Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman
Born: 7 November 1888, Tiruchirappalli, India
Died: 21 November 1970, Bangalore, India
Affiliation at the time of the award: Calcutta University, Calcutta, India
Prize motivation: "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him."
Prize share: 1/1
When light meets particles that are smaller than the light's wavelength, the light spreads in different directions. This occurs, for example, when light packets - photons - encounter molecules in a gas. In 1928 Venkata Raman discovered that a small portion of the scattered light acquires other wavelengths than that of the original light. This is because some of the incoming photons' energy can be transferred to a molecule, giving it a higher level of energy. Among other things, the phenomenon is used to analyze different types of material.