Wilhelm Anderson in Tartu
Wilhelm Robert Karl Anderson
28 October [ O.S. 16 October] 1880
|Died||March 26, 1940 59) (aged|
|Nationality||Russian, Estonian, German|
|Thesis||Die physikalische Natur der Sonnenkorona|
Wilhelm Robert Karl Anderson (28 October [ O.S. 16 October] 1880 – 26 March 1940) was a Russian-Estonian astrophysicist of Baltic German descent who studied the physical structure of the stars.
Wilhelm Anderson was born in Minsk (now in Belarus) into a Baltic German family.His younger brothers were the well known mathematician Oskar Anderson (1887–1960) and the folklorist Walter Anderson (1885–1962). Anderson spent some of his youth in Kazan, where his father Nikolai Anderson (1845–1905) was a university professor for Finno-Ugric languages.
He studied at the University of Kazan, where he graduated from the department of mathematics and science in 1909. Between 1910 and 1920, he worked as a physics teacher first in Samara and then from 1918 in Minsk.Together with his brother Walter Anderson, he moved to Tartu (Estonia) in 1920. At the University of Tartu, he first gained a Masters degree in Astronomy in 1923 and then a Doctorate in 1927. In 1934 he became a habilitation candidate at the university, and in 1936 he received an assistant professorship there, but early in 1939 he suffered a mental breakdown which left him unable to work. . Like the majority of Baltic Germans, he was resettled to Germany in late 1939, where he died in the Sanatorium of Meseritz-Obrawalde, shortly thereafter. It has been suggested that Anderson may have been a victim of the National Socialist "euthanasia" program.
Anderson is probably best known for his work on the mass limit for a white dwarf (one of the final evolutionary states of a star),extending Edmund Stoner's earlier work by relativistic amplification (1929, Tartu), which was in turn further improved by Stoner. The Stoner-Anderson equation of state, a result of Anderson's correspondence with Stoner, is named after him. The white dwarf mass limit was further refined by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and is now known as the Chandrasekhar limit.
The Chandrasekhar limit is the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star. The currently accepted value of the Chandrasekhar limit is about 1.4 M☉ (2.765×1030 kg).
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