allan chapman

Date: Saturday 15th October | Time: 3.30pm – 4.30pm

Prof Allan Chapman


Professor of the History of science  Oxford University

Allan Chapman is a British historian of science. Allan 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.


Lecture synopsis

‘2022;  a Double Anniversary for the founders of Deep Space Cosmology, Sir William and Sir John Herschel’.

“The true founders of modern deep-space cosmology were Sir William Herschel, assisted by his sister Caroline.  Up to Herschel’s time, the solar system had been the astronomers’ main concern. But what captivated Herschel, the self-taught ex-army bandsman and musician, was ‘the length, depth….and profundity’ of the stellar universe.  Herschel was also a speculum metal mirror figurer of genius, and the great telescopes which he built enabled him to discover over 2,500 new ‘nebulae’, or galaxies.  To pioneer the study of ‘deep space’, no less.
Sir William died 200 years ago, in August 1822, but by then his brilliant son, Sir John, would continue the ‘Herschel enterprise’, extending his father’s project into the Southern Hemisphere, to accomplish the first ‘whole sky’  survey.  This lecture will explore the achievement of William, Caroline, and John Herschel”.