Published: Thu, October 19, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Google Doodle celebrates birthday of legendary astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Google Doodle celebrates birthday of legendary astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Google Doodle on Thursday celebrated the 107th birthday of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the first astrophysicist to have won a Nobel Prize for his theory on the evolution of stars.

Born in 1910 in Lahore, India Chandrasekhar studied a variety of physical problems in his lifetime which contributed to our understanding of stellar structure, white dwarfs, stellar dynamics, stochastic process, radiative transfer and quantum theory.

While working as a researcher at the University of Cambridge, he developed a theory which came to be known as the "Chandrasekhar Limit", which determined that not all stars would become unstable and collapse in on themselves to turn into white dwarfs.

According to the Open University, English astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington persuaded Chandrasekhar to present his findings at the Royal Astronomical Society in London on January 11, 1935. In the year 1983, Chandrasekhar won the esteemed Nobel Prize in Physics for his extraordinary work in the field.

The India-born US astrophysicist, who is known for his theory of white dwarfs, studied in Presidency College, Madras and, later, in Cambridge before moving to the U.S.in 1936.

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He determined that any star remnants 1.4 times more massive than our sun would be too massive to form a stable white dwarf. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was a Nobel Prize victor for Physics.

Chandrasekhar's most notable work was the astrophysical Chandrasekhar limit. The result is now defined as either a "black hole" or a neutron star. "He showed that when the hydrogen fuel of stars of a certain size begins to run out, it collapses into a compact, brilliant star known as a white dwarf".

In 1953 he became a United States citizen, enraging his father, who felt he had betrayed his birthplace, but he remained loyal to his Indian ways, his vegetarianism and deep concern for India's future.

Chandrasekhar was a prolific writer - he published more than a dozen textbooks on a range of topics in physics - and a devoted teacher (having once regularly driven a 100-mile round trip just to teach a class with two students), the University of Chicago explains. Chandra's name was also given to one of NASA's space telescopes, which observes X-ray emission from hot parts of the Universe. A string of other honors were also bestowed on him, including the Royal Astronomical Society's gold medal.

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