FIVE 1st EDITION OFFPRINTS by CHANDRASEKHAR ON STELLAR EVOLUTION & SHOWING THAT AFTER BURNING THEIR FUEL, STARS ENTER A CONTINUAL & DRAMATIC COLLAPSE. THESE WORKS CONTAIN “THE SEEDS OF THE CONCEPT OF BLACK HOLES” (Miller). "For theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars", Chandra won the 1983 Nobel Prize. Each offprint paper was noted by the Committee as contributory to the prize. TWO OF THE FIVE APPEAR IN A SINGLE OFFPRINT INSCRIBED ‘WITH BEST COMPLIMENTS’ & SIGNED BY CHANDRA.
In 1920 no one knew what became of a star when it ran out of fuel and died. Most thought “that when a star burns off all its energy supply its light fades leaving behind the burnt-out and dense remains known as a white dwarf. Chandrasekhar (C) was the first to show how the fate of a star lies in its own birth mass” (NPC).
In 1930 C developed a theory proposing “a stable white dwarf couldn't be the fate of stars above a certain critical mass… [that] stars more than 1.4 times the mass of the Sun [Chandrasekhar Limit] must collapse under the force of their own weight & are destined for a more spectacular fate. It would take a generation of scientists to pinpoint precisely the fate of these larger stars but in time it was proved they [die] in a mammoth explosion called a supernova. If the original star was up to 2-3 times the mass of the Sun, the collapsed corpses left behind from the explosion end up as highly dense neutron stars. Stars that are more than 2-3 times the mass of the Sun suffer an even more exotic death - the force of gravity becomes so strong that matter disappears entirely into a black hole” (ibid).
In the 1934 paper C provided “a detailed analysis on the problem of the limiting mass, stating: ‘The life-history of a star of small mass must be essentially different from the life-history of a star of large mass. For a star of small mass the natural white-dwarf stage is an initial step towards complete extinction. A star of large mass cannot pass into the white-dwarf stage and one is left speculating on other possibilities’” (Bonolis).
By early 1935 C’s thinking had furthered & he submitted the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th papers to MNRAS showing “that the existence of a limiting mass meant that a white-dwarf state does not exist for stars that are more massive” & demonstrating “the effect of special relativity is to reduce the power of the pressure dependence on density from 5/3 to 4/3. ‘These completely collapsed configurations have a natural limit & our exact treatment now shows how this limit is reached’” -- a definitive demonstration of the fate of white dwarves daring to exceed the Chandrasekhar limit (ibid). The 1936 paper argued: “the pressure at the center of a star must be intermediate between those at the centers of two configurations of uniform density… [&] satisfying this inequality is a necessary condition for the stable existence of a star” (Srinivasan).
The RAS invited C to speak & he presented the same definitive research. Eddington, C’s hero & a towering figure in British science, rose “without warning [&] ridiculed Chandra’s paper: ‘The star has to go on radiating and radiating & contracting and contracting until, I suppose, it gets to a few kilometers' radius, when gravity becomes strong enough to hold the radiation and the star can at last have peace.’ This, he said, was a reductio ad absurdum of relativity theory. There must be a law of nature "to prevent a star from behaving in this absurd way!" (NYT).
Chandra was entirely correct & his “discovery might well have transformed & accelerated developments in both physics and astrophysics in the 30s. Instead, Eddington's heavy-handed intervention lent weighty support to the conservative community astrophysicists, who steadfastly refused even to consider the idea that stars might collapse to nothing” (Miller). Item #1074
CONDITION: 5 offprints. Fine condition.