We know this because of the work of astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who would be 107 Thursday and is honored with a Google Doodle.
Born in 1910 in Lahore, India Chandrasekhar studied a variety of physical problems in his lifetime which contributed to our understanding of stellar structure, white dwarfs, stellar dynamics, stochastic process, radiative transfer and quantum theory.
"The Chandrasekhar limit", Google writes, "explains that when a star's mass is lighter than 1.4 times that of the sun, it eventually collapses into a denser stage called a white dwarf". Chandrasekhar completed his graduation from the Presidency College in Chennai (then Madras) in 1930.
According to a report in The Verge, Chandrasekhar's theory was initially was rejected by his peers and was even ridiculed by Sir Arthur Eddington, a leading astrophysicist of the time. Unfortunately, Chandra couldn't see the launch of it, as he breathed his last in 1995, just four years prior to the launch of Chandra X-ray Observatory.
In his honour, Google is changing its logo in 28 countries to a doodle, or illustration, of him and the Chandrasekhar limit. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was a Nobel Prize victor for Physics. Some of the most massive ones explode into a supernova and then collapse down into neutron stars, or black holes. While traveling to England to study at Cambridge, Chandra came up with what is now known as the Chandrasekhar limit, a concept that details what happens to stars after they use up all of their fuel and die.
Black holes, central to Chandra's theory, were identified in 1972.
He went on the gain a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1933 and moved to the United States with his wife five years later.
Chandrasekhar was a popular teacher who guided over 50 students to their PhDs.
During World War II, at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, he worked with other scientists on ballistics but turned down an invitation to join those at Los Alamos, N.M., preparing the atomic bomb.
Chandrasekhar was also an enthusiast of literature, music and philosophy of science. Among his many other honors were the Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Henry Draper Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London and a score of honorary degrees.
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