At just the age of 15, Sir CV Raman had completed his BA degree and won gold medals in English and Physics. And at 17 he received an MA degree while being a topper of his batch. Many of his college professors allowed him to skip classes as they knew he didn’t need them.
But what makes Raman a great scientist is not because he was a brilliant student but because he was extremely curious about the world around him.
One story that gives a peek into his ability to be curious is when he went on his first foreign trip to London as a part of the delegation from the University of Calcutta to the International Universities Congress in 1921.
While returning aboard a ship, looking at the Mediterranean waters, he found himself puzzled by the question – “A glass of water does not have any colour of its own. But the same water in the deep sea appears a brilliant blue. Why is this so?”
He immediately began performing elementary experiments using simple instruments he had with him on board. What he found was that the sea looks blue for the same reason the sky looks blue – water scattering the blue light more than other colours in the light.
As soon as he arrived in India he wrote to Nature (a premier journal) about his realisation. His letter to Nature bears the address not of his home or lab but of the harbour at which his ship docked, giving us a glimpse into the enthusiasm he had.
In the years that followed he conducted a series of experiments and 7 years later, in 1928, found the answer to the “scattering question”. His discovery was called the Raman Effect, which earned him a Nobel Prize, making him the first Asian to win this honour in any field of science.
Leaders who have the greatest impact display traits similar to Sir CV Raman. They are innately curious, not just about ideas and problem-solving, but also about people.
How can you use this story?
Instilling a culture of curiosity in your team helps foster better relationships within the company as well as with clients. However, people are sometimes hesitant to explore and learn new things. The hesitation arises from fear of failure, embarrassment or lack of control.
Leaders play a crucial role in infusing curiosity. Creating a path of learning can begin by encouraging people to ask questions and voice ideas. Honing curiosity is an absolute necessity to solve problems in today’s world. The story of Sir CV Raman can help people understand that being curious about the world around them can lead to significant breakthroughs.
About The Author
Vinod Krishna is a brand storytelling trainer and consultant at DustyPaths.
He brings 3 decades of experience in leading people, projects, and businesses
to forge new paths in storytelling, communication and leadership development.
He is an avid barefoot runner, trekker, theater artist, and photographer.
Connect with him on LinkedIn