Google hon­ours In­dian as­tro­physi­cist S. Chan­drasekhar with doo­dle

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Google hon­oured as­tro­physi­cist Subrah­manyan Chan­drasekhar with a doo­dle on his 107th birth an­niver­sary. He is the first as­tro­physi­cist to win a No­bel Prize for his the­ory on the evo­lu­tion of stars. He jointly won the award with Dr Wil­liam Fowler of the Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy in 1983.

The In­dian-Amer­i­can as­tro­physi­cist, known for his the­ory of white dwarfs, was born on Oc­to­ber 19, 1910, to a Tamil fam­ily in La­hore (now in Pak­istan). Chan­drasekhar stud­ied in the Pres­i­dency Col­lege, Madras, and later in Cam­bridge Univer­sity be­fore mov­ing to the US in 1936.

While work­ing as a re­searcher at the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, he de­vel­oped a the­ory which came to be known as the “Chan­drasekhar Limit”, which said the mass of a white dwarf could not ex­ceed 1.44 times that of the sun and his cal­cu­la­tions threw new light on Su­per­novas, Neu­tron stars and Black Holes.

Pen­ning his first sci­en­tific pa­per at the age of 20, on the the­ory of evo­lu­tion of stars, he joined the Univer­sity of Chicago as a Deputy Pro­fes­sor at the age of 26, and worked there through­out his ca­reer till re­tire­ment in 1980.Chan­drasekhar was the nephew of In­dian sci­en­tist 1920 No­bel lau­re­ate, Sir Chan­drasekhar Venkat Ra­man, cel­e­brated In­dian sci­en­tist who is renowned for his work in the area of scat­ter­ing of light called “Ra­man Ef­fect”. Chan­drasekhar also con­trib­uted to the study of the the­ory of col­lid­ing grav­i­ta­tional waves. Later NASA hon­oured him by nam­ing its top X-ray ob­ser­va­tory as the “Chandra X-ray Ob­ser­va­tory”.

He mi­grated to the US in 1937. In 1944, he was elected to the Royal So­ci­ety of Lon­don, at age 34. Af­ter mar­riage with LalithaDo­raiswamy in 1936, the cou­ple be­came US cit­i­zens. Con­tin­u­ing as a re­searcher af­ter su­per­an­nu­a­tion, in 1983 Chan­drasekhar wrote his renowned math­e­mat­i­cal the­ory on Black Holes which were first dis­cov­ered in 1972. Af­ter an il­lus­tri­ous sci­en­tific ca­reer, Chan­drasekhar passed away in Chicago fol­low­ing a heart at­tack on Au­gust 21, 1995. His wife ex­pired in 2013 at the age of 102.

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