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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index C > Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Quotes

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Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
(19 Oct 1910 - 21 Aug 1995)

Indian-American astronomer and astrophysicist who shared a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his theoretic work on the structure and evolution of stars.

Science Quotes by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (3 quotes)

In some strange way, any new fact or insight that I may have found has not seemed to me as a “discovery” of mine, but rather something that had always been there and that I had chanced to pick up.
— Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Truth and Beauty: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science (1987, 1990), Preface, ix.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (548)  |  Fact (524)  |  Insight (43)

The pursuit of science has often been compared to the scaling of mountains, high and not so high. But who amongst us can hope, even in imagination, to scale the Everest and reach its summit when the sky is blue and the air is still, and in the stillness of the air survey the entire Himalayan range in the dazzling white of the snow stretching to infinity? None of us can hope for a comparable vision of nature and of the universe around us. But there is nothing mean or lowly in standing in the valley below and awaiting the sun to rise over Kinchinjunga.
— Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Truth and Beauty: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science (1987), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Endeavour (24)  |  Science (1371)

This [Nobel Prize makes] a huge perturbation in my life [and] is not something which I have particularly liked … in many ways I would have much preferred not to have received it … it is well to remember that there is in general no correlation between the judgment of posterity and the judgment of contemporaries.
— Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
From Kameshwar C. Wall, 'Conversations with Chandra', Chandra: A Biography of S. Chandrasekhar (1991), 296-298.
Science quotes on:  |  Contemporary (14)  |  Correlation (8)  |  Judgment (59)  |  Life (742)  |  Nobel Prize (24)  |  Perturbation (3)  |  Posterity (15)  |  Prefer (10)  |  Receive (26)

Quotes by others about Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (2)

If this plane were to crash, we could get a new start on this quasar problem.
Said to colleagues, dramatically cupping his hand over his brow, shortly after the take-off of a propeller plane leaving Austin, Texas, after the Second Texas Symposium for Relativistic Astrophysics in Dec 1964. Various different theories had been presented at the conference. The flight passengers included many of the major scientists in quasar research, including Margaret and Geoffrey Burbridge, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, John Wheeler and Maarten Schmidt.
As quoted by Arthur I. Miller, Empire of the Stars (2005), 226.
Science quotes on:  |  Airplane (28)  |  Crash (6)  |  Quasar (4)  |  Maarten Schmidt (2)  |  Theory (518)  |  John Wheeler (35)

When I entered the field of space physics in 1956, I recall that I fell in with the crowd believing, for example, that electric fields could not exist in the highly conducting plasma of space. It was three years later that I was shamed by S. Chandrasekhar into investigating Alfvιn's work objectively. My degree of shock and surprise in finding Alfvιn right and his critics wrong can hardly be described. I learned that a cosmic ray acceleration mechanism basically identical to the famous mechanism suggested by Fermi in 1949 had [previously] been put forth by Alfvιn.
Quoted in Anthony L. Peratt, 'Dean of the Plasma Dissidents', Washington Times, supplement: The World and I (May 1988), 195.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (293)  |  Confirm (6)  |  Cosmic Ray (6)  |  Critic (12)  |  Crowd (9)  |  Description (62)  |  Enter (11)  |  Enrico Fermi (15)  |  Investigate (45)  |  Objectively (2)  |  Plasma (7)  |  Recall (4)  |  Right (101)  |  Shame (9)  |  Shock (10)  |  Space (127)  |  Surprise (36)  |  Wrong (91)

See also:
  • 19 Oct - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Chandrasekhar's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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