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Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar: Indian Nobel Winning Astrophyisist

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Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Who Was Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar?

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was an Indian astrophysicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars. He is best known for his work on the structure and evolution of stars, particularly his theory of black holes and his explanation of the final stages of evolution for stars like the Sun.

Chandrasekhar also made significant contributions to the fields of statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and astrophysics. He received many awards and honours for his scientific contributions, including the Nobel Prize, the National Medal of Science, and the Royal Society's Copley Medal.

Early Years

Chandrasekhar was born on October 19, 1910, in Lahore, British India (now Pakistan). He was the youngest of three brothers, and his family was well-educated and deeply interested in science and mathematics. Chandrasekhar received his early education in India and went on to study physics and mathematics at the University of Cambridge in England.

After completing his studies, Chandrasekhar returned to India and worked as a professor at the University of Calcutta. In 1937, he moved to the United States to work at the University of Chicago, where he spent the rest of his career.

Chandrasekhar's Discoveries and Achievements

Chandrasekhar's most significant contribution was his theory of black holes, which he developed in the 1930s. A black hole is a region of spacetime from which nothing, not even light, can escape. Chandrasekhar's theory explained how black holes form and the physical processes that govern their behaviour. His theory is now considered a fundamental part of our understanding of black holes and has been verified by numerous observations.

Chandrasekhar also made significant contributions to the fields of statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. He developed a theory of the statistical behaviour of gases, which is known as the Chandrasekhar limit. He also made important contributions to the understanding of the behaviour of white dwarf stars, which are the final stage of evolution for stars like the one in the very centre of our own solar system.

In recognition of his work on the structure and evolution of stars, Chandrasekhar was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983. He was the first astrophysicist to receive this prestigious award, and his contributions to the fields of physics and astrophysics have had a lasting impact.

What Is the Chandrasekhar Limit?

The Chandrasekhar limit is a theoretical limit on the mass of a white dwarf. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar developed a theory of the statistical behaviour of gases and used it to calculate the maximum mass that a white dwarf could have. The formula for the calculation is shown below.

Chandrasekhar Limit

Chandrasekhar Limit

According to Chandrasekhar's theory, the maximum mass of a white dwarf is approximately 1.4 solar masses, or about 1.4 times the mass of the Sun. This limit is based on the fact that the pressure of the electrons in the white dwarf must be sufficient to balance the gravitational forces acting on the star. If the mass of the white dwarf exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit, the gravitational forces will overwhelm the electron pressure and the star will collapse due to its own gravity.

The Chandrasekhar limit is an important concept in the field of astrophysics, as it helps to explain the final stages of stars. It also has important implications for the understanding of the formation and behaviour of white dwarfs, which are some of the oldest and most common objects in the universe.

Personal Life

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born on October 19, 1910, in Lahore, British India (now Pakistan). He was the youngest of three brothers, and his family was well-educated and deeply interested in science and mathematics.

Chandrasekhar was married to Lalitha Doraiswamy, and the couple had two children. He was deeply dedicated to his work and spent long hours in his laboratory, often working late into the night. Despite his busy schedule, he was a devoted husband and father and took great pride in his family.

In addition to his scientific pursuits, Chandrasekhar was also an avid reader and enjoyed reading books on a wide range of topics, including science, literature, and history. He was also an accomplished pianist and enjoyed playing the piano in his free time.

Death

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar died on August 21, 1995, at the age of 84. The cause of his death is not publicly known.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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