Topic #8 --------------- OP-SF NET --------------- September 7, 1995 ~~~~~~~~~ From: OP-SF Net editor
Subject: Death of S. Chandrasekhar (With thanks to Dick Askey, Willard Miller and Ernie Kalnins for providing information) Prof. S. Chandrasekhar died on August 22, 1995 at the age of 84. He was born in Lahore, India and he studied at the University of Madras, India and at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He worked at the University of Chicago. He is well known for his work in theoretical astronomy, see for instance his book "The mathematical theory of black holes", Oxford University Press, 1983. This book left unanswered questions about the intrinsic characterisation of the explicit solutions of the spinor equations of mathematical physics in the curved background of a rotating black hole (Kerr space time). In this problem the so called Teukolsky functions play a crucial role. These functions are confluent forms of the solutions of the most general linear homogeneous ordinary differential equation of second order with four regular singularities, viz. Heun's equation. Significant progress in the solution of this problem was made by E.G. Kalnins, W. Miller, Jr., and G.C. Williams. This summer Chandrasekhar's last book appeared, "Newton's `Principia' for the common reader", Oxford University Press, 1995. Further information on his life can be found in the biography "Chandra" by Kameshwar C. Wali, University of Chicago Press, 1991.