became the first Asian to receive the Nobel Prize in the field of science, and his theory has been used in the field of spectroscopy for the study and analysis of wide range of materials, including gases, liquids, and solids.

Though he discovered the Raman Effect on 28 February, it was made official on 16 March.

But, the big question! How did Mr. Raman come up with this discovery?

In 1921, CV Raman was on-board a ship and on his way home from London when a question struck him. Why is the sea really blue?

He wasn't convinced with the then existing notion that the sky was blue because of the colour of the sky. So, after much research and analysis in March 1928, he published a theory that came to be known as the Raman scattering, aka the Raman effect.

It may be difficult to explain the Raman Effect in a simple way (pstt: I was never a science student), but it talks about how the make up of different molecules is responsible for each object’s colour - including the sky, the sea, and everything you see.

Today, this theory is used in the field of spectroscopy to find the structural fingerprints of different molecules.

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
Camera Person: Abhay Sharma

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