© 2014

What are the Stars?


Part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics book series (ULNP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xlv
  2. Ganesan Srinivasan
    Pages 1-19
  3. Ganesan Srinivasan
    Pages 21-32
  4. Ganesan Srinivasan
    Pages 33-62
  5. Ganesan Srinivasan
    Pages 63-76
  6. Ganesan Srinivasan
    Pages 77-104
  7. Ganesan Srinivasan
    Pages 105-141
  8. Ganesan Srinivasan
    Pages 143-169
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 171-177

About this book


The outstanding question in astronomy at the turn of the twentieth century was: What are the stars and why are they as they are? In this volume, the story of how the answer to this fundamental question was unravelled is narrated in an informal style, with emphasis on the underlying physics. Although the foundations of astrophysics were laid down by 1870, and the edifice was sufficiently built up by 1920, the definitive proof of many of the prescient conjectures made in the 1920s and 1930s came to be established less than ten years ago. This book discusses these recent developments in the context of discussing the nature of the stars, their stability and the source of the energy they radiate. 

Reading this book will get young students excited about the presently unfolding revolution in astronomy and the challenges that await them in the world of physics, engineering and technology. General readers will also find the book appealing for its highly accessible narrative of the physics of stars. 

“... The readers will find Dr Srinivasan, an internationally acclaimed leader in this enterprise, to be a clear and enthusiastic guide to the wonders and mysteries of the cosmos.

 Lord Martin Rees

Astronomer Royal

Master of Trinity College, Cambridge           

I know of no comparable book in the present-day literature that so successfully conveys the excitement of the development of ideas pertaining to the physics of stars, including the newest discoveries, and at the same time  explains the fundamentals so well.”

E. P. J. van den Heuvel

Professor of Astrophysics

Winner of the Spinoza and Descartes Prizes

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Birth of Stars Black Holes Life of Stars Nature of Stars Neutron Stars Stellar Astrophysics for Undergraduates White Dwarfs

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.BangaloreIndia

About the authors

Dr. G. Srinivasan began his career as a solid state physicist and later switched to astrophysics. After his PhD at the University of Chicago, he worked at the IBM Research Laboratory, Zurich, Switzerland, Chalmers University of Technology, Goteborg, Sweden, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge and Raman Research Institute, Bangalore. He is a Past President of the Astronomical Society of India as well as the Division of Space and High Energy Astrophysics of the International Astronomical Union. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences and a former Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title What are the Stars?
  • Authors Ganesan Srinivasan
  • Series Title Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics
  • Series Abbreviated Title Undergraduate Lect. Notes Physics
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Physics and Astronomy Physics and Astronomy (R0)
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-642-45301-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-642-45302-1
  • Series ISSN 2192-4791
  • Series E-ISSN 2192-4805
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XLV, 177
  • Number of Illustrations 105 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Additional Information Original hardcover edition published by Universities Press (India) Private Ltd., Himayatnagar, 2011
  • Topics Astrophysics and Astroparticles
    Astronomy, Observations and Techniques
  • Buy this book on publisher's site