Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

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Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, FRS (Tamil: சுப்பிரமணியன் சந்திரசேகர்), English: /ˌtʃʌndrəˈʃeɪkɑr/)[1] (October 19, 1910 – August 21, 1995)[2] was an Indian-born American astrophysicist who, with William A. Fowler, won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics for key discoveries that led to the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars.[3] Chandrasekhar was the nephew of Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930.

Chandrasekhar 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.



Chandrasekhar was born in Lahore, Punjab, British India (now Pakistan) to Chandrasekhara Subrahmanya Iyer (1885-1960), assistant auditor to the Northwest Railways and his wife, Sitalakshmi (1891-1931)[4]. He was the eldest of their four sons and the third of their ten children. The name Chandrasekhar is one of the appellations of Shiva, meaning "holder of the moon" in Sanskrit, and is a common name among Hindu Tamils. His paternal uncle was the Indian physicist and nobel laureate C. V. Raman. C. S. Iyer was posted in Lahore as the Deputy Auditor General of the Northwestern Railways at the time of Chandrasekhar's birth. His mother tongue was Tamil. Chandra's father was also an accomplished Carnatic music violinist who had authored several books on musicology. His mother was devoted to intellectual pursuits and had translated Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House into Tamil. She is credited with arousing Chandra's intellectual curiosity early on.

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