By S Chandrasekhar

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Extra resources for A scientific autobiography : S. Chandrasekhar

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Already in March I had begun my book on Transfer. I hoped to finish it by August. Now that Frances was leaving, I rather imagine that there will be no further papers in the series. What remains are the odds and ends: but the computations of these require a person who has experience. But once the X and Y functions come from New York, I should get my big paper on the “Illumination of the Sky” completed. I do not suppose that this will be ready before Xmas. I shall probably send it to the Royal Society for their Transactions.

I detected this only a year later; and it was corrected. In October it occurred to me that the effect of rotation on thermal instability (to the importance of which Jeffreys had drawn attention a long time ago) could be easily worked out. And I realized at the same time, that the question of overstability should be investigated. A variational principle was available and the work was completed by December. During this period, I started my weekly meetings with Fermi to discuss hydromagnetic problems.

And it suddenly occurred to me that the way to do it was to split the original differential equation of order six into one of order four and one of order two with four boundary conditions on the solution of the first equation, and with a choice of a basis which will satisfy the other two boundary conditions, the remaining second order differential equation then being used to derive a characteristic equation. Once the idea had occurred, it was obvious to me that the key to the solution had been found; and I felt that it must work.

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