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C. V.

Raman and Colonial Physics:

Acoustics and the Quantum
Somaditya Banerjee*
Presenting the social and historical context of Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, this paper
claries the nature and development of his work in early twentieth-century colonial India.
Ramans early fascination with acoustics became the basis of his later insights into the
nature of the light quantum. His work on light scattering played an important role in the
experimental verication of quantum mechanics. In general, Ramans worldview corrects
certain Orientalist stereotypes about scientic practice in Asia.
Key words: Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman; Raman effect; Quantum theory;
Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science; Indian Institute of Science;
Physics in India; Orientalism.
Speaking on the radio for the Indian public, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman
(18881970) remarked:
I think it will be readily conceded that the pursuit of science derives its motive
power from what is essentially a creative urge In doing this, the man of
science, like the exponents of other forms of art, subjects himself to a rigorous
discipline, the rules of which he has laid down for himself and which he calls
logic Intellectual beauty is indeed the highest kind of beauty. Science, in
other words, is a fusion of mans aesthetic and intellectual functions devoted to
the representation of nature. It is therefore the highest form of creative art.
Raman was a rst generation bhadralok** scientist whose experiments at the
Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) in Calcutta from 1922
onward led to his ground-breaking discovery in 1928 of the Raman effect, the
frequency-altering scattering of light by atomic systems for which he was awarded
a Nobel Prize in 1930, the rst non-Western scientist to be so honored.
* Somaditya Banerjee is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the Uni-
versity of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. He completed his doctorate in History of Science from
the University of British Columbia.
** A Bengali term denoting a well-mannered and educated man.
Phys. Perspect.
2014 Springer Basel
DOI 10.1007/s00016-014-0134-8
Physics in Perspective
historic achievement in the sphere of science served as an important political
symbol and a catalyst for Indian strivings for independence. Though Raman
manifested a variety of national consciousness that was different than his col-
leagues Satyendranath Bose and Meghnad Saha, his remark shows his scientic
worldview, which integrated concepts of artistic and intellectual beauty. Like the
changing patterns on a kaleidoscope, Ramans intellectual interests in science also
showed a gradual change, covering a broad spectrum.
As was also the case for his mentor, the physicist and plant physiologist Jaga-
dish Chandra Bose, Ramans major research interests changed over the years:
acoustics (19091920), optics and scattering of light (19201930), ultrasonic dif-
fraction and the application of Brillouin scattering to liquids and Raman scattering
to crystals (19301940), diamonds and vibrations of crystal lattices (19401950),
optics of minerals (19501960), and thereafter the physiology of vision. In the
course of his academic career, Raman published more than four hundred and
eighty research papers (as a single author and coauthored), many of which
appeared in the Indian Journal of Physics, which he founded in 1928. He also
trained a large number of research students, many of whom went on to hold
important portfolios in administration, academia, and politics.
Because Ramans early life up to 1928 and the reception of his work has been
discussed by Rajinder Singh some years ago in this journal, the present paper is a
social history of how Raman established himself as a key gure of Indian science in
the early twentieth century, especially how he sought meaningful connections
between a modern scientic worldview and the indigenous knowledge of India,
combining his attachment to European science with local intellectual traditions
into a particular brand of Indian modernity.
Specically, I will explore the events
that led to the discovery of the Raman effect by Raman and Kariamanikam
Srinivasa Krishnan at the IACS in Calcutta in February 1928. I shall argue that,
though the Raman effect has generally been seen as providing a strong evidence
for the quantum nature of light, he himself was initially a staunch supporter of the
classical wave theory. Ramans faith in the wave theory, I suggest, came from his
initial interest in the physics behind several Indian musical instruments. This study
will also put Ramans work in the context of the alternate dispersion theories,
especially those of Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, Paul Drude, Peter Debye, Arnold
Sommerfeld, Charles Galton Darwin, Karl Herzfeld, Adolf Smekal, as well as
scattering experiments by Rudolf Ladenburg and Fritz Reiche, culminating with
the dispersion theory of Hendrik A. Kramers.
Raman scattering played an important role in the experimental verication of
the quantum dispersion theory of Kramers, which formed a conceptual bridge
between Niels Bohrs and Arnold Sommerfelds old quantum theory and Wer-
ner Heisenbergs matrix mechanics. The scattering experiments of Russian
physicists Leonid Issakovich Mandelstam and Grigory Landsberg, done at around
the same time in 1928 as Raman, are also analyzed in this context. Finally, this
paper breaks from the tradition of hagiographic writings
on Raman and argues
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
that because he had strong networks in the international scientic community, he
became better known and more popular in India than Satyendranath Bose or
Meghnad Saha. The life trajectory of Raman also shows the multilayered nature of
Indian science and the subtleties that surround any consideration of science and
nationalism in early twentieth century India.
This becomes especially evident
when Ramans intellectual style is compared to those of Bose and Saha.
Biographical Comments
Born to a middle class bhadralok Brahmin family on November 7, 1888, in Ti-
ruchirapalli in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India, Raman was the second of
eight children. His father, R. Chandrasekaran Aiyar, accepted the post of lecturer
in mathematics and physics at the A. V. N. College in Vizagapatam when Raman
was aged three. Aiyar also excelled in playing Indian musical instruments. After
receiving the rst rank* in his bachelors degree in 1901, Raman was advised by his
teachers to go to England to compete for the Indian Civil Service (ICS) exami-
nation. When he failed the medical examination and the door to England was
closed, he felt relieved and remarked: I shall always be grateful to this man, the
medical ofcer.
It can be inferred from this remark that either Raman was very
much attached to his country and did not want to serve the British in the ICS or
perhaps had already developed academic interests.
Raman returned to Presidency College in Madras to do his masters degree in
physics, during which he attended very few lectures and devoted most of his time
to independent research focusing mostly on Indian musical instruments. In 1906,
he published a short paper in the British Philosophical Magazine that analyzed the
phenomenon of oblique diffraction using the wave theory of light.
Having care-
fully studied the double-slit diffraction pattern produced when light is normally
incident at the slits, Raman wondered what would happen when light struck the
slits obliquely. He came to the conclusion that when the incident angle was very
close to a right angle, the diffraction bands were no longer symmetric, as they
would have been in the case of normal incidence. He then performed simple
experiments to verify his conclusions. As Raman recalled later, he was able to
pursue such research because attending lectures was not mandatory.
After completing his masters degree in January 1907, Raman went to Calcutta
in eastern India, where he joined the Financial Civil Service as assistant accoun-
tant general. Though wanting to pursue a research career in physics, Raman saw
the utility of being in the administrative service. Such opportunities in adminis-
tration were open only to the British and those Indians who held British university
degrees, which Raman did not have. To pursue a research career in future and
make a living during the intervening period, he had to join the government service
after passing its entrance exam. Raman remarked, I took one look at all the
* Comparable to receiving rst-class honours in Britain at that time.
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
candidates who had assembled there and I knew I was going to stand rst, as he
indeed went on to do.
His self-condence, a marked trait of his character, turned
out to be well-founded in this case. Meanwhile, Raman also married a South
Indian woman named Lokasundari, a bhadramahila.*
Raman established contacts with the IACS,which had been founded in 1876 by
a noted Bengali bhadralok intellectual Mahendra Lal Sircar, a well-known medical
practitioner and philanthropist. Sircar saw scientic expertise and research as
important yardsticks for national awakening.
Because Calcutta offered more job
opportunities than other provinces, Raman decided to move there in 1907, which
coincided with the rise of the nationalist movement in the city following the
partition of Bengal by the British in 1905.
From 1907 until 1917, Raman spent his
days in the government ofce working as an assistant accountant and devoted his
mornings and nights to science. In this period as part-time clerk and part-time
researcher, Raman read Hermann von Helmholtzs The Sensations of Tone, which
had been translated into English by Alexander Ellis in 1885.
Raman considered
Helmholtz the most inspirational scientic gure; The Sensations of Tone greatly
inuenced his intellectual outlook.
Helmholtzs work was presented in a lucid
form especially for the convenience of music students and dealt with sound as a
sensation, offering many insights that apparently were unclear to Raman, such as
that harmony and quality of tone differ only in degree or that the scale best
adapted to melody is not adapted to harmony.
Wanting to explore the rami-
cations of Helmholtzian wave theories and interested in the aesthetics of art and
science, Raman decided to investigate the acoustics of Indian musical instruments
and check for himself whether the Helmholtzian doctrines of scale, harmony, and
melody worked for them, though he had difculty in getting access to proper
laboratory facilities.
In 1909, Raman was promoted to the rank of currency ofcer in seemingly far-
away Rangoon. Frustrated by the lack of scientic equipment, he turned to the
theory governing the Indian musical instrument ectara and wrote a theoretical
paper that was accepted by the Journal of the Indian Math Club.
Using basic
wave theory, Raman calculated the periodic variation of tension when the
vibrating wire has both ends xed. Raman determined that the pitch of the ectaras
note was twice the frequency of oscillations of the wire and then veried the result
experimentally. Likewise, Raman studied other musical instruments: the violin,
sitar, tambura, and the veena, analyzed their frequency response and found the
dependence of the production of various frequencies on the bowing pressure, the
normal modes of vibration, and various harmonics.
Ramans early fascination with acoustics became the basis for his later insights
into the nature of light. His attachment to the wave theory stemmed from his
initial interests in the physics behind Indian musical instruments like the ectara.
Raman remarked about music, stringed instruments, and culture in ancient India:
* Female analogue of a bhadralok.
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
Music, both vocal and instrumental, undoubtedly played an important part in
the cultural life of ancient India. Sanskrit literature, both secular and reli-
gious, makes numerous references to instruments of various kinds, and it is, I
believe, generally held by archaeologists that some of the earliest mentions
of such instruments to be found anywhere are those contained in the ancient
Sanskrit works. Certain it is that at a very early period in the history of the
country, the Hindus were acquainted with the use of stringed instruments
excited by plucking or bowing, with the transverse form of the ute, with
wind and reed instruments of different types and with percussion
Speaking about percussion instruments as a wave theorist, Raman appreciated the
vibrations of a circular stretched membrane and especially the myriad overtones
that are excited to produce a discordant effect. Raman noted that, though many
European percussion instruments are basically non-musical but can be tolerated in
large orchestras, Indian percussion instruments have varied, subtle acoustic
properties that drew him to delve deeper into Indian music.
Raman published thirty scientic papers during this period in such journals
as the Journal of the Indian Math Club, Nature, Philosophical Magazine, and
Physical Review.
As a consequence, he was offered the Palit Professorship of
Physics at Calcutta University in 1917 by Ashutosh Mukherjee, the Vice
Chancellor. Though Ramans new position came with a considerably lower
salary than his job as an accountant, he accepted it. Now he could devote more
time to teaching and research at Calcutta University and to experimental work
at the IACS. Ramaseshan, a student of Raman, noted that: 5.30 a.m. Raman
goes to the Association. Returns at 9.45 a.m., bathes, gulps his food in haste
and leaves for ofce, invariably by taxi [horse-drawn carriage] so that he might
not be late. At 5 p.m., Raman goes directly to the Association [IACS] on the
way back from work. Home at 9.30 or 10 p.m. Sundays, whole day at the
During that period, Raman also developed the odd habit of wearing a head-
band, though these were not customary in South India. Headbands or turbans, as
they are popularly called in India, are worn by people from the north, especially
the state of Punjab, parts of Rajasthan, and also the Kathiawari region in Gujarat
in the west. M. S. Swaminathan, one of Ramans contemporaries, recalled
Ramans ready wit when someone asked him why he wore a turban. Oh, if I did
not wear one, my head will swell. You all praise me so much and I need a turban to
contain my ego.
This story is yet another indication of Ramans eagerness to be
different. For Raman, the turban symbolized Indianness or a distinctiveness that
made him look different from his colleagues, both Indian and non-Indian
(gure 1).
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
En Route to the Raman Effect
From isolated Rangoon, Raman was glad to get a transfer to Calcutta, where he
joined the up-and-coming IACS in 1911. Ramans travels involved sea voyages
during which he spent considerable time pondering the sea and its colors. At the
IACS, Raman wanted to diversify his research portfolio, for which making the
transition from wave acoustics to optics made sense. The diversity of Ramans
interests in optics ranged from the visualizations of the sea to astronomical optics.
For example, he studied Saturn and gave two lectures on his observations of the
interference fringes and diffraction patterns of two light sources using the wave
theory of light. In 1912, Raman helped mount a telescope on the small wooden
observatory on the roof of the IACS and then studied Jupiters surface: I think
the problem of scattering of light by a planetary body is not altogether an easy one
and there may be room for further investigations here.
Hence, Ramans initial interests in acoustics and his research on the ectara and
Indian percussion instruments, using the wave theory, served as the background
for his later interests in light scattering at the IACS. As G. N. Ramachandran
The study of acoustics is intimately connected with the study of vibrations and
waves, and it is not surprising that Ramans interests passed from his early love
Fig. 1. Raman wearing his turban. Credit: Raman Research Institute.
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
for acoustics on to a life-long devotion to optics, the other great domain of
classical wave mechanics. In fact, if one may talk of a unifying trend in the
scientic work of Raman, it may be said to reside in the study of wave
While Raman was working in Calcutta at the IACS, he had only one assistant,
Ashutosh Dey (another bhadralok), who helped him set up and carry out exper-
iments. In the wake of the partition of Bengal, many Indians sought education as
part of the general movement for national improvement. The distinguished edu-
cator Ashutosh Mukherjee played an important role in this crucial period.
Mukherjees efforts led philanthropists like Taraknath Palit, Rashbehari Ghosh,
the Maharaja of Darbhanga, and the Maharaja of Khaira to open the University
College of Science (UCS) and subsequently endow chairs to be held by Indian
scientists. Raman made a name for himself in acoustics and astronomical optics; he
became a stalwart in the institutional milieu of the IACS. Despite that, he was not
the best choice for Mukherjee, compared to Jagadish Chandra Bose, who already
established himself as a celebrated scientist and a physics professor at Presidency
College in Calcutta.
Ramans position at the UCS also entailed teaching, which he longed to do.
He got involved in a conict with scientists from Bengal like J. C. Bose, who wrote
to the Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University complaining that Raman was
offering increased salaries to lure away J. C. Boses research assistants.
grievances against Raman were part of a larger problem in the history of Indian
science, the regionalism that identied him as a South Indian attempting to make
his way in Bengal (gure 2).
In 1914, Raman accepted appointment as Sir Taraknath Palit Professor of
Physics at Calcutta University.
Consequently, he resigned from his government
position, but due to the requirements of the Palit endowment could not join
immediately. The colonial government intervened, reluctant to fund endowed
chairs in India occupied by native Indians. By 1917, however, Raman was already
the Palit Professor. With a well-equipped lab and research grants to build
instruments, Raman started a new chapter in his life in optics and light scattering.
He also gained access to the labs at IACS, where he had worked part-time when
was a nancial clerk. A research group was beginning to grow around Raman in
Calcutta. As he earned nationwide fame for his research and teaching prowess in
Calcutta at UCS and IACS, several students came and joined his group from South
India (University of Madras), which included his key collaborator Kariamanikam
Srinivasa Krishnan and also K. R. Ramanathan, L.A. Ramdas, K. S. Rao, Sund-
eraraman, V. S. Tamma, Y. Venkataramayya, A. Ananthakrishnan, S.
Bhagavantam, A. S. Ganesan, C. Ramaswamy, S. S. M. Rao, S. Paramasivan, N.
S. Nagendra Nath, C. S. Venkateswaran and S. Venkateswaran, who became
Ramans research assistants.
Most of them, like Raman, not coincidentally were
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
South Indians, showing the pervasiveness of regional favoritism in Indian science
during the early twentieth century.
While at the IACS, Raman came into conict with Meghnad Saha, beginning in
1917, when Raman attempted to limit the membership of IACS only to South
Indians, creating problems for the Institute and other senior members like J.
C. Bose, Kedareswar Banerjee, Panchanon Das, and Manindra Nath Mitra, who
were not from the South.
As leader of this group opposing Raman, Saha
expressed his annoyance on several occasions regarding Ramans regionalistic
favoritism and was also apprehensive that Raman could jeopardize the future
prospects of Sahas students. Thus, he advised Pratap K. Kichlu, an upcoming
scientist from North India: When you submit [your] thesis for [the] DSc the
examiners ought to be Professor [Ralph H.] Fowler, Lord Rayleigh, and myself.
Do not allow Raman or [John W.] Nicholson to be put in
Raman also came into conict with the eminent Bengali mathematician D.
N. Mallik over an interpretation of Fermats Law in optics that Mallik published in
Raman objected that this statement of Dr. Mallik is most seriously in
He advised that Dr. Mallik should read Huyghens own statement of the
case in his original treatises on Light [Malliks] assumption is wholly unnec-
essary and leads to results which are quite meaningless.
This episode suggests
Ramans grasp in theoretical optics in his early days as a scientist, quite well read
Fig. 2. Ramans lone assistant at IACS: Ashutosh Dey. Credit: Raman Research Institute.
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
in classical optics including the works of Huygens. On the personal level, this
conict shows the commanding and dismissive tone Raman took towards a senior
Indian (Bengali) colleague like Mallik. While this incident shows Ramans fear-
lessness, it can also be interpreted as a growing regionalistic trend in his
personality even as a young man.
Though showing his mastery over theoretical topics in classical optics, Raman
wasted no time in planning an experimental research program. Now having a good
number of assistants, Raman consolidated his research program in Calcutta by
building instruments and probing the subtleties of wave optics to understand the
molecular basis of the macroscopic phenomenon of refraction. In 1919, he began
developing an interest in the molecular diffraction of light. With B. B. Ray, Raman
published a paper on a light scattering problem in which a beam of light was sent
through a solution in which sulphur suspension particles were formed. Here a
counterintuitive phenomenon was observed: The intensity of the transmitted light
decreased as the solution became gradually turbid, as seems intuitively under-
standable, but with further passage of time there was a gradual reappearance of
transmitted light passing through the suspension.
Raman tried to explain this
apparently strange phenomenon with the help of Fresnel and Huygens wave
theory by arguing that the reappearance of transmitted light occurs when the
growth in size of the suspension particles lead to forward scattering and inter-
ference in the forward direction. These studies formed the background for
Ramans later researches into light scattering.
In 1921, Raman had his rst opportunity to visit England and attend the
University Congress at Oxford as a representative of Calcutta University. When
Raman was transferred to Rangoon early in his life, he took a sea voyage during
which he pondered the optics of the sea in relation to his research experiences in
music and acoustics. On his return voyage from England, Raman further con-
templated the seas color.
Explaining it was a natural outgrowth of Ramans
initial interest in beauty, aesthetics, and the connections between art and science.
In 1899, Lord Rayleigh had explained the blue color of the sky by giving a scat-
tering formula for a gas, arguing further that the sea was blue because it reected
the color of the sky.
Rayleigh scattering involved scattered radiation having the
same frequency as the incident radiation. After having himself taken a long sea
voyage, Rayleigh argued that
the much admired dark blue of the deep sea has nothing to do with the colour of
water, but is simply the blue of the sky seen by reection. When the heavens are
overcast the water looks grey and leaden; and even when the clouding is partial,
the sea appears grey under the clouds, though elsewhere it may show colour. It
is remarkable that a fact so easy of observation is unknown to many even of
those who have written from a scientic point of view.
From his own experience, Rayleighs explanation of the color of the sea seemed
discordant to Raman, who noted that
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
observations made in this way in the deeper waters of the Mediterranean and
Red seas showed that the color, so far from being impoverished by suppression
of sky-reection, was wonderfully improved thereby It was abundantly clear
from the observations that the blue color of the deep seas is a distinct phe-
nomenon in itself, and not merely an effect due to reected sky-light The
question is: What is it that diffracts the light and makes its passage visible? An
interesting possibility that should be considered is that the diffracting particles
may, at least in part, be the molecules of the water themselves.
His reasoning also relied on the EinsteinSmoluchowski formula (1910) that
explained critical opalescence, the strong scattering of light by a medium near a
phase transition.* Einsteins key insight was that the phenomena of critical op-
alescence and the blue color of the sky, though not related to each other, were
both due to density uctuations caused by the molecular constitution of matter.
What happened to light scattering when the medium was not close to a phase
transition? How should one understand light scattering from solids? These and
similar problems attracted Raman and his associates. In 1922, Raman combined
his observations with photometric determinations of Matthew Luckiesh to argue
that molecular scattering of light in seawater explained its color, which then led
him to study light scattering in liquids and thence to the discovery of the Raman
In his work on light scattering in liquids, Raman studied density uctu-
ations in a uid and also the non-spherical nature of the molecules constituting the
uid. Performing experiments at the IACS with his collaborators, Raman found
that scattering from transparent liquids always contained some radiation of fre-
quency lower than that of the incident light, now called Raman scattering.
Ramans interests in light scattering from a liquid (19191927) culminated in the
celebrated Raman effect.
Building an International Image
Though Raman had a special fondness for India, his network of patrons led him to
think beyond the nation. As soon as he had a well-equipped laboratory with
logistical support and a research group, he started planning international trips.
Even while starting out as Palit Professor at UCS, he visited London to attend a
scientic meeting in 1924, now better placed than in 1921, when he was still
building up his reputation. He could travel undisturbed while his research groups
back home worked on the problems he had set for them. Receiving an invitation to
attend a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
(BAAS) in Canada, Ramans travels took him to North America for the rst time.
* Approaching the critical point in a phase transition, such as between gas and liquid states,
the sizes of the gas and liquid regions begin to uctuate; when the density uctuations
become comparable to the wavelength of impinging light, incoming light is scattered and the
previously transparent uid appears cloudy (opalescent).
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
In August 1924, he was in Toronto giving talks on his research at IACS on light
scattering. After his Canadian sojourn, he went to the Franklin Institute in Phil-
adelphia for its centenary celebrations. Robert Millikan invited him to visit
Caltech, where he stayed for three months. Here Raman remarked to astro-
physicist Svein Rosseland that his immediate scientic goal was to make a great
discovery and receive the Nobel Prize.
After leaving California, he visited
Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, returning to Calcutta in March 1925.
The 1920s were a very fertile period for the development of physics on a
transnational scale. In late 1922, Arthur Holly Compton calculated that (unlike in
classical electromagnetism) a quantum of radiation undergoes a discrete change in
wavelength when it experiences a billiard-ball collision with an electron at rest in
an atom, which his X-ray scattering experiments conrmed.
This phenomenon
provided an experimental proof for quanta and convinced most physicists of the
reality of light quanta. Yet these results were not universally accepted. The
Harvard physicist William Duane, for instance, expressed doubts regarding
Comptons results at the BAAS meeting in Toronto in 1924 that Raman atten-
Speaking at this meeting, Duane apparently in the end conceded to
Compton, according to the ambiguous account published in Nature, (gure 3):
Duane found that, with his apparatus, he was unable to nd evidence for the
existence of the effects observed by Compton. Compton, on the other hand,
could not repeat satisfactorily Duanes experiments. Each observer investigated
the apparatus used by the other and convinced himself of its trustworthiness
Duane found to his surprise that, in addition to the effects he had previously
observed, a new peak appeared in approximately the position observed by
Compton Prof. Raman made an eloquent appeal against a too hasty aban-
donment of the classical theory of scattering The fundamental difference
between the two theories remain; Duane uses only the well-established quan-
tum energy equation, while Compton in addition introduces the idea of
conservation of momentum in the interaction between radiator [sic] and
At this meeting, Raman took Compton to task: Compton, youre a very good
debater, but the truth isnt in you. This can be taken as evidence that Raman was
unmoved by Comptons arguments and continued to believe in waves.
he tried to downplay the Compton effect and its conceptual signicance, Comp-
tons insights at the Toronto debate were very much present in Ramans work on
light scattering, which he conceptualized as an optical analogue of the Compton
effect, remarking that its real signicance as a twin brother to the Compton
effect was clear to him by 1927.
Compton himself remarked that it was
probably the Toronto debate that led him to discover the Raman effect two years
In 1927, Ramanathan observed that when sunlight passed through a scattering
medium, a small fraction of light scattered with a change of frequency. All of
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
Ramans collaborators agreed that the mechanism producing the modied radia-
tion was uorescence primarily due to impurities in the scattering liquids (such as
benzene or glycene) acting as scattering centers. Attempts were made to purify the
material by distillation, yet the frequency-shifted radiation persisted. Ramanathan
called this radiation feeble uorescence, though it was polarized, whereas
uorescent radiation is not.
Furthermore, Raman performed experiments to
study this feeble uorescence, entailing a spectroscopic study that failed due to a
lack of a sufciently powerful light source. Hence, his research group repeated
these experiments in more detail from February 528, 1928 and concluded that
what Ramanathan called feeble uorescence was not uorescence at all, but a
form of modied scattering.
An obstacle in the way of speedy progress of Ramans scattering experiments
was the feebleness of his primary light source, sunlight ltered to select the parts of
the spectrum to be analyzed. Though a monochromatic source was needed to
isolate the frequency-shifted scattering, the introduction of any optical element
such as a prism or a phase retarder might have made the signal weaker. To
improve the intensity of the incident light, Raman acquired a seven-inch refracting
telescope, which in tandem with a lens with a small focal length could condense a
beam of sunlight into a high-intensity pencil of light. Using this, Raman and his
associates began to analyze the feeble uorescence in early 1928.
Explaining the Effect
The theoretical explanation of the Raman effect followed its experimental dis-
covery. According to current understanding, the Raman effect occurs when light
quanta of a certain frequency collides with the molecules of the liquid, either
giving up some energy or collecting some energy from it. The scattered radiation
Fig. 3. Raman with Compton in the center. Credit: Raman Research Institute.
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
includes both quanta of the same frequency as the incident light (Rayleigh scat-
tering), along with quanta of lower frequencies (Stokes terms) or higher
frequencies (anti-Stokes terms), illustrated in gures 4, 5 and 6. At the time, the
transitions with unchanged frequency were called coherent, those with changed
frequencies incoherent.*
The Rayleigh transition arises because of the polarizability of the molecule,
involving an excitation from the ground state to the excited state and a subsequent
de-excitation back to the original ground state, resulting in scattered radiation of
the same frequency as the incident one. Changes in polarizability (electric dipole
Fig. 4. Raman scattering. Credit: Andor Technology Ltd.
Fig. 5. Energy level diagram showing Rayleigh and Raman (Stokes and anti-Stokes) scattering.
The ground state and the excited states are shown as bands between which transitions are made.
Credit: Andor Technology Ltd.
* Note that the usage of the word coherent in the 1920s was slightly different than the
current use of the term, which refers more specically to phase coherence.
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
moment) during molecular motions are responsible for the Stokes and anti-Stokes
line and hence the Raman effect. The Stokes transition can be explained by saying
that there is an excitation at a particular frequency from the ground state and a
subsequent de-excitation to a state of lower frequency (increased wavelength)
than the initial. This implies that the scattered photon has a lower energy than of
the incident photon, as proposed by Adolf Smekal in 1923.
Smekal was a rm believer in Einsteins light quantum and suggested a corpus-
cular theory of dispersion. Smekal explained the anti-Stokes radiation by noting that
the exciting transition is already from an excited state, so that the subsequent de-
excitation is at a higher frequency and hence higher energy by the relation E = hm.
Because the transition starts out froma state in which sufcient vibrationally excited
molecules might not be present, the anti-Stokes line is therefore weaker than the
Stokes line (gure 6).
Classically, the Raman effect can be viewed as a perturba-
tion of the molecules electric eld; the frequency shifts of the scattered light give a
measure of the rotational or vibrational frequencies of the molecule.
The newspaper announcement regarding the discovery of the Raman effect
appeared on February 28, 1928 (gure 7) and also mentioned the Compton effect
as a radical breakthrough for light quanta.
Though Raman was inuenced by
Comptons work, as we have seen earlier, he tried to downplay its revolutionary
aspect, especially in the verication of light-quantum in the Toronto debate. In
fact, when Krishnan informed Raman in 1927 that Compton had been awarded the
Nobel Prize, Raman remarked If this is true of X-rays, it must be true of light
too We must pursue it and we are on the right lines. It must and shall be found.
The Nobel Prize must be won.
As I will argue, the meanings of light quanta
were quite different in India than in Europe; Ramans interpretive lens disclosed a
manifest ambiguity whether his effect can be explained semiclassically using
continuous wave theory or only using discontinuous light quanta.
Raman Effect and Quantum Physics
How did Raman account for his effect? In February 1928, he noted that X-ray
Compton scattering without change of frequency corresponded to the average
Fig. 6. Comparison of Rayleigh with Raman spectrum with its Stokes and anti-Stokes lines.
Credit: Andor Technology Ltd.
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
state of atoms and molecules, while the frequency-changing scattering represented
uctuations. Likewise, in the case of visible light there correspond two types of
scattering, one based on the normal optical properties of atoms and molecules and
the other representing the effect of uctuations. Hence, light scattering in general
is a conuence of thermodynamics, molecular physics, and the wave theory of
As argued above, Ramans predilection for the wave theory may have come
from his early association with Indian musical instruments. Raman also re-derived
the Compton shift in 1928 using classical theory, analogizing it to the Doppler
effect, another example of Ramans faith in the wave theory. There is, however,
some ambivalence in his understanding of this novel effect, reected in his remark
on March 16, 1928, at a lecture in Bangalore. In quite a cavalier fashion, Raman at
this lecture tried to explain the effect using light quanta and seemed to be aware of
the theoretical underpinnings as contemplated in the KramersHeisenberg the-
ory of dispersion.
Fig. 7. First newspaper announcement of the discovery of the Raman effect. Credit: Raman
Research Institute.
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
Here, Raman seems to mean a light quantum as a quantity of energy in the
form of classical radiation, as Bohr also seems to imply in his 1913 paper.
so, Ramans remark really does not mean that he subscribed to the notion of the
light quantum. There is some disagreement about this in the extant sources.
Rajinder Singh says, Well before Raman discovered the Raman effect, he
accepted the quantum nature of light.
However, Abha Sur claims that Raman
himself was a quintessential classical physicist certainly in his training and even
more so in his outlook.
Above all, this disagreement raises larger questions
about the Raman effects connections to the experimental verication of the new
formalisms of quantum mechanics that were emerging in Europe.
Quantum Dispersion and Matrix Mechanics: The Place of the Raman Effect
in the History of Quantum Physics
During the mid-1920s, physicists were grappling with the Rayleigh-like coherent
terms in the scattered radiation in old quantum theory.
In the classical Lorentz
Drude picture of dispersion, an electromagnetic wave of frequency m strikes a one-
dimensional simple harmonic oscillator with resonant frequency m
. What happens
next depends on whether or not m is close to m
. As long as m is far removed from
, one is in the regime of so-called normal dispersion; close to m
, one is in the
regime of anomalous dispersion.
In 1915, Peter Debye and Arnold Sommerfeld proposed a dispersion formula
similar to the classical LorentzDrude formula in the context of Bohrs new
quantum model of the atom. The resonances in the SommerfeldDebye formula
are at the orbital frequencies in the Bohr atom, yet the experimental data clearly
showed that these resonances should be at the radiation frequencies of the light,
which, in the Bohr model, differ sharply from the orbital frequencies of the atom.
In the early 1920s, several alternative dispersion theories addressed this problem.
In 1922, using light quanta, Charles Galton Darwin introduced a damping mech-
anism and argued that, though light from a single atom would have the orbital
frequency, the interference of an ensemble of waves led to scattered light waves
having the radiation frequency.
Unfortunately, conservation of energy only held
statistically in his model. Furthermore, Bohr pointed out that Darwins theory
failed for low-intensity light.
Meanwhile, Karl Herzfeld had suggested a mechanism for obtaining non-
coherent scattered radiation.
Using light quanta, Herzfeld argued that the sta-
tionary states allowed by the quantum conditions were not the only permissible
ones. Besides these, there were orbits of all sizes and shapes corresponding to all
values of the constants of integration, which resulted in a diffuse quantization
with indeterminate energy values. This was a variant of the work by Bohr and
Sommerfeld and their quantization condition. Hence, the orbits not obeying the
quantum conditions were assumed to have a very small a priori probability, so that
electrons could remain in them for about a femtosecond.
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
In 1923, Smekal described a new type of quantum transition from scattering
monochromatic radiation from atoms, which he called translational quantum
He argued that there existed a certain probability per unit time that
the atom struck by the radiation frequency m
passed from the state m to the state
n and changed its velocity of translation along with a change of frequency. Smekal
noted that, because of the change in direction of the radiation effected by them
[i.e., by the translational quantum transitions], we shall speak in the case about
normal dispersion (m = n) and about anomalous dispersion (m = n).
Note that
Smekal used the terms normal dispersion and anomalous dispersion in an
idiosyncratic way and that the distinction he made is usually labeled coherent
versus non-coherent. Smekals view opposed that held by Niels Bohr, who was a
stubborn supporter of the wave nature of radiation. This became important for the
later development of dispersion theory by Kramers and Heisenberg in 1925 and
later in 1928 when Raman and his associates made their discovery. It is however,
unknown when (if at all) Raman became aware of Smekals work, and how he
responded to it. It can be inferred that Ramans complete faith in wave theories
and natural distrust of the light quantum could have led him to ignore Smekals
Subsequently, Smekals paper was often quoted in the literature as indicating a
prediction of the Raman effect.
Ramdas, one of Ramans students at IACS,
commented in 1928 that Smekals paper did not appear to have been noticed by
any experimental physicist working in the eld of light scattering, including the
group working under Raman.
But Ramdas also noted that Kramers and Hei-
senberg took notice of Smekals idea and developed them in their 1925 treatment
of the quantum theory of scattering.
Kramers and Heisenberg, like Raman, used
only the wave theory of light and the experiments on dispersion by Rudolf La-
denburg and Fritz Reiche at Breslau.
Schro dinger remarked that the existence of
this remarkable kind of secondary radiation has not been demonstrated
The main object of Kramers and Heisenbergs paper was to
account for the non-coherent scattering suggested by Smekal without taking
recourse to light quanta and using only the wave theory.
The KramersHei-
senberg paper was also the rst systematic exposition of the new theory for
coherent scattering Kramers had presented in 1924.
The theory of dispersion by Kramers and Heisenberg replaced the unsatisfac-
tory SommerfeldDebye theory using Einsteins 1916 theory of emission and
absorption, Bohrs correspondence principle, and the work of Ladenburg and
Ladenburgs main contribution was to recognize that the oscillator
strengths corresponding to various transitions could all be interpreted in terms of
transition probabilities, as given by Einsteins 1916 theory.
For the excited state,
one needed two terms, which Kramers later derived. Ladenburg replaced the
numbers of oscillators in the classical LorentzDrude formula by transition
probabilities in the Bohr atom given by Einsteins emission and absorption coef-
Ladenburgs extensive experiments since 1908 on dispersion in gases had
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
convinced him that the resonances of the dispersion formula had to be at the
radiation frequencies, even though he and Reiche saw no way of deriving this
result from quantum theory.
In 1924, Kramers nally accomplished this task on the basis of Bohrs corre-
spondence principle. Kramers found that the formula suggested by Ladenburg
needed to be supplemented by a second term, which would only contribute
appreciably to the dispersion if a substantial fraction of the atoms were in an
excited state. In the late 1920s, Ladenburg and his collaborators tried unsuccess-
fully to verify experimentally this second term in the Kramers dispersion formula,
which the Raman effect then conrmed. As the physicist Francis Low puts it,
Raman found that light scattered by certain substances may have a slightly
changed color from the original light beam. This effect is hard to account for
according to nineteenth century physics, whereas it may be denitely predicted
on the basis of the new quantum theory, of which it is therefore an important
experimental conrmation.
In essence, Raman did associate his ndings of light scattering with Kramers
dispersion formula. Krishnans personal diary recorded the exchange of views
between Raman and his associates before the discovery of the Raman effect. The
diary entry on February 7, 1928 reveals that Raman was overjoyed by his exper-
imental ndings that morning and also realized how the modied scattering
corroborated the KramersHeisenberg effect.
Hence, it is evident that Raman was aware of the work of Kramers and Hei-
senberg. There is no evidence that Raman was aware of Smekals theoretical
insights in the early 1920s. Rajinder Singh, however, has argued both ways. In an
earlier paper, he argued that Raman used Kramers theory to interpret the
experimental results, but later Singh argued that Raman was unaware of the work
of Kramers and Heisenberg and remarks none of this theoretical work (of Kra-
mers and Heisenberg) exerted a direct inuence on the discovery of the Raman
This apparent uncertainty whether or not Raman was aware of earlier
theoretical work feeds into bigger questions of originality and recognition in the
history of science. While Raman might very well have been aware of the earlier
work of Kramers, as the diaries of Krishnan reveal, he tried to build an image that
showed the converse, especially in pursuit of the Nobel Prize.
Landsberg and Mandelstams Simultaneous Discovery and the Nobel Prize
of 1930
Often physicists and historians refer to the Nobel Prize as an index of a research
programs success and modernity. It has been recently argued that, as opposed to
the physics of principles (espoused by Einstein, Planck, and Bohr), the physics of
problems as practiced by the Sommerfeld school could make a strong claim to
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
have been the most successful research program for theoretical physics in the
twentieth century because at least eight Nobel laureates were associated with it.
The Nobel Prize is commonly seen as the nal authority to assess the success or
failure of a research program. This is, however, a highly reductionist view.
According to Robert Friedman, this stereotype overlooks the politics and the
hidden agendas associated with the prize. Friedman shows in his Politics of
Excellence how simplistic such stereotypical claims are about the Nobel Prize:
Without understanding the limitations and weaknesses of the process, the
recipients were afforded instant prestige as part of the Nobel cult.
Behind the
Nobel Prize given to Raman were factors that corroborate Friedmans argument in
this case.
Though the Raman effect was discovered in Calcutta on February 28, 1928, this
very phenomenon was also discovered in Moscow on February 21. There, a group
of Russian physicists including Grigory Samuilovich Landsberg and Leonid Isaa-
kovich Mandelstam had been working on similar scattering experiments to those
of Raman.
Unlike Raman, Landsberg and Mandelstam used quartz as their
scattering medium. Quartz was not as easy to nd as benzene or the other aro-
matic compounds that Raman used.
The basic motivation for Landsberg was the work by R. J. Strutt (the fourth
Baron Rayleigh), who studied light scattering in quartz and concluded that what
he had observed was not light scattered from quartz molecules but light reected
from false scattering centers. Landsberg took up this task of studying molecular
light scattering in a real crystal and proposed a criterion for the differentiation of
scattered light and reected light from false scattering centers. Mandelstam the-
oretically calculated the change in the light frequency; they published their results
on July 13, 1928.
Landsberg and Mandelstam argued that the non-Rayleigh modied scattering
terms were due to the interaction between the light and infrared molecular
vibrations. Immanuil L. Fabelinskii, a student of Mandelstam, reports that the rst
observations of his mentors were on February 21, 1928, a week before those of
Raman and his collaborators. Landsberg and Mandelstam, however, published
their work on July 13, 1928, a few months after their discovery. Apparently the
main reason for the delay was that Gurevich, a relative of Mandelstam, was
arrested and sentenced to death. As a consequence, Mandelstam took a break
from research to mitigate the death sentence. In the end, he succeeded in reversing
the death sentence; instead, Gurevich was exiled to the city of Vyatka. Hence,
Gurevichs life was saved at the expense of the publication of the innovative work
of Mandelstam and Landsberg.
Mandelstam wrote to physicist Orest Khvolson: We rst noted the appearance
of the new lines on February 21, 1928. On a negative from an experiment of
February 2324 (exposure time 15 h) the new lines were clearly visible.
elinskii argues that Landsberg and Mandelstam reported their discovery at the
beginning of August 1928 at the sixth Congress of the Association of Russian
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
Physicists. Twenty-one of the four hundred participants at the Congress were
foreign scientists, including Born, Brillouin, Darwin, Debye, Dirac, Phol, Prings-
heim, Philip Frank, and Scheel. Darwin wrote, Perhaps the most interesting work
is that of Prof. Mandelstam and Landsberg. The latter described how they had
independently discovered Ramans phenomenon, the scattering of light with
changed frequency.
Commenting on the identical nature of Ramans discovery
and that of Landsberg and Mandelstam, Born claried that these discoveries were
made independently and nearly simultaneously on February 20, 1928. Such
identical yet separate nature of discoveries, Born thought, showed the transna-
tional nature of science at that time.
In fact, two students of Raman, A.
Jayaraman and A. V. Ramdas, on his centenary wrote about this simultaneous
discovery as independently discovered by Landsberg and Mandelstam in calcite
and quartz crystals.
Though Mandelstam and Landsberg saw the novel scattering
phenomenon a week before Raman, the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 went to the
latter. One may try to nd out the reasons behind such an episode.
There were twenty-one nominations for the Nobel Prize in 1930 and Raman
was proposed ten times either as a single candidate or jointly with his collabora-
Because Raman established contacts with scientists in Germany, England,
France, Sweden, and North America, he was better known internationally than
Mandelstam and Landsberg. M. Siegbahn and C. W. Oseen, both members of the
Nobel physics committee in 1930, knew Raman personally. An interesting
exchange of letters in 19281929 between Raman and Niels Bohr summarizes the
story. In a letter to Bohr in 1928, Raman remarked:
The great kindness you have shown me in the past encourages me to make a
request of a personal character. As you know, my work on the new radiation
effect has been received with enthusiasm in scientic circles, and I feel sure that
if you give your inuential support, the Nobel Committee for physics may
recommend that the award for 1930 may go to India for the rst time. The
proposal for the award has to reach the Nobel Committee before 31 January
1930. I have greatly hesitated in writing to you about this, and it is only because
I felt sure that you sympathise with the scientic aspirations of India that I have
ventured to do so.
As a matter of fact, Bohr was inuenced by Ramans letter and extended his
support for him through his nomination, which played a key role in Raman getting
the prize (gure 8).
Arnold Sommerfeld was also visiting India in 1928, which coincided with
Ramans explorations in light scattering.
Sommerfeld repeated Ramans exper-
iments at the IACS and veried them. Through Sommerfeld, his colleagues in
Munich and Berlin came to be aware of Ramans work. Strangely enough, the
names of Mandelstam and Landsberg did not even gure in the Nobel acceptance
speech of Raman in 1930, though he refers twice to Bohr, who played an important
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
role in the prize process.
The previous quotation also shows Ramans fondness
for classical wave theories, of which Bohr was a radical supporter.
Given Ramans fondness for classical wave theories, had he eventually accepted
the quantum, it would have been a hesitant acceptance with the disclaimer that
classical theories were more fundamental so that, in the case of large quantum
numbers, according to Bohrs correspondence principle quantum calculations had
to agree with classical calculations. Though the new quantum mechanics of the the
mid-1920s was mostly a German phenomenon, its leading exponents, such as
Arnold Sommerfeld, were keenly interested in Ramans works in light scattering.
Sommerfeld and the Reception of Ramans Work in Germany: Orientalism
and Science
Sommerfeld was a great admirer and supporter of Indian physicists and their work.
He was attracted to J. C. Boses work in electrophysiology, Sahas work on stellar
spectra, Satyendranath Boses work on quantum statistics, and Ramans work on
light scattering. The Zeitschrift fu r Physik was the channel through which Som-
merfeld gained familiarity with the work of Indian physicists. Sommerfeld
requested Saha to give a lecture in Munich in 1921, and Saha obliged. Raman,
along with Saha, invited Sommerfeld to visit India and give lectures at the Uni-
versity of Calcutta. Sommerfeld visited India in 1928 after the discovery of the
Raman effect and gave talks mostly on atomic structure and wave mechanics in
Calcutta. While in India, Sommerfeld wrote an article that praised modern Indian
Fig. 8. Raman (second from right) with Niels Bohr to Ramans left. The others from the left are
George Gamow, Thomas Lauritsen, T. B. Rasmussen, and Oskar Klein. Credit: Niels Bohr
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
science and equated its quality to that of Europe and America. Sommerfeld
expressed special admiration for the discovery by Raman and for Sahas work in
The Raman effect, however, did not get a good reception within certain sec-
tions of the German physics community. Go ttingen physicist Otto Blumenthal,
Georg Goos at the University of Jena, and Richard Gans were all skeptical about
Ramans work. Gans in particular had a negative view about Indian scientists,
writing to Sommerfeld from Jena on May 14, 1928: Do you think that Ramans
work on the optical Compton effect in liquids is reliable? To repeat the experi-
ment is not a big task and most probably we are going to do it. The sharpness of
the scattered lines in liquids seems doubtful to me.
Goos based his ideas on an
unsuccessful repetition of the Raman effect at the University of Munich. As Singh
noted, Gans had a negative opinion about Indian scientists and had a skeptical
attitude towards the quality of publications by Indian physicists and also told
Sommerfeld that Indian physicists are not reliable.
On June 9, 1928, Sommerfeld wrote to Joos that in my opinion Raman is
correct and important. He writes to me, that the difference between the lines is
exactly equal to the infra-red frequencies of the molecules under consideration.
Thus, Sommerfelds response to Indian science provides an alternate perspective
that reconstructed the socio-scientic image of India as not exclusively spiritual
but also scientic. Following Raman, one can infer that Indian science did not
follow the Western trajectory to modernity, but an alternate path that encom-
passed ideas about the human spirit, the virtues of human endeavor and
achievement, and a search for truth for its own sake. Raman himself thought that
in my case strangely enough it was not the love of science, nor the love of
Nature, but an abstract idealization, the belief in the value of the Human Spirit
and the virtue of Human Endeavor and Achievement. When I read Edwin
Arnolds classic The Light of Asia, I was moved by the story of the Buddhas
great renunciation, of his search for truth, and of his nal enlightenment. It
showed me that the capacity for renunciation in the pursuit of exalted aims is
the very essence of human greatness.
This is striking because Raman was moved by a Western account of Oriental
wisdom, showing the contradictory nature of his personality; he seemed to have
developed an aversion for the British and yet was fond of other Europeans like
Sommerfeld and Arnold (British though he was). Ramans quotation and his
scientic work also puts in question certain stereotypes opposing Oriental to
Western thought.
If, as Singh asserts, Gans was prejudiced against Indian scientists, the contro-
versy among German physicists about Ramans work may have involved their
various preconceptions about Oriental science.
In my view, the dening
characteristic of Raman was that, even though he was a major harbinger of
modernity in Indian society, he tended to reject the Oriental stereotypes in the
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
West that would separate and oppose modern science to traditional Oriental
knowledge. Upon his return to Calcutta after receiving the Nobel Prize, Lady
Raman remarked about her husband, he has sought to dispel the notions in
Europe that India was rather too Spiritual.
Ramans interests in Indian clas-
sical musical instruments shows how he was bound to Indian tradition, yet his light
scattering experiments advanced the most modern European science.
Raman vacillated between tradition and modernity, but his characteristic
approach combined them. Before his discovery of the Raman effect in 1928,
he re-derived the Compton scattering wavelength using wave theory.
Ramans attitudes about the traditional and the modern were ambivalent,
even contradictory. His apparently strange outlook espoused a methodology
that broke away from negative stereotypes about Oriental science and
instead adopted a variant of what Richard G. Fox has called afrmative
By this, Fox suggests that Orientalist narratives were appro-
priated by Indian intellectuals and applied in such a way as to undercut the
colonialist agenda. Hence, such narratives did not operate in straightforward
and orderly fashions but illustrate some of the ambiguities of colonial physics
in early twentieth century India.
Ramans extensive institutional, personal, and pedagogical networks were
similar to those of Western scientists, yet he developed them while working
in a colonized, non-Western nation. Then too, in contrast to Orientalistic
assumptions of Eastern inferiority, several Western scientists such as Som-
merfeld helped recongure myths about the East by highlighting the scientic
achievements of Raman and other scientists of his generation who were
working in the Orient. Sommerfeld convinced his colleagues in Germany of
the authenticity of Ramans works, especially after his visit to India. Som-
merfelds India visit paved the way for several collaborations between
physicists at the University of Calcutta and Sommerfelds Munich school.
Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, a graduate student in Calcutta University was
awarded the Zeiss scholarship by the Deutsche Akademie to do research at
Munich. Several Indian students from Calcutta studied at the University of
Munich under the guidance of Sommerfeld, Walther Gerlach, Thierfelder,
and Schmauss, the noted meteorologist. Sommerfeld received the honorary
degree DSc from the University of Calcutta in 1928.
Raman himself visited Munich as a Nobel Laureate in 1930. In 1934,
when he became the director of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc),
Sommerfeld recommended one of his students named Ludwig Hopf, who
happened to be a Jewish refugee, to teach at the IISc. Ramans endeavor
was instrumental in the creation of a special readership in theoretical
physics at IISc from October 1935 to March 1936, which went to the Jewish
scientist Max Born, seeking refuge after his dismissal from the University
of Go ttingen.
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
Between Nationalism and Regionalism
Robert Anderson has argued that, while the national scientic community was
developing during the 1930s, communications among Indian scientists of different
regions increased considerably. Researchers were interacting with each other
frequently on a regional and national basis, travel by train was slightly easier and
more frequent, the postal and telegraphic system was improving, and opportunities
arose for both status and power that were not just local in character.
In this way, Indian science started having a conglomeration of scientists from
different regions that went beyond the connes of regionalism. On the other hand,
regionalism played an important role in the IACS when Raman started roping in
South Indian scholars, notwithstanding the availability of qualied local candi-
dates. While at the IACS, Raman had occasional disagreements with Saha on the
issue of regionalism* in particular. As a result, scientists led by Saha expressed
their objections to this abject regionalism. Raman had conicts with Western
scientists as well. In the 1930s and 1940s, he was involved in a controversy con-
cerning crystal dynamics with Max Born, a leading physicist in Europe, which led
Born to remark Raman is a very able physicist, full of enthusiasm There is
really no other Indian physicist who is of his rank. [His] European intensity
alone would be enough to make Raman suspicious to the average Indian
It is, however, debatable whether Raman was a nationalist, but his personality
had a peculiar brand of sensitivity for his nation that can be seen from his
exchanges with some of the institutions and colleagues in the West. Speaking at
the convocation address to the students of Benaras Hindu University in 1926,
Raman remarked about his speeches while he was in Europe and emphasized the
importance of traditional centers of Indian learning like Kashi** and its con-
comitant institutional set-up there as the living embodiment of the aspirations of
new India.
Most importantly, Raman emphasized that the university should
aim not to grow bookworms but to train men to serve their country.
On May 15, 1924 Raman was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
According to Kameshwar Wali, about 1967 Raman became unhappy about an
article published in the London Times about the Nobel Laureate Fellows of the
Royal Society, which did not mention his name. Raman blamed the omission on
the Society and wrote to P. M. S. Blackett, the president of the Society at that
time, saying that unless he would be given a satisfactory explanation for this
omission, he would resign, which he did in March 1968 after Blacketts
Rajinder Singh, however, argues that there was no communication
between Blackett and Raman and there was also no such list of Fellows of the
* By regionalism is meant the regional prioritizing of ideas and agency, which is not racial
or religious in this context but more in the line of lobbying for recognition in a regionally
dependent way.
** A north Indian city also called Benaras on the banks of the river Ganges.
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
Royal Society who won a Nobel Prize published in the London Times between
1967 and 1968. Singh concludes, Ramans resignation remains a mystery.
Though this is an apparently strange episode, Raman had developed a special
sensitivity regarding his nation, a sense of national identity not atypical of scien-
tists in late colonial India. In an undated quote on how he felt having received the
Nobel Prize, Raman remarked:
When the Nobel award was announced I saw it as a personal triumph, an
achievement for me and my collaboratorsa recognition for a very remarkable
discovery, for reaching the goal I had pursued for seven years. But when I sat in
that crowded hall and I saw the sea of faces surrounding me, and I, the only
Indian, in my turban and closed coat, it dawned on me that I was really rep-
resenting my people and my country. I felt truly humble when I received the
Prize from King Gustav; it was a moment of great emotion but I could restrain
myself. Then I turned round and saw the British Union Jack under which I had
been sitting and it was then that I realized that my poor country, India, did not
even have a ag of her ownand it was this that triggered off my complete
Examining Ramans character closely, however, one can conclude that Ramans
nationalist inclinations about colonial India might have been a reason behind this
feeling. Hence, this act of Ramans resignation can also be viewed as a protest
against a seemingly discriminatory act on the part of the British. There is other
evidence, though, which shows that Raman was a difcult person to get along with
and also quite arrogant, which added a peculiar dimension to his character. Fab-
elinskii describes a personal incident in 1957, when Raman had visited Moscow to
receive the Lenin Peace Prize. Lecturing on the theory of solids, and getting
distracted by a remark by L. D. Landau, Raman started shouting, stamping his
feet, swinging his arms, insulting Landau and talking rot. At that point, Landau
left the lecture hall, to the utter astonishment of everyone present.
Furthermore, when C. G. Darwin expressed skepticism during a visit to
Ramans laboratories in 1935, Raman remarked, It is far easier to straighten the
tail of a dog than to try to convince an Englishman of the correctness of [ones]
As Raman pursued modern science in a colonial environment under
the British Raj, he might have developed a feeling of cynicism and a lack of
fondness towards the English in particular, as also revealed by his wearing a turban
to show his deance towards colonial rule. Yet despite such occasional disagree-
ments and seemingly quarrelsome behavior, one should not be hasty to categorize
Raman as abhadra or ungentlemanly. These odd episodes, in my judgment, do
not outweigh his success in his early days as a scientist at the IACS, where he
successfully built a group of early-career scholars leading to his Nobel prize
winning work, and his later move to Bangalore at the Indian Institute of Science
and the Raman Research Institute.
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
Raman showed a fondness for his nation that is harder to classify as nationalist
compared to the sentiments of Satyendranath Bose and Saha.
His nationalistic
sentiments were expressed through his emotions while accepting the Nobel Prize
in 1930 and his later resignation from the Royal Society; his symbolic gestures like
wearing an indigenous headgear projected an attitude that was nationalist but not
staunchly anticolonial.
Interestingly, his world-view resonated with those of the German Helmholtz,
the Briton Rayleigh, and the Dane Bohr. Raman combined European science,
such as the classical wave theories of Huygens, Fresnel, Helmholtz, and Rayleigh,
with local intellectual traditions of Indian music, fusing them into a specic brand
of Indian modernity that emerged in the case of the Raman effect. His early
fascination with acoustics became the basis of his later insights into the nature of
light, especially his ardent support for the wave theory of light and his ambivalent
outlook towards the quantum.
The career trajectory of Raman also shows the multilayered and mul-
tidimensional nature of Indian science. Not all Indian scientists thought
alike, and there were occasional disagreements between Raman and
J. C. Bose, Saha, and Mallik and even with Western scientists like Born
and Compton. I consider these differences as regionalism (on a local and
global scale): the regional prioritizing of traditions, personal networks, and
solidarities. In spite of utilizing plenty of opportunities available for sci-
entic research and teaching at the Calcutta University and the IACS,
Raman never identied himself as a scientist from Bengal. Most of his
associates were from South India, so that when he was offered a position at
the IISc in Bangalore in 1931, he was quick to take it and leave his
established position in Calcutta.
This paper also locates the Raman effect in the history of quantum mechanics
by putting his work on the dispersion of light in the context of the alternative
dispersion theories of LorentzDrude, DebyeSommerfeld, C. G. Darwin, Herz-
feld, Smekal, and the scattering experiments by Ladenburg and Reiche,
culminating in the dispersion theory of Kramers and Heisenberg. Raman scat-
tering played an important role in the verication of quantum mechanics by
conrming experimentally the second term of the KramersHeisenberg dispersion
Scientic image-building was also a matter of concern for Raman. For this
purpose, he made educational pilgrimages to Europe and North America where he
developed a dialogue with his Western colleagues such as Compton, Millikan,
Rosseland, Bohr, and Sommerfeld. These apparently scientic internationalist
gestures helped Raman win the Nobel Prize in 1930, though the Russian physicists
Mandelstam and Landsberg observed the novel scattering mechanism before
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
Finally, Ramans world-view recongured Orientalist stereotypes by presenting
his interest in science as a pursuit of truth for aesthetic and intellectual satisfaction.
More generally, science in India did not follow the Western trajectory to
modernity, but opened up an alternative path that encompassed ideas about
modernity along with Indian tradition.
I thank David Cassidy, Alexei Kojevnikov, Michel Janssen, Robert Brain, Sean
Quinlan, Daniel Kenneck, John Crepeau, Peter Pesic, Robert Crease, and Alexei
Pesic for suggestions and comments about this paper and mentoring help in
general. Thanks also goes to D. C. V. Mallik, Rajinder Singh, and Meera B. M. at
the Raman Research Institute, and Felicity Pors at the Niels Bohr Archive for
giving me access to the pictures used here. I acknowledge the support of the Ofce
of Research and Economic Development at the University of Idaho.
C.V. Raman, New Physics: Talks on Aspects of Science. (Freeport, New York: Books for
Libraries Press, 1951), 135142.
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1930/, accessed on January 10, 2012.
Rajinder Singh, C. V. Raman and the Discovery of the Raman Effect, Physics in Perspective 4
(2002), 399420
Peter Debye, Die Konstitution des Wasserstoff-molekuls, Sitzungsberichte der mathematisch-
physikalischen Klasse der Ko niglichen Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Mu nchen
(1915), 126. See also, Paul Drude, Lehrbuch der Optik (Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1900), English transl.:
The Theory of Optics. trans. C. R. Mann and R. A. Millikan (New York: Longmans, Green, 1902);
Arnold Sommerfeld, Die Drudesche Dispersionstheorie vom Standpunkte des Bohrschen
Modelles und die Konstitution von H
, O
, and N
, Annalen der Physik 53 (1917), 497550; K.
F. Herzfeld, Versuch einer quantenhaften Deutung der Dispersion, Zeitschrift fu r Physik 23
(1924), 341360; A. Smekal, Zur Quantentheorie der Dispersion, Die Naturwissenschaften 11
(1923), 873875; R. Ladenburg, Die quantentheoretische Dispersionsformel und ihre experi-
mentelle Pru fung, Die Naturwissenschaften 14 (1926), 12081213; F. Reiche, and W. Thomas
Uber die Zahl der Dispersionselektronen, die einem station aren Zustand zugeordnet sind,
Zeitschrift fu r Physik 34 (1925), 510525; H. A. Kramers, and W. Heisenberg, U

ber die Streuung

von Strahlung durch Atome, Zeitschrift fu r Physik 31 (1925) 681707, translated in B. L. van der
Waerden, ed., Sources of Quantum Mechanics (New York: Dover, 1968), 223252.
G. Venkataraman, Journey into Light: Life and Science of C. V Raman (New Delhi: Penguin
Books India Ltd., 1986); S. Ramaseshan, C. V. Raman: A Pictorial Biography. (Bangalore: The
Indian Academy of Sciences, 1988); Singh, Raman and the Discovery of the Raman Effect (ref.
3); Uma Parameswaran C. V. Raman: A Biography (New Delhi: Penguin Books 2011).
Pratik Chakrabarty, Western Science in Modern India: Metropolitan Methods, Colonial Practices
(Delhi, Permanent Black, 2004), 180210. Chakrabarty argues that science and nationalism
blended into a single project in early twentieth-century India, especially as seen in the works of
Jagadish Chandra Bose, who was a mentor of Raman in Calcutta.
Venkataraman, Journey into Light (ref. 5), 3.
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
C. V. Raman, Unsymmetrical Diffraction Bands Due to a Rectangular Aperture, Philo-
sophical Magazine 12, no. 6 (1906), 494498.
IACS Archives (see http://hdl.handle.net/10821/405, accessed April 26, 2014). Sircar also
established the Calcutta Journal of Medicine in 1868 and was an inuential populariser of Indian
science. See Gyan Prakash, Another Reason (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), 59.
Calcutta was the capital of British India from 1772 to 1911, when, because of the revolutionary
campaigns in the city, the capital was shifted to Delhi in the north.
A thoroughly revised and corrected edition, rendered conformable to the fourth and last
German edition of 1877, with numerous additional notes, and a new additional appendix bringing
down information to 1885 especially adapted to the use of musical students. The partition of
Bengal did not have any sustained impact on Raman; nothing in the archives shows otherwise. It
can be inferred that because Raman was from South India, far from Bengal, his response was not
atypical of South Indians.
Raman, Books That Have Inuenced Me: A Symposium (Madras: G. A. Natesan & Co., 1947),
Hermann von Helmholtz, On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of
Music, trans. Alexander J. Ellis (London: Longmans, Green and Co. 1885), 481484.
Raman, The Ectara, Journal of the Indian Math Club, 1909, 170175.
Sir Ashutosh Mookherji Silver Jubilee Volume (Calcutta: Calcutta University Press, 1922),
Ibid., 180185.
http://www.vigyanprasar.gov.in/scientists/cvraman/raman1.htm, accessed December 5, 2011.
Venkataraman, Journey into Light (ref. 5), 6.
http://www.thehindu.com/2006/06/21/stories/2006062107600200.htm, accessed March 5, 2007,
the online edition of one of Indias national newspapers, The Hindu. Ramans behavior can be
likened to Gandhi, an Indian nationalist who also used to wear a turban during his stay in South
Africa (between 1893 and 1914) as a form of deance toward the West and colonial authority. See
for example Ramachandra Guha, Gandhi Before India (New York: Knopf, 2014).
Report of Astronomical Society, April 1913. Parameswaran, Raman (ref. 5), 66.
G. N. Ramachandran, Professor RamanThe Artist-Scientist, Current Science 40 (1971), 212.
Singh, Raman and the discovery of the Raman effect (ref. 3).
Raman apparently offered three times higher salary than Bose did. See J. C. Bose to D.
P. Sarbadhikari, August 30, 1917 (private copy) as quoted in Singh, Raman and the discovery of
the Raman effect (ref. 3).
Parameswaram, Raman (ref. 5) 80.
Ibid., 94.
IACS online archives http://hdl.handle.net/10821/285, accessed January 6, 2012.
M. N. Saha to P. K. Kichlu, August 15, 1927, Nehru Archives (Saha papers), New Delhi.
D. N. Mallik, Fermats Law, Bulletin of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science 7
(1913), 14-16.
To keep Hamiltons Principle and Fermats Law consistent, Mallik argued that we must have
for light propagation, T V = Constant, where T is the kinetic energy and V the potential energy.
Calcutta Mathematical Society Archives, Kolkata, Doc B.1913. Raman argued that inside the
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
variational equation d $ (T V) dt = 0 one could add terms like a sin(nt) whose variation was zero
and hence showed the non-uniqueness of (T V).
Calcutta Mathematical Society Archives, Doc. B.1917.
Raman and Ray, On the Transmission Colours of Sulphur Suspensions. Proceedings of the
Royal Society of London A100 (1921), 102109. The strange reappearance of color was as follows:
at rst indigo, then blue, blue-green, greenish-yellow, and nally white.
Venkataraman, Journey into Light (ref. 5), 34.
The scattering coefcient was inversely proportional to the fourth power of wavelength; see for
example Rodney Loudon, The Quantum Theory of Light (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000),
Lord Rayleigh, Colours of Sea and Sky in his Scientic Papers (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1900), 5:540.
Raman, The colour of the sea, Nature 108 (1921), 367, responding to Rayleighs Colours of
Sea and Sky (ref. 35).
Einstein, Theorie der Opaleszenz von homogenen Flu ssigkeiten und Flu ssigkeitsgemischen in
der Na he des kritischen Zustandes. Annalen der Physik 33 (1910), 12751298. Using classical
electromagnetic theory, Einstein and Smoluchowski argued that the mean square uctuation in
density (and also the transverse scattering of light) increases near the critical temperature,
resulting in critical opalescence.
Raman, Transparency of Liquids and Colour of the Sea, Nature 110 (1922), 280.
His collaborators were K. R. Ramanathan (who joined Ramans lab in December 1921 from
South India and made important observations in 1923), Krishnan, Ramdas, Ganesan, Seshagiri
Rao, Venkateswaran, Kameswara Rao, Ramakrishsna Rao, and Ramachandra Rao.
Krishnan observed the same effect in scattered light of sixty-ve different puried liquids
leading to Ramans observation in glasses in late 1927. See Venkataraman, Journey into Light (ref.
5), 196-198.
Kameshwar Wali, Chandra: A Biography of S. Chandrasekhar, (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1990), 254.
Roger Stuewer, The Compton effect: Turning Point in Physics. (New York: Science History
Publications, 1975), 223234. The Compton effect gives a change of wavelength k
1 cos h where h is Plancks constant, c the speed of light, m
is the mass of the electron at
rest, h is the scattering angle.
Ibid., 249273.
Ibid., 268269.
Ibid., 268. Several physicists accepted the Compton effect, but were just as happy to consider
light as waves. For the relevance of this in the development of matrix mechanics see Anthony
Duncan and Michel Janssen, On the Verge of Umdeutung: John Van Vleck and the Corre-
spondence Principle, Archive for History of Exact Sciences 61 (2007), 553624.
Raman, A Classical Derivation of the Raman Effect. Indian Journal of Physics 3 (1929),
Marjorie Johnston, ed., The Cosmos of Arthur Holly Compton (New York: Knopf, 1967), 37.
This is a valuable resource that contains Comptons Personal Reminiscences, a selection of his
writings on scientic and non-scientic subjects, and a bibliography of his scientic writings.
C. V. Raman, A new radiation, Indian Journal of Physics 2 (1928), 387398.
Quoted by P. R. Pisharoty in C. V. Raman (New Delhi: Publications Division, 1982), 40-44.
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
D. C. V. Mallik and S. Chatterjee, Kariamanikkam Srinivasa Krishnan: His Life and Work
(Hyderabad: Universities Press, 2011), 81.
Adolf Smekal, Zur Quantentheorie der Dispersion, Die Naturwissenschaften 11 (1923),
Figure 6 also illustrates that the Stokes and anti-Stokes lines are equally displaced from the
Rayleigh line because in both cases one vibrational quantum of energy is gained or lost.
The announcement was in the Associated Press of India; RRI Archives Digital Repository,
Bangalore, http://hdl.handle.net/2289/3430, accessed October 4, 2012.
G. H. Keswani, Raman and His Effect, (New Delhi: National Book Trust 1980), 44.
RRI Archives Digital Repository, Bangalore, http://hdl.handle.net/2289/3430, accessed October
4, 2012.
Ibid., 396.
See Niels Bohr, I. On the constitution of atoms and molecules, Philosophical Magazine 26
(1913), 125.
Singh, Raman and the Discovery of the Raman Effect (ref. 3), 409.
Abha Sur, Aesthetics, Authority, and Control in an Indian Laboratory: The Raman-Born
Controversy on Lattice Dynamics, Isis 90 (1999), 2549.
In a 1980 videotaped lecture at Harvard entitled The Crisis of the Old Quantum Theory,
192225, Thomas Kuhn remarked about the Kramers-Heisenberg paper and their treatment of
the Smekal-Raman incoherent scattering terms that you get what you would now recognize as
cross-products terms in a matrix expansion and that is what inspired matrix mechanics. I thank
Michel Janssen for giving me access to this videotape.
John H. Van Vleck, Quantum Principles and Line Spectra (Washington, DC: National Research
Council, Bulletin of the National Research Council 10, Part 4, 1926), as cited in Duncan and
Janssen, On the Verge of Umdeutung (ref. 45), 623.
C. G. Darwin, A quantum theory of optical dispersion, Nature 110 (1922), 841842.
Herzfeld, Versuch einer quantenhaften Deutung der Dispersion, Zeitschrift fu r Physik 23
(1924), 341360.
See ref. 61.
Jagadish Mehra and Helmut Rechenberg, The Historical Development of Quantum Theory
(New York, Berlin: Springer, 2001), 6:354.
Smekal, Quantentheorie der Dispersion (ref. 51).
See, for example, K. W. F. Kohlrausch, Der Smekal-Raman-Effekt (Heidelberg: Springer, 1938).
Ramdas was also the rst to photograph the scattered spectrum successfully, as noted by R.
S. Krishnan and R. K. Shankar, Raman Effect: History of the Discovery, Journal of Raman
Spectroscopy 10 (1981), 18.
L. A. Ramdas, Raman Effect in Gases and Vapours, Indian Journal of Physics 3 (1928), 131.
Ladenburg had introduced one of two key ingredients needed for a satisfactory treatment of
dispersion in the old quantum theory: the emission and absorption coefcients of Einsteins
quantum theory of radiation. Ladenburg spent most of his career doing experiments on dispersion
in gases. See Duncan and Janssen On the Verge of Umdeutung (ref. 35).
Erwin Schro dinger, Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem, Annalen der Physik 81 (1926),
H. A. Kramers and W. Heisenberg, U

ber die Streuung von Strahlung durch Atome, Zeits-

chrift fu r Physik 31 (1925), 681707.
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
A. G. Shenstone, Ladenburg, Rudolf Walther in Charles Gillispie, ed., Dictionary of Scientic
biography (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1973), 7:552556.
Rudolf Ladenburg, Die quantentheoretische Deutung der Zahl der Dispersionselektronen,
Zeitschrift fu r Physik 4 (1921), 451468, translated in van der Waerden, Sources of Quantum
Mechanics (ref. 4), 139157. See also Duncan and Janssen, On the verge of Umdeutung (ref. 35).
J. H. Van Vleck,The absorption of radiation by multiply periodic orbits, and its relation to the
correspondence principle and the Rayeigh-Jeans law. Part I. Some extensions of the correspon-
dence principle, Physical Review 24 (1924), 330346, in van der Waerden, Sources of Quantum
Theory (ref. 4), 203222, at 219, eq. 17.
Francis Lows introduction to Raman, The New Physics (ref. 1).
IACS archives, Kolkata, Raman Correspondence File.
Singh, Raman and the Discovery of the Raman Effect (ref. 3), 14. See also Singh, Seventy
Years Ago: The Discovery of the Raman Effect as Seen From German Physicists, Current
Science 74 (1998), 11121115.
Suman Seth, Crafting the Quantum: Arnold Sommerfeld and the Practice of Theory, 18901926.
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010). Seth argues that, while the physics of principles was con-
cerned with subsuming all physical phenomena under a few abstracted, generalized axioms,
deanthropomorphized, dehistoricized, pure principles with very few references to experimental
data or to the application of the work, the physics of problems as espoused by the Sommerfeld
school was characterized by attempting to get a numerical answer that could be compared with
real-world engineering problems and extensive experimental data.
Robert Friedman, The Politics of Excellence: Behind the Nobel Prize in Science (New York:
Henry Holt and Company, 2001), 271.
They were trying to elucidate the ne structure of the Rayleigh line induced by modulation of
scattered light with Debye thermal waves. See I. L. Fabelinskii, The discovery of combination
scattering of light in Russia and India. Physics-Uspekhi 46 (2003), 11051112.
G. Landsberg and L. Mandelstam, Eine neue Erscheinung bei der Lichtzerstreuung in
Krystallen, Naturwissenschaften 16 (1928), 557558. See also Max Born and Emil Wolf, Principles
of Optics: Electromagnetic Theory of Propagation, Interference and Diffraction of Light (London:
Pergamon Press 1959), 1101.
William Evenson (personal communication) remarks that Mandelstam and Landsberg wanted
to reect on their results as to whether they had any more fundamental implications, as opposed to
publishing it very quickly like Raman. To this, the author wants to add that this reection might
have been due to the Russians unawareness of the work of Smekal and Kramers-Heisenberg.
I. L. Fabelinskii, Priority and the Raman Effect, Nature 343 (1990), 686.
C. G. Darwin, The Sixth Congress of Russian Physicists, Nature 122 (1928), 630.
Max Born, Fourth Russian Physicists Conference, Naturwissenschaften 16 (1928), 741.
A. Jayaraman and A. K. Ramdas, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Physics Today 41, no. 5
(1988), 5764, on 56.
See http://www.iisc.ernet.in/*currsci/nov10/articles33.htm, accessed May 16, 2007.
IISc Archives; see http://www.iisc.ernet.in/*currsci/nov10/articles33.htm, accessed May 16,
Rajinder Singh, Arnold Sommerfeld, The Supporter of Indian Physics in Germany, Current
Science 81 (2001), 14891494. Sommerfeld was in the United States for Comptons discovery and
coined the name Compton effect, for what otherwise might have been called the Debye effect or
Compton-Debye effect.
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1930/press.html, accessed February
12, 2013.
Arnold Sommerfeld, Indische Reiseeindru cke, Zeitwende 5 (1929) 289298.
Joos to Sommerfeld, May 14, 1928 (Deutsches Museum Mu nchen). See http://sommerfeld.
userweb.mwn.de/PersDat/02201.html, accessed May 2012. This phenomenon of ignoring the sci-
entic works of Indian physicists occurred not only in Germany but in England when
Satyendranath Bose sent his paper rederiving Plancks law from solely quantum theoretical
considerations to the Philosophical Magazine, which rst ignored it and then rejected it on the
grounds of not being sufciently original. See Somaditya Banerjee, Bhadralok Physics and the
Making of Modern Science in Colonial India, PhD diss., University of British Columbia (2013).
Singh, Arnold Sommerfeld (ref. 90).
Singh and Reiss, Seventy Year Ago (ref. 78).
S. Ramaseshan, The Portrait of a ScientistC. V. Raman, Current Science 57 (1988),
Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1979). See also Gyan Prakash, Writing Post-
Orientalist Histories of the Third World: Perspectives from Indian Historiography, in Mapping
Subaltern Studies and the Postcolonial, ed. Vinayak Chaturvedi (London: Verso, 2000), 163190.
http://hdl.handle.net/2289/270, accessed April 10, 2014.
Said argues that these stereotypes conrm the necessity of colonial government by asserting the
positional superiority of the West over the East. See Said, Orientalism (ref. 97), 35, and Leela
Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction (New York: Columbia University Press,
1998), 7480. Richard G. Fox, East of Said in Michael Sprinker, ed., Edward Said: A Critical
Reader, (New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 1993), 146151. The example of afrmative orientalism
that Fox uses is Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhis cultural nationalism.
Singh, Arnold Sommerfeld (ref. 90), 14891494. Not to be confused with Romesh Chandra
Majumdar, the eminent Indian historian.
During this time at IISc, Born got into a controversy with Raman over lattice dynamics. For in-
depth analysis of the Raman-Born controversy, see Sur, Aesthetics, Authority and Control (ref.
59): 2549.[AU: please give full citation]
Robert Anderson, Nucleus and Nation: Scientists, International Networks and Power in India.
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).
Max Born to Ernest Rutherford, October 22, 1936, Ernest Rutherford Papers, Rutherford-
Born Correspondence, Add. 7653: B297B306, Cambridge University Library. See also: Sur,
Aesthetics, Authority, and Control (ref. 59).
Parameswaran, Raman (ref. 5), 106.
Wali, Chandra (ref. 41), 253.
Singh, Raman and the Discovery of the Raman Effect (ref. 3), 11571158.
IACS archives Folder 3A: undated document on the birth centenary lecture by Ramaseshan on
Raman in 1988 and Silver Jubilee of the Raman Effect held at IACS Calcutta.
Fabelinskii, The discovery of combination scattering of light (ref. 81).
Sur, Aesthetics, Authority, and Control (ref. 59), 46.
The difference between Ramans nationalism and that of Bose and Saha can be viewed as part
of a larger theme of how Indian nationalism played out regionally, for example in Bengal versus
that in South India.
S. Banerjee Phys. Perspect.
Here I mean there is a distinction between nationalism and anticolonialism, which are subtly
different. See Ranajit Guha, A Subaltern Studies Reader, 19861995 (Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press 1997), 3544.
Department of History,
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3175
Moscow, ID 83844-3175, USA
e-mail: sbanerjee@uidaho.edu
C. V. Raman and Colonial Physics