Allan Chapman (historian)

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Allan Chapman
Born (1946-05-30) 30 May 1946 (age 72)
Swinton, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Citizenship British
Alma mater Lancaster University
Wadham College, Oxford
Scientific career
Fields History of science
Institutions University of Oxford

Allan Chapman FRAS (born 30 May 1946) is a British historian of science.


Allan Chapman was born in Swinton, Lancashire, England and grew up in the Pendlebury and Clifton districts of the then Swinton and Pendlebury borough. Having attended the local Cromwell Road Secondary Modern School for Boys, 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.[1] 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,[2] covering astronomical religion in early civilisations, and Great Scientists,[3] presenting the lives of five of the greatest thinkers. 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 June–July 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 biographies such as England's Leonardo on Robert Hooke.[4]

Chapman is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is a founder member and president of the Society for the History of Astronomy (SHA). He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Central Lancashire in 2004. He is the Honorary President and a member of Salford Astronomical Society, Honorary President of Reading Astronomical Society, Honorary President of the Mexborough & Swinton Astronomical Society,[5] Honorary President of Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)[6] and Vice-President of the Newbury Astronomical Society.[7]President of Preston and District Astronomical Society

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