Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (? Pronunciation / i) ( * October 19, 1910 in Lahore, British India; † August 21, 1995 in Chicago) was American ( astro ) physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics Indian origin. The Indian physicist CV Raman ( Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, 1888-1970 ) was his uncle.

Life and work

Chandrasekhar (called Chandra ) and his family moved to Madras 1918, where he attended college. Chandrasekhar 1930 left his native country and continued his studies of physics at Trinity College, Cambridge (England) continued what was possible due to a grant. In the 18 days at sea - from Madras to Southampton - Chandrasekhar wrote the History of Physics. At the age of 19 years calculated and he found the limiting mass for white dwarfs, the Chandrasekhar limit, after which the mass of a white dwarf can not be more than about 1.4 solar masses. The eminent astrophysicist Arthur Eddington at that time saw this in contradiction to its results and fought Chandrasekhar, not only scientifically, but also on a personal level. This was possibly one reason why Chandrasekhar in 1937 moved to the University of Chicago, where he remained until his death in 1995. Chandrasekhar received his doctorate in 1933 and was ( to his own surprise ) another scholarship at Trinity College. This enabled him to continue his work on the limit discovered by him and bring to a conclusion. In 1983 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his theoretical studies of the physical processes that are important for the structure and evolution of stars of importance."

Results of his research he put frequently monographs before, so the structure of the star 1939 ( "Introduction to the study of stellar structure" ), dynamics of stellar systems, 1943 Radiation transport in 1950, hydrodynamic stability 1961 rotation figures of liquids, 1969 ( " Ellipsoidal Figures of Equilibrium " ) or the mathematical theory of black holes in 1983.

In 1995 he published an edition of Newton's Principia, which he decorated with a detailed commentary - "Newton 's Principia for the Common Reader".


  • Plasma Physics, University of Chicago Press 1960
  • Ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, Yale University Press, 1967, Dover 1987
  • Hydrodynamic and hydro magnetic stability, Oxford, Clarendon Press 1961, Dover 1981
  • Principles of Stellar Dynamics, University of Chicago Press 1942, Dover 1960, 2005
  • Radiative Transfer, Oxford, Clarendon Press 1950, Dover 1960
  • Introduction to the study of stellar structure, University of Chicago Press 1939, Dover 1957
  • The mathematical theory of black holes, Oxford University Press, 1983, 1992
  • Eddington - the most distinguished astrophysicist of his time, Oxford University Press 1983
  • Newton 's Principia for the common reader, Oxford University Press 1995
  • Truth and beauty: aesthetics and motivation in science, University of Chicago Press 1987
  • Kameshwar C. Wali (Editor): A quest for perspectives: Selected Works of S. Chandrasekhar, 2 volumes, Imperial College Press / World Scientific 2001
  • Selected papers, 7 volumes, University of Chicago Press: Volume 1: Stellar structure and stellar atmospheres, 1989
  • Volume 2: Radiative transfer and negative ion of hydrogen, 1989
  • Volume 3: Stochastic, statistical, and hydro- magnetic problems in physics and astronomy, 1989
  • Volume 4: Plasma physics, hydrodynamic and hydro magnetic stability and applications of the tensor virial theorem, 1989
  • Volume 5: Relativistic astrophysics, 1990
  • Volume 7: The non radial oscillations of stars in general relativity and other writings, 1996