By Newsgram Staff Writer
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi today gifted the German Chancellor Angela Merkel reproductions of some manuscripts and papers by Sir C V Raman who received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1930 for his work on scattering of light and whose life journey, even though he performed most of his studies and experiments in India, had a strong connection with Germany.
A major inspiration for C V Raman to pursue science as a career was the famous 19th century German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz. In a speech, he once compared von Helmholtz to Isaac Newton. Helmholtz’s famous book The Sensations of Tone motivated C V Raman to undertake a scientific study of acoustics of both Indian and western musical instruments.
Two of the scientists who nominated him for the Nobel Prize were the German physician Richard Pfeiffer and the German physicist Johannes Stark who had won the Nobel in 1919. The terms Raman Effect and Raman Spectrum themselves were coined in 1928 by a German physics professor at Berlin University, Dr Peter Pringsheim.
In 1928, Sir C V Raman invited Arnold Sommerfeld, the leading theoretical physicist in Germany, to lecture at the Calcutta University. There, Sommerfeld saw a demonstration of the Raman Effect and the two went on to form a lasting friendship. In 1933, Shri Raman took over as the Director of Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) where he invited several German scientists. These included George von Hevesy who went on to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1943. In 1935, Max Born, one of Germany’s leading theoretical physicists of that time (and, later, a Nobel Prize recipient), spent six months at the Institute.
The seeds of Indo-German research collaboration were sown in Raman’s time. Such collaboration has grown immensely over the years and now Germany is one of India’s leading partners in research. Modern laser technology and advances in techniques for the detection of scattered light have made Raman spectroscopy an important tool for the analysis of liquids, gases, and solids, and Raman’s work finds extensive application in diverse areas, including quantum chemistry – a field in which Chancellor Merkel holds a doctorate.