Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

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Category: Science

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Profile

  • Name:
  • Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
  • Other Name:
  • S Chandrasekhar
  • Born:
  • October 19, 1910
  • Died:
  • August 21, 1995
  • Father:
  • Chandrasekhara Subrahmanya Iyer
  • Mother:
  • Sitalakshmi
  • Spouse:
  • Lalitha Doraiswamy
  • Education:
  • University of Cambridge

    Presidency College, Madras

  • Awards:

  • Nobel Prize in Physics (1983)
    Copley Medal (1984)
    National Medal of Science (1966)
    Royal Medal (1962)
    Padma Vibhushan (1968)
    Heineman Prize (1974)

    FRS (1944)
    Adams Prize (1948)

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Biography

S. Chandrasekhar was an Indian born astrophysicist of America. Together with William A Fowler, he won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics. Sri Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1930 is his paternal uncle. He claimed himself as an atheist.


He was born on 19th October 1910 in Lahore in British India. His father was Chandrasekhara Subramanya Iyer and his mother was Sitalakshmi. He had nine siblings and he was the eldest of the four sons. His father worked as a Deputy Auditor General of the Northwestern Railways. His mother tongue was Tamil. His father was also a Carnatic music violinist and had written several books on musicology.


He studied at Hindu High School at Triplicane in Madras. He then studied at Presidency College and got his bachelor’s degree in B. Sc. in physics in June 1930. In 1930 he got the scholarship of government and pursued his studies at the Trinity College in the University of Cambridge. He spent a year at the Institute of Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen. He got Ph.D at Cambridge in 1933. He was elected to a Prize Fellowship at Trinity College for the period from 1933 to 1937. He married Lalitha Doraiswamy who was a fellow student at Presidency College in Madras.


He was recruited to the University of Chicago in January 1937 as the Assistant Professor. It was there he remained throughout his career and attained emeritus status in 1985. He declined many offers from other universities. He worked at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay in Wisconsin which was run by the University of Chicago. He worked at the Ballistic Research Laboratories at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland during the World War II.


His notable work was the astrophysical Chandrasekhar limit which describes the maximum mass of a white dwarf star. The limit was calculated by him in 1930. He was awarded Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his study on the structure and evolution of stars. He shared it with William A. Fowler. He received many awards and honors including Padma Vibhushan in 1968. He became a naturalized citizen of US in the year 1953. He died on 21st August 1995. 

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Updated: June 13, 2018

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