Chandra: A Biography of S. Chandrasekhar

Kameshwar C. Wali, Author, K. C. Wali, Author
Kameshwar C. Wali, Author, K. C. Wali, Author University of Chicago Press $36 (352p) ISBN 978-0-226-87054-0
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
The discovery in 1935 that certain dying stars might be too massive to evolve into white dwarves should have catapulted Indian-born astrophysicist Subramanyan Chandrasekhar into worldwide fame. Instead, his mentor Sir Arthur Eddington publicly denounced and ridiculed his findings. The young protege gracefully withdrew from direct confrontation, went on to make major contributions in stellar structure, moved from England to the U.S. and took a Nobel Prize in 1983. The irony is that either Eddington or Chandrasekhar, simply by following up the implications of the latter's discovery, could have been the first to chance upon black holes and neutron stars. In a dramatic, exuberant biography of one of the century's great scientists, Syracuse University physics professor Wali shows how a modest man with a love of elegant expression overcame racial prejudice and bureaucratic stumbling blocks. Photos. (Oct.)
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