As India celebrates Diwali today, there’s another occasion to celebrate, which is Nobel-winning astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrashekhar’s 107th birth anniversary. Google has a special doodle dedicated to the Indian-American astrophysicist who is known for his theories on the structure and evolution of stars. Today’s doodle comprises of a weighing scale which represents the Chandrashekhar limit, the most important of his contributions.
The Chandrashekhar limit helped understand the structure and evolution of stars. It explains that when a star’s mass is lighter than 1.4 times as compared to the sun , it collapses into a dense state and what is commonly known as “white dwarf”. In the same way when a star’s mass is heavier than 1.4, then the white dwarf can possibly continue collapsing into the dense state which would lead to the making of a black hole or even a supernova explosion.
S Chandrashekhar was born on October 19, 1910 and began his work in this field at an early age. Before turning 20, he published his first paper and even developed his theory of star evolution. He was also elected to the Royal Society of London, and after which he became a professor in the field of physics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 with William A. Fowler. Chandrashekhar was born in Lahore, British undivided India in 1910, and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1953. ALSO READ: Begum Akhtar’s 103rd birthday celebrated with a special Google Doodle
He has also received honors including the National Medal of Science, the Draper Medal of the US National Academy of Science, and the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. Later in 1979, S Chandrashekhar was given the name for one of NASA’s “Great Observatories” satellites. NASA named it the Chandra X-ray Observatory. S Chandrashekhar met his death at the age of 84 in 1995 when he suffered a heart attack. ALSO READ: Google Doodle celebrates 100th birthday of Asima Chatterjee