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Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910–1995)

Published onSep 01, 1996
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910–1995)

On 21 August 1995, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar died of heart failure at age 84. Obituary notices were carried by newspapers, journals of general science and by most specialist journals in astronomy and astrophysics. Representative examples include: "1983 Physics Nobelist S. Chandrasekhar Is Dead At Age 84," by Neeraja Sankaran, The Scientist 9:17 (18 September 1995); "Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995)," by R. Nityananda, Current Science 69: 554-556 (1995); and "Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995)," by D. Lynden-Bell, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 37:261-263 (June 1996).

An extensive biography was written during his lifetime. Kameshwar C. Wali, professor of physics at Syracuse University wrote Chandra: A Biography of S. Chandrasekhar (Chicago, 1991) using archival and oral history materials as well as personal interviews. Some of Chandrasekhar's most personal essays and insights can be found in his 1987 book Truth and Beauty: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science (Chicago). In addition to his extensive collection of personal and professional papers held by the Regenstein Library of the University of Chicago, important collections of his letters are to be found (among other sites) in the Kuiper Papers, University of Arizona Archives and in the E. A. Milne Papers, The Bodleian Library, Oxford. Spencer Weart of the American Institute of Physics interviewed Chandrasekhar extensively (9.2 hours) in 1977. A full transcript is available at the Niels Bohr Library of the Center for History of Physics.

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