Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was an Indian-American physicist who made significant contributions to Astrophysics and Gravitation. He had worked on a variety of problems ranging from hydrodynamics and structure of stars in Astrophysics to the theory of black holes and gravitational waves in Gravitation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars. Specifically, Chandrasekhar had shown that the mass of a certain type of highly compact stars called white dwarfs cannot exceed 1.44 times the mass of the Sun, a limit that is named in his honor today. Chandrasekhar had studied at Presidency College, Chennai, before he had gone on to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, England. He had later moved to the U.S.A., where he had served as a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago for the rest of his life. Chandrasekhar is supposed to have worked on problems related to the internal structure of stars as he was traveling to Cambridge from Chennai. Therefore, it seems possible that it was in Chennai that the ideas that eventually led to his Nobel Prize had gestated. However, historically, research in the areas of Astrophysics, Gravitation and Cosmology have been poorly represented in Chennai.
With rapid progress being made in the directions of Astrophysics, Gravitation and Cosmology, exciting prospects lie ahead. With the aim of encouraging young minds to pursue a career in research in these directions, the Gravitation and Cosmology Group (consisting of L. Sriramkumar, Dawood Kothawala and Chandra Kant Mishra) at the Department of Physics, IIT Madras, plans to initiate an annual lecture in honor of Chandrasekhar. We intend to schedule the lecture on the Thursday evening during the week of Chandrasekhar’s birthday which falls on October 19. We plan to invite experts in the areas of Astrophysics, Gravitation and Cosmology at the national level to deliver these lectures.
We are seeking financial assistance of INR 1,50,000/- to conduct one lecture per year over a period of 5 years (i.e. during 2019-23). We expect the expenses per lecture to be as follows:
Travel INR 15,000/-, Accommodation and boarding INR 6,000/-, Honorarium INR 5,000/-, Outreach INR 2,500/-, Refreshments INR 1,500/-.