SIAM AG on Orthogonal Polynomials and Special Functions


Extract from OP-SF NET

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

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.

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