Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 09:15 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Mar 07, 2021 03:34 [IST]

Being apadartha (non-matter)!

KAMAL BARUAH

Managing troubled teens has become a difficult task for parents. We ain’t falling in the category of obedient son too. While we’re in late teens, all of us probably got a scolding from father for inattention to household chores. We remembered calling us apadartha (it means stupid) often but it is irrelevant if goes word by word. Researchers depicted Neanderthals a species of ancient humans that became extinct 40,000 years ago as primitive, stupid and brutish. Did we inherit a DNA sequence from Neanderthals? Or we have similar appearance / qualities in common with them. Those were indeed difficult time but we didn’t lose heart. We only realized latter in Pre University when our teacher had reminded telling apadartha wasn’t correct as it means non-matter in Physics.
Today we’re just reminiscing about our college days. We’re not just nonsense (non-matter) but definitely a matter as matter is the "stuff" that makes up the universe. Everything that takes up space and has mass is matter. All matter is made up of atoms, which are in turn made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. Only vacuum is the absence of matter. Things that are not matter are light, sound, heat, energy, gravity, time, a rainbow, love, happiness and the list is endless. Since we makeup a physical object, thereby it finally established from that theorem that we’re definitely a matter but not an apadartha (non-matter) in terms of science.   
We‘re young and madly in love with Advanced Physics Lab as we sat in the dark room giggling likes naughty backbenchers. Getting an accurate result in decimal was tough. Yet we tried a great deal of effort. The vibrations of sound and light fascinated us. As no light is allowed from outside, the dark room arrangements made after the light is switched off when experiments for practical are being done. Our dark room has sophisticated arrangements of Galvanometer, Sodium / Mercury Lamp and Scale Arrangement of Optical Setup Benches. We’re amazed to see the coupling of light from the laser into the USB Spectrometer where the excitation beam path is sketched. We’re enlightened to understand some ideas about Raman Scattering.
He was one of the most gifted minds of the 20th century, whose theory of Raman Effect played a crucial role in widening humanity’s understanding of the behaviour of light. Today National Science Day (28 Feb) is being celebrated to mark the discovery of the Raman Effect. Physicist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1988-1970) discovered it on 28 Feb, 1928 for he was honored Nobel Prize in 1930. It was the first Nobel in Physics for a non-white person and for an Indian scientist after Rabindranath Tagore in Literature 1913 for Gitanjali (Song Offerings).
There were many untold stories about Sir CV Raman. At the age of 13, he entered the Presidency College Madras, where his father was teaching Mathematics and Physics. Standing with a Gold Medal in Graduation, he also cleared Post-Graduation obtaining the highest distinctions in his only 19 years of age.  Scientific career was not the best possibilities then so he joined the Indian Finance Department for a living. He was confident of winning the Novel in 1930 that he booked tickets in July itself, even though the awards were to be announced in November.
The discovery was inspired from an incident while CV Raman was returning from London to Bombay in 1921, where he fascinated with the deep blue color of the Mediterranean Sea. It was not the sea that just reflected the colour of the sky as said by British scientist Lord Rayleigh’s theory. The Raman Effect is the process of scattering of sunlight particles by water molecules of a medium.  (Change in the wavelength of light that occurs when a light beam is deflected by molecules) This means that light refracted from the Mediterranean Sea or an iceberg, can appear to be of a different colour.
Science collides with our curiosity and imagination. Like Raman, Newton also shared the apple anecdote in his biography. Today I’ve written a memoir of my encounter for being non-matter over my teenage years. Isn’t that really a humorous account? Moreover I can’t denounce someone a non-matter (apadartha) to young learners as kids these days grow up in science-friendly e-homes. They are encouraged to think critically, experiment and explain their reasoning.  We seemed lacking in our days to explore it naturally. We would have spent more time at home helping our mother instead of playing all day football with friends. Our father was right. So perhaps we were non-matter (apadartha – stupid) until we grew up then.



Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi