Stellar Structure


It has frequently been stated, by myself amongst others, that it is necessary to assume in the inside of stars a temperature of the order of mc2/k in order to explain the generation of energy by the annihilation of matter, m being the mass destroyed in each process, c the velocity of light, and k Boltzmann's constant. This letter is written in order to make clear that this assumption is not necessary. It is perfectly true that the equilibrium constant of a process, subject to the laws of thermodynamics, is of the order, ϵ the energy of the process in this case, of course, being equal to mc2. The equilibrium constant does not, however, determine the generation of energy. What one is concerned with in the case of a star is the rate at which energy is produced; in other words, if one presupposes the simplest process of annihilation, the rate at which protons and electrons disappear in the form of radiation. This is analogous to the rate of chemical reaction, not to the equilibrium constant of a reversible reaction.

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

LINDEMANN, F. Stellar Structure. Nature 127, 269 (1931).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.