Classical general relativity

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Royal Society, Jun 3, 1993 - Political Science - 112 pages
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Because of the vicissitudes of history, the general theory of relativity has never been consistently explored to ascertain whether, in its realm of exact validity, it predicts phenomena which have no counterparts in the Newtonian limit, that is in the limit in which the velocity of light may be considered infinite. Thus, while recent interest in physics has concentrated on such 'frontier areas' as quantum gravity and cosmology, there has also been a quiet but steady progress in the classical domain. The five papers collected in this volume, and presented under the editorship of the famed Nobel Laureate S. Chandrasekhar, illustrate the nature of these advances. Each of them represents developments in areas both of physics and mathematics which disclose unanticipated findings that illustrate the special character of work in these areas. Astrophysicists and mathematical relativists will welcome this unique look at ongoing research.

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Recent advances in the use of separation of variables methods
On the symmetries of equilibrium stellar models
Rapidly rotating relativistic stars

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About the author (1993)

Born in what is present-day Lahore, Pakistan, the astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar obtained his B.S. degree in 1930 from Presidency College in Madras, India. By the time he received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1933, he had formulated a theory on white dwarf stars. Chandrasekhar's theory of white dwarf stars states that a white dwarf's mass cannot exceed about one and one-half times that of the sun. His calculations implied that more massive stars would end their lives as neutron stars or black holes. The Chandrasekhar limit has become one of the foundations of astrophysics. This discovery led to Chandrasekhar's first definitive work An Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure (1939). The book was indicative of the pattern of his scientific career. As a result of an ongoing disagreement with Sir Arthur Eddington on his theory of dwarf stars, Chandrasekhar left Cambridge for the University of Chicago in 1937. The following year, he began to study the dynamics of star clusters, resulting in the publication of his second definitive work, Principles of Stellar Systems, in 1942. During World War II, Chandrasekhar served in the War Department as a scientific consultant. Specifically, Chandrasekhar contributed to the top-secret atomic weapons research at the University of Chicago with Enrico Fermi and James Franck. Toward the end of World War II, Chandrasekhar's field of study was radioative transfer (how light energy moves and interacts with the material through which it travels) in the interior of stars and the effects of magnetism on galaxies. This research led to another landmark book, Hydromagnetic Stability, in 1961. During the 1960s, Chandrasekhar mainly studied ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium. His understanding of planetary rotation and the rotation of white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies culminated in Ellipsoidal Figures of Equilibrium, published in 1969. In the mid-1970s, Chandrasekhar studied relativity and relativistic astrophysics, rethinking concepts he used when deriving upper limits for the mass of white dwarfs 40 years earlier. This led to the monumental work The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes, published in 1983. Chandrasekhar became an American citizen in 1953.

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