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New book explodes myth about cost of instruments used by Sir C V Raman

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New book explodes myth about cost of instruments used by Sir C V Raman

~By Dr Hardev Singh Virk

It is a part of folklore about Indian science that Sir C V Raman made his Nobel-prize winning discovery in 1928 using instruments which cost just a few hundred rupees. A new book by a science historian has busted this myth.

Dr Rajinder Singh, a well-known historian of science, in his new book titled C.V. Raman’s Laboratory and Discovery of the Raman Effect, has brought to light certain hidden aspects of the Nobel laureate’s life and work. This is Singh’s third book on Raman.

The book provides full account of how Raman and his students created and perpetuated myth that Raman Effect was discovered by spending just 200 to 500 Indian Rupees. The myth was floated and publicized in national newspapers (The Bharat Joyti, National Herald, Indian News Chronicle) in 1940s and in the memoirs written by Raman’s students. It was projected that the facilities available at the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science (IACS), Calcutta, where Raman did his experimental work, were poor.New book explodes myth about cost of instruments used by Sir C V Raman

In newspaper interviews Raman himself spoke about poor facilities available for Indian scientists. The cost of equipment used by Raman, as mentioned in newspaper articles, ranged between Rs 200 and Rs 500. Raman’s biographer and one of his former students, A. Jayaraman, wrote that “the equipment which Raman employed for the discovery was very simple and amounted to a total cost of 500 Rupees at the time.”

The new book provides a detailed list of instruments used by Raman with their cost. Their total cost has been worked out to be Rupees 7630, excluding money spent on chemicals, which cost a handsome amount those days. It details the circumstances and instruments used during discovery of Raman Effect step by step on the basis of the diary of his co-scientist K S Krishnan from February 16, 1928 onwards. The chapter is a compendium of instruments such as mercury lamps, light filters, spectroscopes and other accessories required for Raman’s investigations leading to his discovery and the Nobel Prize.

Raman started his research activity in 1907 at IACS and it included areas as diverse as acoustics, optics, X-rays, and crystallography. His research team included the best talent available in India, as shown in the book. The library of IACS subscribed to 100 popular scientific journals from Europe. Thus the research facilities were not only adequate but almost ‘unlimited’, according to the author. It was Raman’s dream to make IACS an international centre of research in India.

“Raman had a huge team of 36 trained researchers; well-equipped laboratories and workshops, and his own journal. Thus under these circumstances, it is wrong to tell that Raman worked under ‘poor’ conditions,” the book has pointed out.

In the chapter titled “Instruments for the Discovery of Raman Effect”, Singh laments that “as far as India is concerned, the history of scientific instruments is relatively unknown. Even the instruments ‘made’ or bought by renowned physicists like C V Raman, M N Saha and S N Bose have not been properly preserved”.

The book points out that Raman was in the habit of complaining about poor conditions, especially after his visits to European laboratories. In a letter written to the Registrar of Calcutta University, he boasted: “From the experience I have gained in travelling in different parts of the world and visiting the great centres where experimental research in physics is carried on, I can assert without hesitation that the facilities available to the Palit Professor of Physics for the carrying on his duties at the College of Science are miserable in the extreme.”

Besides the instruments used by Raman, the book provides an account of Raman’s general activities as a faculty member, his opponents at the University of Calcutta and the international honours received by him as Palit Professor.

Asutosh Mookerjee, an educationist and judge who later became Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University, was a staunch supporter of the scientist. Raman was made Palit Professor of Physics even when he had no foreign research degree equivalent to D.Sc and that too on his own terms and conditions against the rules of the University. However, Raman proved his worth by winning a Nobel Prize in 1930.

Raman was provided “Ghose Travelling Fellowship” under which he could visit most of the research laboratories in Europe, USA and Canada. He wrote a proposal for expanding his research activities after such visits which was rejected by the university. He wanted to change rules for Ph.D. registration but the University Senate did not approve the idea. Raman fully participated in university administration and accepted assignments in various academic bodies of the university. He preferred Bengali as medium of instruction over Sanskrit.

The most interesting section in the book talks about Raman’s so-called opponents at the university. In one instance, Raman annoyed J C Bose by offering higher salary to his trustworthy mechanic to uproot him from the Bose Institute. Raman was highly critical of research work of J C Bose and did not spare a moment to criticise him even after his death. The other scientists of the Calcutta School who did not see eye to eye with Raman were M N Saha, B S Guha, U N Brahmachari and Ganesh Prasad. The author has revealed his acumen to bring to light the reasons for the conflict between the dons of Calcutta University and Raman.

Ultimately, all opposition to Raman fizzled out after he got international honours as Palit Professor. He was conferred the Fellowship of Royal Society London, Knighthood of British Empire, and the highest award in Physics, the Nobel Prize. I want to finish my review with brilliant but somewhat sarcastic remarks of Arnab Ray Choudhury: “Raman as a scientist possessed many extraordinary qualities – brilliance of mind, astute intuition, dogged determination, tenacity, an almost unbelievable capacity for hard work – certainly modesty was not one of his qualities”. (India Science Wire)

About the book

Author: Rajinder Singh, University of Oldenburg, Germany

Publisher: Shaker Verlag GmbH, Aachen, Germany

Year of Publication: 2018; Price: 21.90 Euro; Pages: xvi + 153.

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WhatsApp to introduce Native File Sharing feature similar to Apple’s AirDrop

Users can choose to be visible to others without disclosing their phone numbers to people who are not their contacts.

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A Meta-owned messaging platform, WhatsApp is all set to introduce a new feature that allows Android users to share files with another user nearby. According to reports, the feature will be developed similar to Apple’s AirDrop.

The file sharing feature nearby is not currently available for beta testers. However, according to a report from WhatsApp feature tracker WABetaInfo, it seems that the feature will soon be introduced. The report reveals a screenshot that shows an option within the app stating, to share files with people nearby, along with a list of nearby users.

It is interesting to note that users can choose to be visible to others without disclosing their phone numbers to people who are not their contacts. In order to share files with other users, one needs to wait for nearby users to accept their request. The process involves a unique interaction, where nearby users can shake their device to receive incoming share requests. It is important to note that this feature is designed with end-to-end encryption to ensure user privacy.

In the upcoming update, WhatsApp is expected to introduce a nearby file-sharing feature. However, the current beta version for Android, which is 2.24.2.20, has addressed a camera issue. Some Android beta testers have reported difficulties in launching the camera within the app after the 2.24.2.13 update. Upon launching, users were presented with an error message that said, can’t start camera, please restart your device. This issue persisted even after restarting the device or relaunching the app.

The latest beta update of WhatsApp, located at 2.24.2.20, has fixed the camera bug. This allows users to launch the camera within the app and share photos and videos with their contacts without any interruptions. As WhatsApp continues its efforts to improve its features and address bugs, users can expect a better messaging experience on the platform.

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Meesho mega blockbuster sale: E-commerce platform to offer 80 percent discount on electronics

The e-commerce platform’s first mega blockbuster sale will sell more than 400 brands directly with the help of authorised partners on its digital store called Meesho Mall.

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Meesho online shopping app

Ahead of the festive season, e-commerce platform Meesho’s mega blockbuster sale is starting on Friday, October 6, 2023. The platform will provide a massive discount of up to 80 percent on different categories such as essentials, accessories, electronics, footwear, etc.

The blockbuster sale is scheduled to conclude on October 13, 2023. Notably, the Softbank backed e-commerce platform is starting its festive sale a day before Flipkart or Amazon’s festive sale goes live.  The e-commerce platform’s first mega blockbuster sale will sell more than 400 brands directly with the help of authorised partners on its digital store called Meesho Mall.

Reportedly, the platform also added over 50 lakh new customers during these sales. More than 75 percent of the demand was received from Tier-II cities, including Amravati, Aurangabad, Dehradun, Nellore, Solapur, and Warangal. The platform further claimed that they have added more than 2 lakh sellers in the past two years.

Recently, Meesho affirmed that  they have received over 10 million (approx) from its pre-festive sales during Onam, Raksha Bandhan, and Ganesh Chaturthi. The platform has more than 14 lakh sellers, selling approx 12 crore products in 30 different categories. 

In an effort to increase the seller base, the company announced the onboarding of non-GST sellers on the platform earlier this week. The GST council announced to permit the e-commerce platform to onboard sellers with turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh.

Prior to Meesho’s Mega Blockbuster Sale, the company introduced a loyalty programme during which eligible users will earn Smart Coins, which the user can redeem every time they make the purchase of any products on the platform. 

As per Redseer, over 140 million shoppers are likely to make purchases during the festive season. This will enhance the Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of the Indian e-commerce sector by 18 to 20 per cent and may touch Rs 90,000 crore as compared to Rs 76,000 crore last year.

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Apple launches iPhone 15 series, India price, features, availability  

The iPhone 15 series will be available in India from September 22 but iPhone lovers can also pre-order, starting from September 15 onwards.

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Apple launched its most anticipated iPhone 15 series, including the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max during the Wonderlust event globally on September 12 night.

The iPhone 15 series will be available in India from September 22 but iPhone lovers can also pre-order, starting from September 15 onwards.

People can buy a new iPhone 15 or upgrade it to the old one. There are five colours available for the people.  

According to reports, Apple has been manufacturing the iPhone 15 series in India and China. Apple has moved 7% of its iPhone production to India. Previously, India was not making the newest models. The Centre’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for smartphones played a part in Apple moving its production to India.

The new iPhone 15 has been launched with the same starting price as its prototype, the iPhone 14. The 128GB variant is priced at Rs 79,900, while the 256GB variant costs Rs 89,900. For people who need more storage, the 512GB variant is available for Rs 1,09,900.

This latest iPhone series puffs a 6.1-inch display and comes in five different colours which are pink, yellow, green, blue, and black. While the design remains the same as the previous models, the iPhone 15 features a dynamic island notch instead of the usual notch, which was highly popular among the iPhone 14 Pro phones.

The camera part of the iPhone series has undergone significant upgrades, the new iPhone 15, with an enhanced 48-megapixel primary sensor replaces the 12-megapixel dual camera system which was available in the previous iPhone 14. This significant improvement promises better low-light photography and portrait shots.

The tech giant announced that the iPhone 15 has an all-day battery life, making it more convenient for users to go about their daily activities without worrying about their phone’s battery.

The iPhone 15 Pro models feature a lighter body and thinner bezels. The new AirPods Pro with USB-C charging case will support Lossless Audio with Apple Vision Pro.

Additionally, the iPhone 15 is powered by Apple’s A16 bionic processor, an upgrade from the A15 bionic chipset used in the previous iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus models. The Pro models had the faster and better A16 chip, but now this feature is available in all iPhone 15 models.

The USB-C port on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus remain limited to lightning speeds up to 480 Mbps. The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max support USB 3 speeds up to 10 Gbps. People will need to buy a separate 1-meter Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable for Rs 5,724 or Rs 10,701 for the 1.8-meter cable to support faster speeds.

The dynamic island notch feature, which can adjust its size according to notifications, was widely discussed before the launch of the iPhone 15. This unique feature can now be available in all models of the phone.

Another important feature of the iPhone 15 is the shift to the USB Type C charging port. Apple has abandoned the lightning port in favour of the more commonly used USB Type C charging port. This means, there is no longer a need for a special iPhone charging cable to be carried around everywhere you go.

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