Eddington, The Most Distinguished Astrophysicist of his Time by S. Chandrasekhar

By S. Chandrasekhar

This booklet is predicated on lectures given in Cambridge via Professor Chandrasckhar to mark the centenary of the delivery of Arthur Stanley Eddington. The textual content describes Eddington's significant contributions to astrophysics and to basic relativity. The process isn't really technical, even though it will ordinarily be of curiosity to pros in astronomy, utilized arithmetic and the heritage of contemporary astronomy.

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Extra resources for Eddington, The Most Distinguished Astrophysicist of his Time

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We need not fix the position of any one lever - that is to be adjusted from time to time as the latest observations indicate. The aim of the theorist is to know the train of wheels which the lever sets in motion - that binding of the parts which is the soul of the engine.

It is when we let our thoughts stray outside venerable, but sometimes insecure, hypothesis that we are said to speculate. Hypothesis limits speculation. Moreover, distrust of speculation often serves as a cover for loose thinking - wild ideas take anchorage in our minds and influence our outlook; whilst it is considered too speculative to subject them to the scientific scrutiny which would exorcise them. If we are not content with the dull accumulation of experimental facts, if we make any deductions or generalizations, if we seek for any theory to guide us, some degree of speculation cannot be avoided.

The mathematical physicist is in a position of peculiar difficulty. He may work out the behaviour of an ideal model of material with specifically defined properties, obeying mathematically exact laws, and so far his work is unimpeachable. It is no more speculative than the binomial theorem. But when he claims a serious interest for his toy, when he suggests that his model is like something going on in nature, he inevitably begins to speculate. Is the actual body really like the ideal model? May not other unknown conditions intervene?

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