Subramanyan Chandrasekhar

Facts

Subramanyan Chandrasekhar

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Subramanyan Chandrasekhar

Born: 19 October 1910, Lahore, India (now Pakistan)

Died: 21 August 1995, Chicago, IL, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Prize motivation: "for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars."

Prize share: 1/2

Work

Stars in the universe form from clouds of gas and dust. When these clouds are pulled together by gravitational force, energy is released in the form of heat. And when a high enough temperature is reached, reactions among the atomic nuclei in the star's interior begin. Beginning in the 1930s, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar formulated theories for the development that stars subsequently undergo. 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.

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