Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was an Indian-American astrophysicist who was born on October 19, 1910, in Lahore, British India (present-day Pakistan). He was known for his groundbreaking work on stars' evolution and structure, earning him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983. This article will delve into Chandrasekhar's early life, education, research, and awards.
Chandrasekhar was born into a Tamil-speaking family in Lahore, which was then a part of British India. His father, Chandrasekhara Subrahmanya Ayyar, was a civil servant who served in the Imperial Education Service, and his mother, Sita Lakshmi, was a homemaker. Chandrasekhar was the eldest of their ten children.
From a young age, Chandrasekhar showed a keen interest in science and mathematics. He was known to read popular science books and was also encouraged by his parents to pursue his interests. Chandrasekhar's family moved to Madras (now Chennai) when he was ten years old, and he attended the Hindu High School in Triplicane.
Chandrasekhar went on to pursue his undergraduate studies in physics at Presidency College in Madras. He later attended the University of Cambridge, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1933 at the age of 22. Chandrasekhar's doctoral thesis, which he wrote under the supervision of the British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington, was on the topic of stellar structure.
Chandrasekhar's research on stellar structure led to his famous discovery of the Chandrasekhar limit, which states that a white dwarf star cannot have a mass greater than 1.4 times that of the Sun. This discovery was significant because it explained why some stars collapsed into white dwarfs, while others continued to collapse into neutron stars or black holes.
Chandrasekhar went on to make significant contributions to the field of astrophysics throughout his career. He wrote several books, including "An Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure" and "Principles of Stellar Dynamics," which are still widely used in the field today. Chandrasekhar also served as the editor-in-chief of the Astrophysical Journal from 1952 to 1971.
Chandrasekhar's groundbreaking research earned him numerous awards and honors throughout his lifetime. In addition to the Nobel Prize in Physics, which he received in 1983, he was also awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1953, the National Medal of Science in 1966, and the Bruce Medal in 1974. Chandrasekhar was also a member of several prestigious scientific societies, including the Royal Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
Chandrasekhar's contributions to the field of astrophysics continue to influence researchers today. His work on stellar structure and the Chandrasekhar limit has been used to study everything from white dwarfs to supernovae. Chandrasekhar's legacy also extends beyond astrophysics; he was a vocal advocate for scientific education and was known for his efforts to promote science in developing countries.
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was a brilliant astrophysicist whose research on stellar structure and the Chandrasekhar limit continues to shape our understanding of the universe today. His contributions to the field of astrophysics have earned him numerous awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983. Chandrasekhar's legacy extends
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