G. E. Stechert and Co.: New York, 1931. A reprint of the Fourth Edition (1877). From Chandrasekhar's library, signed and dated 1954 October 18 by him. Previous owner's neat name, front hinge starting. Slightly faded spine, small stained area. Still, a close to very good copy.
Partial differential equations are ubiquitous in mathematically oriented scientific fields, such as physics and engineering, and they are foundational in the modern scientific understanding of general relativity and quantum mechanics.
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics with William A. Fowler for "...theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars", made significant use of partial differential equations, and his mathematical treatment of stellar evolution yielded many of the current theoretical models of the later evolutionary stages of massive stars and black holes. The Chandrasekhar limit is named after him.
Chandrasekhar worked on a wide variety of physical problems in his lifetime, contributing to the contemporary understanding of stellar structure, white dwarfs, stellar dynamics, stochastic process, radiative transfer, the quantum theory of the hydrogen anion, hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability, turbulence, equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, general relativity, mathematical theory of black holes and theory of colliding gravitational waves. At the University of Cambridge, he developed a theoretical model explaining the structure of white dwarf stars that took into account the relativistic variation of mass with the velocities of electrons that comprise their degenerate matter. He showed that the mass of a white dwarf could not exceed 1.44 times that of the Sun – the Chandrasekhar limit. Chandrasekhar revised the models of stellar dynamics first outlined by Jan Oort and others by considering the effects of fluctuating gravitational fields within the Milky Way on stars rotating about the galactic centre. His solution to this complex dynamical problem involved a set of twenty partial differential equations, describing a new quantity he termed 'dynamical friction', which has the dual effects of decelerating the star and helping to stabilize clusters of stars. Chandrasekhar extended this analysis to the interstellar medium, showing that clouds of galactic gas and dust are distributed very unevenly.
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