Kavana Sarma Kaburlu

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Subramanayan Chandrasekhar

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When I was teaching At Monash university ( Melbourne ) during the period 1970-72 , John Holms a research Scolar in our Mechanical Engineering Dept ( Yes I was In Mech Engg Dept as Hydrulics and Fluid Mechanics were subjects of Mech Engg in that university) aked me " Sarma ! Do you know this guy Subramanyan Chandra Sekhar " May be after the first expeimental evidence of black hole was found in 1972 .I do not remember exactly when he aked me that question. I did not know any thing more than that he was the nephew of of our former Director Sir C V Raman ( IISc) and he received the Padma Bhushan award in 1968 . i told John I did not know much .
It is much laterthat I came to know about the insults he suffered at the hands Of Sir Arthur Eddington AE). .SC felt he had been targeted by to ugly racism. ..
Subramanyan Chandrasekhar ( SC) was born ion 19 th october 1910 .( 19 th October is incidentally my wife birth date ) and died 21 st Aug.1995
While studying at Presidency college and he worked on what later came to be known as SC Limit.
It says that stars with a mass greater than a certain mass known as critical mass , do not degenerate into white dwarfs . AE believed all stars would degenarate into white dwarfs .It appears that he believed initilly that SC would one day prove him right So he encouraged SC initially . But unfortunately SC proved AE wrong . That was the reason for AE attacking SC mercilessly ..
Let us come back to the pursuits of SC.
He completed his Bsc.( Hons) in1930. He was awarded Govt. of India Scholarship to pursue his further studies at Cambridge .He completed his work on ‘SC Limit " by the time his ship reached Engand as the story goes .He had been working on it for along time.by then
He showed his work to his supervisor Ralph Fowler who in turn sent it to EA Milne. Both encouraged him but did not do anything to get it published in Monthly Notices of Royal Astronomical Society ( RAS of England) . So he got it publishedin US based Astronomical journal a year later Milne has made commem
nts on that. He answered the criticism ina later paper but to be on the safe side he sent it to an Astro Physics journal of Germany . That journal sent that paper to Milne for review .Finally it got published in 1932. Ke then concetratedon hisPh.D work and got his degree in 1934 at the age of 24 ( My cousin Dr Mallela R Sarma gor his Ph.d in Electrical engineering from Liverpool University in1949 at the age of 23. It was possible in those days ) .
He was invited to present his work by Royal Astronomicl Society in 1935 the year in which his troubles started .
Sir Arthur Eddington at that time was an already establiched intelectual giant He was responsible to some extent for the accepatance Einstein’s theory. He started taking interest in SC’s work. SC’s work is in the key controvesial area of Eddington and Milne. .
Sc was surprised to find Eddington listed as an author of a paper at a meeting in the identical area of SC’s interest AE presented his paper after Sc and criticised Sc. the next speaker was called by the chair without giving a chance to SC
SC decided to leave UK and moved to USA in 1936. But until his death in1944, AE was attacking SC wherever he could :.at Harvard university and in International Astronomical Union at Paris,1939.
He called SC’s work as "Stellar Buffoonery" . He said it was born out of an illegal wedlock of relativity mechanics and nonrelativity quantum mechanics . We now know support for Einstein theory came from quantum mechanics. Great pHysicists of that time had agreement with SC’swork but afraid of taking head on AE in supportof arelatively unkown SC .So SC shifted his area of research to safer zones !
Sc’s work lead to the evolution of the theoretical models stellar physics including Black Holes . In 1972 the first experimental evidence of a black hole was found until then Sc was ignored .He got D.Hinman prize in physics and Nobel prize in 1983 .He lived for 12 years in that glory .
Satyameva Jayathe !

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Written by kavanasarma

July 31, 2018 at 2:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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