On a mild Kolkata winter day in 1928, an Indian physicist called Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman and a colleague found that when a beam of light strikes a liquid, a small part of the light is scattered into a different colour. The scattering changes with the type of liquid. For this seminal discovery, Raman – who was confident enough to book a ticket to Sweden before the announcement – got the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930, the only Indian scientist to be so awarded. The discovery was made in a laboratory at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Kolkata.
Raman Effect led to the establishing of a new discipline, Raman spectroscopy, which has now become an influential tool for an extensive variety of precise investigations and business applications. Raman Effect, or Raman scattering, as the effect is also called, has been used to identify minerals, monitor manufacturing processes and detect diseases. It has played a significant role in the fields of spectroscopy, medical diagnostics and material characterisation. Even today, more than 85 years after the momentous discovery, there are so many across the globe extracting exciting new results using his discoveries. The impact of Raman's effect can be felt in every field of science.
In 1986, the National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), also called Rashtriya Vigyan Evam Prodoyogiki Sanchar Parishad, asked the government of India to designate February 28, the day Raman made his seminal discovery, as National Science Day. The day is now celebrated all over the country, in schools, colleges, universities and other academic, scientific, technical, medical and research institutions. On the occasion of the first National Science Day, on February 28, 1987, NCSTC announced the institution of the National Science Popularisation Awards for recognising outstanding efforts in the area of science communication and popularisation.
Every year, a theme is designated for National Science Day. The theme for 2015 is ‘Science for Nation Building.’
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