Subramanyan Chandrasekhar


The Nobel Prize is an award given "to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. ("Alfred Nobel,
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a younger look at Subrahmanyan image source futura-sciences.com
answers.com)" Scientists all over the world, every year, strive to make a discovery that would award them this most valuable and honorable prize. While also having attended Cambridge University in England, he graduated from Presidency College with a degree in Physics. In 1983, Subramanyan, also known in short as Chandra, was awarded the Nobel Prize for his studies in space science. Being an immigrant from Lahore, India, Subramanyan made many great discoveries in areas including, Physics and Astronomy, Stellar Structures, Black Holes, Equilibrium, Gravitational Radiation, etc. as well as receiving 20 honorary degrees and was elected 21 learned societies. Chandra was born in Lahore, India, but at age twelve, after being home-schooled, moved to the United States. He joined a public school and later moved on to higher learning, taking on studies of his most favorable subject, science, later gaining even more knowledge, experience and respect, resulting in winning the Nobel Prize.




Contributions


Among the many discoveries made my Subramanyan, he is best known for the discovery of Chandrasekhar Limit, in which "he showed that there is a maximum mass which can be supported against gravity by pressure made up of electrons and atomic nuclei" (iloveindia.com). This limit has the value of about 1.44 times a solar mass. With out this discovery we
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recieving the National Medal of Science from President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 image source yohanessurya.com
would have a hard time being able to understand stellar evolution. Stars would "continue to collapse under extreme pressure of gravitational forces" and are then unable to become a white dwarf if their mass exceeds this limit" (iloveindia.com). The discovery of neutron stars and black holes was brought around after the formulation of Chandrasekhar Limit was established. Another is the theory of Brownian motion which was discovered between 1938 and 1943. The theory of Brownian Motion is "referred to as the irregular and unceasing movement of solid microscopic particles when suspended in a fluid medium" (Y.K.Lee and Kelvin Hoon, Elementary Theory of Brownian Motion). It is used in medical imaging, robotics, estimation of extreme floods and droughts, market analysis, stock market, manufacturing, and decision making. Between the years 1943 and 1950, he discovered the theory of illumination and the polarization of the sunlit sky. Some others that he contributed to are studies of Equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, part l in collaboration with Norman R. Lebovitz (1961-1968), General theory of relativity and relativistic astrophysics (1962-1971), Mathematical theory of black holes (1974-1983).


His Later Years


Subramanyan's main study was "stellar evolution and stellar structure and the processes of energy transfer within stars" (answers.com) and is best known
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in his later years; image source colegioweb.com
for the Chandrasekhar limit. By studying the numerous areas of Astrophysics, he made it easier for other scientists to comprehend the physics that he explained and documented, making it easier to execute their jobs as well, as in studying other effects that concurred with his subjects. In 1944 he was elected to the Royal Society of London, achieving a lasting ambition of his. He always wanted to stay out of the mainstream of research and once told his biographer he saw himself as "a lonely wanderer in the byways of science" (Subramanyan, answers.com). Through out the rest of his life, he supplied his intelligence for the University of Chicago until his death at the age of 84 in 1995 most likely to old age.