Allan Chapman (historian)

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Allan Chapman
Born (1946-05-30) 30 May 1946 (age 77)
Swinton, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Alma materLancaster University
Wadham College, Oxford
Scientific career
FieldsHistory of science
InstitutionsUniversity 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.

Dr. Allan Chapman 18th century style silhouette by Carlos Fuentes y Espinosa.

Chapman has been based at the University of Oxford 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 formerly taught the study abroad programme of Eurospring for Minnesota State University, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA and Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota, USA. This responsibility has since been handed off to BSU professor Pat Donnay.

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

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • William Crabtree 1610–1644: Manchester's First Mathematician, Allan Chapman. Manchester Statistical Society, 1996. ISBN 0-85336-132-0.
  • The Victorian Amateur Astronomer: Independent Astronomical Research in Britain, 1820–1920, Allan Chapman. Praxis Publishing, Wiley-Praxis Series in Astronomy & Astrophysics, 1996. ISBN 0-471-96257-0. Second edition, Publisher, Gracewing. ISBN 978-0-8524-4544-0-100. 2017.
  • Astronomical Instruments and Their Users: Tycho Brahe to William Lassell, Allan Chapman. Ashgate, Variorum Collected Studies, 1996. ISBN 0-86078-584-X.
  • Patrick Moore's Millennium Yearbook: The View from AD 1001, Patrick Moore and Allan Chapman. Springer-Verlag, 1999. ISBN 1-85233-619-6.
  • Gods in the Sky: Astronomy from the Ancients to the Enlightenment, Allan Chapman. Channel 4 Books, 2002. ISBN 0-7522-6164-9.
  • Mary Somerville: And the World of Science, Allan Chapman. Canopus Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0-9537868-4-6.
  • England's Leonardo: Robert Hooke and the Seventeenth-century Scientific Revolution, Allan Chapman. Institute of Physics Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0-7503-0987-3.
  • Robert Hooke and the English Renaissance, Allan Chapman and Paul Kent (editors). Gracewing, 2005. ISBN 0-85244-587-3.
  • Slaying the Dragons: Destroying Myths in the History of Science and Faith, Allan Chapman. Lion Hudson, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7459-5583-4.
  • Physicians, Plagues and Progress: the History of Western Medicine from Antiquity to Antibiotics, Allan Chapman. Lion Hudson, 2016. ISBN 978-0-7459-6895-7.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]