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Honorable Mentions

NAME: Tom Fuller

At the age of nineteen, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (who preferred to be called Chandra) formulated the Chandrasekhar Limit, presaging the very objects that AXAF explores: neutron stars and black holes. He edited the Astrophysical Journal for 19 years; he won the Nobel Prize and most other awards of his field. To this age of specialization, he exemplifies love of learning for its own sake; his works shine with precise scholarship and sweeping breadth. Modern researchers in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or even history might stumble upon some fundamental treatment by Chandra that illumines their current investigations. So many of our American spacecraft bear names that echo European heritage (Einstein, Cassini, Hubble, Compton, etc.). We should be ready to honor the Indian who graced our nation's heartland (Chicago) from 1937 to his death (Oct. 19, 1995). He was an intellectual encouraging, nurturing, and guiding young scientists. His loyalty to his adopted nation (in the face of great family resistance) was all the more noble for the shameful discrimination incidents he and his family endured. Chandra said in the autobiographical account (quoted in "Chandra" by Kameshwar C. Wali) published with his Nobel lecture, "my scientific work followed a certain pattern motivated principally by a quest after perspectives." What better crystallizes AXAF's mission than "a quest after perspectives"?

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NAME: Norman Evensen

NASA's third "Great Observatory" should be named after the great Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who died in 1995. In a lifetime of teaching and research, most of it (since 1937) at the University of Chicago, he educated generations of physicists and astronomers, edited the Astrophysical Journal, and produced a series of brilliant papers and books, starting with his prediction, as a student in the 1930's, of what we now call "black holes". He explored with his intellect most of the phenomena that the AXAF satellite will explore observationally, including black holes, plasmas, relativistic astrophysics and stellar evolution. He was one of very few astronomers to receive a Nobel Prize, in 1983, and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1966.

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NAME: Ivan Sandler

The AXAF should be named the Chandrasekhar X-Ray Observatory because Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was the first to provide us with a glimpse of the nature of the physical processes that underlie the X-Ray phenomena to be observed by this facility. His pioneering work on the evolution and death of stars was the initial key step in our ability to understand and interpret such observations. His contributions to astrophysics make him well-deserving of this honor.

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