What happened on February 28: Here's why we celebrate National Science Day and also how the Gulf War ended

CV Raman was the first non-white individual to win the Nobel Prize in science and technology and it was for a discovery he made on this date. Also, wars do end. Just at great costs
Pic: Edexlive
Pic: Edexlive

Apart from being the day that provides you with the rude awakening that March is here already and that you're two full months into the new year already and all your new year's resolutions, have, as always, already died a premature death, February 28 was also the day that saw Indian physicist Dr CV Raman discover what has come to be known as the Raman Effect.

The discovery, which was made in 1928, won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year 1930. Apart from the colorful story behind that discovery, what you need to know about the Raman Effect is that it is the name given to the phenomenon of the change in the wavelength of light as a result of deflection when it passes through a transparent plane.

The Raman Effect has proved plenty useful in establishing the chemical composition and structure of matter, which helps provide a better understanding of various molecules and compounds. This also means that it can be used to verify the purity of chemicals and drugs, and identify counterfeits. It also finds its uses in space research, helping detect matter and minerals on planets such as Mars, and in fields such as geology, nanotechnology, life sciences, among others. 

Incidentally, India decided to commemorate this milestone discovery by observing National Science Day on February 28. That decision was taken by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) in 1986. The theme for this year is 'Integrated Approach in Science and Technology for Sustainable Future'.

How did the Gulf War end?
As our social media feeds fill with mentions of the start of one invasion and war, we're here to remind you of one that did end 31 years ago. However, it took a coalition of 35 nations, led by the United States, and six months to put the Gulf War to rest. In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, heralding that infamous war. Casualties were reported on both sides, and while Iraq lost 25,000 people, the coalition forces lost 378. Over 76,000 people were left wounded. Iraqi forces signed a ceasefire agreement after the coalition forces invaded Iraq to launch military action. Iraq officially retreated from Kuwait on this date. This was also the first war in the history of humankind to be televised live on news channels, thanks to the cameras attached to the armours of US personnel, causing it to be nicknamed the 'video game war'.

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