New Delhi: On the auspicious occasion of Diwali, Google doodle celebrates the 107th birthday of legendary India-origin astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who won the Nobel Prize for his theory of the evolution of stars.
Described as a ‘child prodigy’, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born in Lahore in 1910 to a Tamil family. On a long sea voyage from India to England in 1930 at the age of 19, he worked it out. According to the science of quantum mechanics, there are forces within the very atoms of the white dwarf star that counteract the force of gravity. Chandrasekhar determined this force would be overwhelmed if the star were massive enough.
He determined that any star 1.4 times more massive than our sun would leave remains too massive to form a stable white dwarf. After the limit, the force of gravity would cause the white dwarf to collapse. Chandrasekhar made his most significant discovery while working as a researcher at Cambridge University, which became known as the Chandrasekhar Limit, which was earlier discredited.
More than 30 years later, in 1966, scientific research with computers and the hydrogen bomb gave credit to Chandrasekhar’s calculations. At age of 73, Mr Chandrasekhar won a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 “for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars”.