Venkataraman, G. Journey into light: life and science of C.V. Raman, Indian Academy of Sciences, 1989.

     This is a substantial biography of one of the best-known physicists of India. The first Nobel Prize-winning scientist from a non-Western tradition, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was a man of prodigious intellect and a remarkable combination of scientific creativity and traditional Indian values. During his long life (1888-1970) Raman not only produced significant scientific work but generated dynamic and productive schools of research in India through his countless pupils. He interacted with physicists from all over the world and initiated scientific journals and research centers in his native India. All this and more is told in a most interesting way in this informative biography (published on the occasion of the savant’s birth centennial). The book, by a practicing physicist, reflects sound scholarship and scientific knowledge, written in a very readable style. It includes mini-glimpses of some eminent Indian scientists (contemporaries of Raman), a popular and clear exposition of the Raman Effect and of the physics of sound and music (topics to which Raman made important contributions), some technical papers (which are perhaps appropriate, but inaccessible to those not trained in sophisticated physics), and a discussion of the famous Born-Raman controversy. There are also some insightful commentaries on Indian science. This book surely takes an important place in the literature of the history of physics.

October 9, 2013


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