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Kameshwar Wali

Chandra

The battle between Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Sir Arthur Eddington over the fate of collapsing stars is a well known example of how a young researcher had his ideas unfairly treated because of the views of an established scientist. Wali's biography covers this period in detail, but also tells of Chandra's subsequent career as an eminent astrophysicist. We hear of his central position in the astrophysics community as editor of the Astrophysical Journal and of him being awarded the Nobel prize in 1983. The book serves as an excellent example of a scientist who didn't dwell on the wrongs that had been done to him, but instead went on to excel in his field of study.

The last chapter of the book consists of conversations with the author, giving an indication of Chandrasekar's views on his life and the people he worked with. However, on the whole I felt that the book was rather formal compared to Arthur Miller's Empire of the Stars. Wali's book is certainly a more comprehensive biography, but I didn't feel that it did so well in communicating Chandra's outlook on life and the problems he had faced. (For a discussion between the two see this discussion at physicstoday.org)

Amazon.com info
Paperback 352 pages  
ISBN: 0226870553
Salesrank: 2277962
Weight:1.44 lbs
Published: 1992 University Of Chicago Press
Amazon price $34.00
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 384 pages  
ISBN: 0226870553
Salesrank: 1145950
Weight:1.44 lbs
Published: 1992 University Of Chicago Press
Amazon price £25.50
Marketplace:New from £15.38:Used from £5.31
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 352 pages  
ISBN: 0226870553
Salesrank: 1577418
Weight:1.44 lbs
Published: 1992 University Of Chicago Press
Amazon price CDN$ 45.40
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 36.35:Used from CDN$ 22.19
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Product Description
Chandra is an intimate portrait of a highly private and brilliant man, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, a Nobel laureate in physics who has been a major contributor to the theories of white dwarfs and black holes.

"Wali has given us a magnificent portrait of Chandra, full of life and color, with a deep understanding of the three cultures—Indian, British, and American—in which Chandra was successively immersed. . . . I wish I had the job of reviewing this book for the New York Times rather than for Physics Today. If the book is only read by physicists, then Wali's devoted labors were in vain."—Freeman Dyson, Physics Today

"An enthralling human document."—William McCrea, Times Higher Education Supplement

"A dramatic, exuberant biography of one of the century's great scientists."—Publishers Weekly