In Commemoration of Professor Ganesar Chanmugam

October 24, 1939 - March 25, 1996

photo: chanmugam


Ganesar Chanmugam, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Louisiana State University for 25 years and an internationally recognized expert on the physics of degenerate stars, died on March 25, 1996 in Houston, Texas.

Ganesh was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), on October 24, 1939. He received two undergraduate degrees in mathematics, both with honors: one from what is now the University of Colombo in 1961, and the other from the University of Cambridge in 1963.

After a year spent teaching at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, he went to Brandeis University for graduate studies. From the beginning of his career, Ganesh focused his mathematical skills and physical insight on many of the astrophysical problems associated with white dwarfs and neutron stars. His Ph.D. thesis concerned the effects of three-body forces on the nuclear equation of state. He also published work with his thesis supervisor, Sylvan Schweber, on the role of electromagnetic many-body forces in dense matter.

Upon completing his Ph.D. degree in 1970, he joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Louisiana State University, where he remained for the rest of his career. For the next two and a half decades, a steady stream of insightful papers about degenerate stars were published by Ganesh and various colleagues with whom he often collaborated during summers and leaves of absence at universities and research institutions around the world. Though he would often return to questions concerning the structure of neutron stars, his attention was most steadfastly focused on the magnetic and radiative properties of neutron stars and white dwarfs. It was here that Ganesh made his broadest range of contributions to modern theoretical astrophysics.