Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (October 19, 1910 – August 21, 1995) was an Indian-American physicist, astrophysicist and mathematician. He was born in Lahore, British India (now Pakistan). He attended the Presidency college in Chennai (then, Madras), where he graduated with a degree in physics.
He was known to the world as simply "Chandra". It was not just at mathematics that Chandra excelled. As a youth, he had also mastered German, devoured everything from Shakespeare to Hardy, and could read up to 100 pages in an hour 'quite easily'.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his studies on the physical processes important to the structure and evolution of stars, though he was upset that the citation mentioned only his earliest work, seeing this as a denigration of a lifetime's achievement.
He served on the University of Chicago faculty from 1937 until his death in 1995 at the age of 84. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1953.
He won the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship in 1949, the Bruce Medal in 1952 and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1953. He won the Henry Draper Medal in 1971. He won the Copley Medal of the Royal Society in 1984.
In 1999, NASA named the third of its four 'Great Observatories' after Chandrasekhar. This followed a naming contest which attracted 6,000 entries from fifty states and sixty-one countries. The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999.
Chandrasekhar was the nephew of Nobel-prize winning physicist C. V. Raman.
The asteroid 1958 Chandra is named after him.
- Empire of the Stars: Friendship, Obsession and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes, Arthur I. Miller, Little Brown, 2005
- The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, Clarendon, 1998
Last updated: 08-29-2005 00:38:38
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13