Given my predilection for writing long unlovely sentences, I quote Chandrasekhar himself from his Nobel banquet speech
“I am grateful for the award since it is possible that it may provide a measure of encouragement to those, who like myself, have been motivated in their scientific pursuits, principally, for achieving personal perspectives, while wandering, mostly, in the lonely byways of Science. ”
Logical coherence, aesthetic beauty, mathematical elegance, lovely topic selection, a wonderful historical perspective, a taste for the Classics(of both science and the arts), a strong social commitment, a commitment to Truth in science are some of the aspects arising from Chandra’s work. Here is a link to his Nobel autobiography. There is a beautiful article about him written by his biographer, Kameshwar Wali which appeared in the Indian Science Journal Resonance.
His achievements have to be juxtaposed with two other remarkable persons…..Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar and Muthuswamy Dikshitar in order that its magnitude be displayed in all its splendor..his late ruminations on gravity can be compared to Dikshitar’s beautiful songs and his varied research areas are like Tendulkar’s test hundreds at as varied tracks as the scorching fast pitch at Perth and a vicious turner at Chennai. His classical essays on myriad topics illuminate his deep learning and scholarship in various areas of art, music and literature. His essays can be contrasted with R.K.Narayan’s essays in that he writes with a deep scholarship and no wit while Narayan uses gentle wit and almost no scholarship. His essays focus on motivations of scientists and other such things.