Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

(1910—1995) applied mathematician and astrophysicist

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Indian-born US astrophysicist, known for his discovery of the Chandrasekhar limit. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983.

Chandrasekhar was educated at the Presidency College, Madras, and moved shortly after graduating in 1930 to Cambridge, where he obtained his PhD in 1933. From 1936 to 1985 Chandrasekhar worked in the USA at the University of Chicago and the Yerkes Observatory, becoming a naturalized US citizen in 1953.

Chandrasekhar's work on stellar evolution centred round the distinction between stars that evolve into white dwarfs and those that become supernovas. In 1935 Chandrasekhar suggested that there was a limiting mass, now known as the Chandrasekhar limit, above which a star's temperature begins to rise, causing it to end its life in a supernova explosion. Chandrasekhar continued to work on stellar evolution, summarizing his work in Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure (1939). In the 1970s Chandrasekhar worked on the mathematical theory of black holes.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.