The Prime Minister’s Office in a release said that a major inspiration for Sir C.V. Raman to pursue science as a career was famous 19th-century German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz.
It also referred to Merkel’s background in quantum chemistry, an area in which Raman’s work finds extensive application.
“Modern laser technology and advances in techniques for the detection of scattered light have made Raman spectroscopy an important tool for the analysis of liquids, gases, and solids, and Raman’s work finds extensive application in diverse areas, including quantum chemistry – a field in which Chancellor Merkel holds a doctorate,” the release said.
Recipient of Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930 for his work on scattering of light, Raman’s life journey had a strong connection with Germany.
“In a speech, he once compared von Helmholtz to Isaac Newton. Helmholtz’s famous book ‘The Sensations of Tone’ motivated C.V. Raman to undertake a scientific study of acoustics of both Indian and western musical instruments,” the release said.
It noted that the two scientists who nominated Raman for the Nobel prize were German physician Richard Pfeiffer and German physicist Johannes Stark, who had won the Nobel in 1919, while the terms “Raman Effect” and “Raman Spectrum” themselves were coined in 1928 by Peter Pringsheim, a physics professor at Berlin University.
“The seeds of Indo-German research collaboration were sown in Raman’s time. Such collaboration has grown immensely over the years and now Germany is one of India’s leading partners in research,” it said.
Raman had also invited Arnold Sommerfeld, the leading theoretical physicist in Germany, to lecture at the Calcutta University in 1928, it said.
“There, Sommerfeld saw a demonstration of the Raman Effect and the two went on to form a lasting friendship.”
In 1933, Raman took over as the director of Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore where he invited several German scientists to visit.
These included George von Hevesy who went on to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1943. In 1935, Max Born, one of Germany’s leading theoretical physicists of that time (and, later, a Nobel Prize recipient), spent six months at the institute.