October 19

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Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
1910—1995 , American astrophysicist, born. Lahore, India (now Pakistan).

Chandrasekhar was one of ten children born to a civil servant and an intellectual mother who translated Ibsen's A Doll House into Tamil. He earned a B.S. in physics at Presidency College, Madras, then went on to earn advanced degrees at Cambridge University, and a Prize Fellowship at Trinity College. In 1937 he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago. There he delved into such astrophysical subjects as stellar structure, the theory of white dwarf stars, and the mathematical theory of black holes. Chandrasekhar shared the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars.” NASA renamed the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility for him: the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which helps astronomers better understand the structure and evolution of the universe.

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