Friday, May 06, 2011

On white dwarfs and Tamil

In an article in Science 2.0 that dealt with White dwarfs, Neutrons and Neutrinos, there is the inevitable reference to Dr Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar, the Noble prize winner in Physics, for his calculations that showed that the weight of a white dwarf cannot exceed 1,44 times the mass of the sun.

The article carries a sketch that Dr Chandrasekhar had made in 1930 on his voyage to England. It is interesting that he wrote down the labels for the X axis and the Y axis  in Tamil.  Honestly, I didn't know the words, but the picture explains that they stand for ' radius' and 'mass'.

Dr Chandrasekhar had done his undergraduation course at the Presidency College, Madras where the subject must have been taught in English. But, the Tamil words must have come to him spontaneously, for some reason, when he was plotting the graph. Not that he knew that he was on to something big, when he was doing it.


Vaidy said...

I am speechless!

Raj said...

Vaidy: Why?