Hon. President & Patron Dr Allan Chapman FRAS
We are honoured and delighted that Dr Allan Chapman has agreed to serve as a patron and honorary President of Mexborough & Swinton Astronomical Society.
Allan Chapman was born in Manchester, Lancashire, England and grew up in the Pendlebury and Clifton districts of the then Borough of Swinton and Pendlebury. Having attended the local Cromwell Road Secondary Modern School for Boys (now the Swinton High School), Sefton Road, Pendlebury (1957-1962) he then gained his first degree from the University of Lancaster. Subsequently he undertook a history of science DPhil at Wadham College, Oxford. He is a historian by training and his special interests are astronomy and scientific biography.
Chapman has been based at Oxford University for most of his career, as a member of the Faculty of History, based at Wadham College. He is an accomplished lecturer and public speaker (including as visiting professor at Gresham College in London). In January 1994, he delivered the Royal Society history of science Wilkins Lecture, on the subject of Edmund Halley.
He is also a television presenter, notably Gods in the Sky, covering astronomical religion in early civilizations, and Great Scientists, presenting the lives of five of the greatest thinkers. He has also appeared many times on the long-running BBC programme The Sky At Night.
Not averse to other forms of television, he also participated in the TV quiz University Challenge "The Professionals" as part of the Royal Astronomical Society team, broadcast in 2006.
Chapman teaches for the study abroad programme of Eurospring for Minnesota State University, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA and Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota, USA.
He has written many books including
- The Victorian Amateur Astronomer: Independent Astronomical Research in Britain, 1820-1920, Allan Chapman. Praxis Publishing, Wiley-Praxis Series in Astronomy & Astrophysics, 1996.
- Astronomical Instruments and Their Users: Tycho Brahe to William Lassell, Allan Chapman. Ashgate, Variorum Collected Studies, 1996.
- Patrick Moore's Millennium Yearbook: The View from AD 1001, Patrick Moore and Allan Chapman. Springer-Verlag, 1999.
- Gods in the Sky: Astronomy from the Ancients to the Enlightenment, Allan Chapman. Channel 4 Books, 2002.
- Mary Somerville: And the World of Science, Allan Chapman. Canopus Publishing, 2004.
- England's Leonardo: Robert Hooke and the Seventeenth-century Scientific Revolution, Allan Chapman. Institute of Physics Publishing, 2004.
Chapman is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is a founder member and president of the Society for the History of Astronomy. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Central Lancashire in 2004.