Chapman, Sydney, 1888-1970

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1888-01-29
Death 1970-06-16
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

Physicist (geophysics of the upper atmosphere). On the mathematics and natural philosophy faculty at University of Manchester (1919-1924); and Imperial College, London (1924-1926); on the natural philosophy faculty at Oxford University (1946-1953); and member of research staff, High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, Colorado from 1955.

From the description of Papers, 1962-1970. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155006652

Physicist (geophysics, physics of the upper atmosphere). On the mathematics and natural philosophy faculty at the University of Manchester, 1919-1924; and Imperial College, London, 1924-1926; on the natural philosophy faculty at Oxford University, 1946-1953; and member of research staff, High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, Colorado, from 1955.

From the description of Festschrift material [microform], 1968. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78113845

Physicist (geophysics, physics of the upper atmosphere). On the mathematics and natural philosophy faculty at University of Manchester (1919-1924); and Imperial College, London (1924-1926); on the natural philosophy faculty at Oxford University (1946-1953); and member of research staff, High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, Colorado from 1955.

From the description of College files and manuscript notes, 1908-1970. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78228362

Sydney Chapman was born near Eccles, Lancashire, and attended the Royal Technical Institute, Salford (now the University of Salford) at the age of 14,before going on to complete his education at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge. After a teaching career at the Universities of Manchester, London and Oxford, he moved in 1953 to the Geophysical Institute, Alaska and to the High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, Colorado. He made major contributions to stellar dynamics, geomagnetism, meteorology and to the kinetic theory of gases. Chapman was elected FRS in 1919. He was due to receive an honorary degree from Salford in July 1970 but died the month before.

From the guide to the Sydney Chapman Collection, 1953-1970, (University of Salford, Information Services Division)

Professor of Geophysics and Advisory Scientific Director of the Geophysical Institute from 1951-1970.

From the description of Science and scientists, some recollections, 1904 ... [sound recording]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154305871

Sydney Chapman (1888-1970) is known for his contributions in the field of geomagnetic theory.

From the description of Sydney Chapman Papers, 1860-1972. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 309461947

Physicist (geophysics, physics of the upper atmosphere). On the mathematics and natural philosophy faculty at the University of Manchester (1919-1924); and Imperial College, London (1924-1926); on the natural philosophy faculty at Oxford University (1946-1953); member of research staff, High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, Colorado from 1955; on geophysics faculty of the University of Alaska and Advisory Scientific Director of its Geophysical Institute from 1955.

From the description of Papers, 1860-1972. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122469764

From the description of Papers of Sydney Chapman, 1860-1972. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154306445

Physicist (geophysics, physics of the upper atmosphere). On the mathematics and natural philosophy faculty at the University of Manchester (1919-1924); and Imperial College, London (1924-1926); on the natural philosophy faculty at Oxford University (1946-1953); member of research staff, High Altitude Observatory, boulder, Colorado from 1955; on geophysics faculty of the University of Alaska and Advisory Scientific Director of its Geophysical Institute from 1955.

(Written by Dr. Gregory A. Good [Used by permission of the publisher and the author])

CHAPMAN, Sydney (29 January 1888-16 June 1970), geophysicist and applied mathematician, was born in Eccles, Lancashire, near Manchester, England, the son of Joseph Chapman, chief cashier of a textile firm, and Sarah Louisa Gray. He married Katharine Nora Steinthal in 1922. They had three sons and one daughter. Chapman was a religious non-conformist and pacifist early in life, then an evangelical Anglican, and finally progressively less religious. He forswore pacifism to counter fascism during World War Two.

Chapman's early education emphasized mathematics and science. He entered Royal Technical Institute in Lancashire in 1902. He was awarded a competitive scholarship to study at Manchester University, where he earned a B.Sc. with first class honors in engineering in 1907 in mathematics in 1908. At Manchester he studied under well-known scientists Osborne Reynolds, Horace Lamb, and J.E. Littlewood.

In 1908 Chapman moved to Trinity College, Cambridge, on advice from Littlewood that a degree from Cambridge University was necessary if he wished to become a mathematician. As he later reflected, at Cambridge he began to live. He began on partial scholarship (sizarship) and in 1909 was promoted to a full scholarship. He completed his studies and examinations (First Wrangler, 1910) in two years, but a third year was required for the degree (B.A. in Mathematics, 1911). He studied with Joseph Larmor, G.H. Hardy and associated with A.N. Whitehead, Bertrand Russell, and L. Hogben. He also obtained a D.Sc. at Manchester and an M.A. at Cambridge in 1914.

Chapman's ability to see uses for mathematics in physical science characterized his research. His early work with G.H. Hardy at Cambridge concerned non-convergent series. His future was indicated more directly by his simultaneous investigation of gas theory related to the flow of rarefied gases in narrow tubes. In 1916 and 1917 he published a complete theory of non-uniform gases and a study of gas mixtures, predicting thermal diffusion. These results, independently and simultaneously developed by the Swede David Enskog, were later used to separate isotopes. Chapman explored the implications of these results for diffusion in Earth's upper atmosphere, the damping of sound waves, the electrical conductivity of Earth's ionosphere, and the solar corona.

In 1910, before Chapman had completed his degree requirements, the Royal Astronomer, Frank Dyson, selected him as one of his two chief assistants. The other was Arthur Eddington. Dyson assigned Chapman to establish a new geomagnetic observatory at Greenwich. This was his first contact with geomagnetic instruments and measurements. It determined the direction of the rest of his career. This position connected him with the foremost geomagnetic theorist Arthur Schuster, who sat on the Board of Visitors of Greenwich. Chapman held this position until 1914, and from 1916 to 1918.

Chapman's primary research thereafter lay in geomagnetic theory. He changed institutions many times during his career: to Manchester in 1919 as Professor of Mathematics, to Imperial College of Science and Technology in London in 1924 (also as Professor of Mathematics), to Queen's College, Oxford in 1946 as Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy, to California Institute of Technology in 1950 as a research associate, to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska in 1951, to the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado in 1955, and to the University of Michigan's Institute of Science and Technology as Senior Research Scientist from 1959 to 1965. Indeed, the last three positions were held simultaneously and he traveled extensively as a visiting scientist throughout his career. The common thread among these changes was his investigation of geomagnetism and related phenomena.

Chapman concentrated on theoretical questions to counterbalance others' emphasis on observation. With few exceptions, geomagnetic research had focused on measurement of geomagnetic variables and their mapping on the globe since the 1830s.

In a time when most geomagnetic investigators were minimally trained in physics, Chapman was one of an emerging number of theoretical physicists interested in explaining Earth's magnetic phenomena. He focused early on periodic changes in the geomagnetic field, such as the daily variations due to the Sun and Moon. He simultaneously investigated atmospheric tides, another phenomenon to which series could be applied. His exploration of the role of electrical currents induced in the atmosphere was based on earlier ideas of Balfour Stewart and Arthur Schuster.

By 1918 Chapman had become interested in magnetic storms, sudden disturbances of the magnetic field. Dyson had pointed out to him that these storms recur every 27 days, the period of the Sun's rotation. In the 1920s this interest broadened to solar-terrestrial relations generally. His first theory followed Kristian Birkeland's idea that magnetic storms are caused by the Sun ejecting a stream of particles of one electrical charge. Chapman later developed a theory based on an ejected ionized gas, with both positive and negative ions.

In the late 1920s, the Adams Prize question at Cambridge University was set: to develop a theory of geomagnetic phenomena. This was likely proposed with Chapman in mind. He submitted an essay and won the prize. From 1929, Chapman cooperated on the theory of magnetic storms with his student Vincenzo C.A. Ferraro. Throughout the 1930s, he also worked with Julius Bartels, ultimately publishing the classic two-volume text Geomagnetism, published in 1940.

Chapman received an extraordinary number of honors beyond those already listed. He was a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. The Royal Society of London elected him a Fellow in 1919, and awarded him its Royal Medal in 1934 and its Copley Medal in 1964. The American Geophysical Union chose Chapman for its Bowie Medal in 1962, the Royal Meteorological Society for its Symons Memorial Gold Medal in 1965, and the Smithsonian Institution for its Hodgkins Medal in the same year.

Chapman was president at various times of the International Association of Meteorology, International Association for Terrestrial Magnetism and Electricity, International Union for Geodesy and Geophysics, and of the Commission for the International Geophysical Year. He also presided over ten learned societies.

Chapman's simple tastes and austere manner were common knowledge among scientists, as were his persistence, his joy in work, and his love of exercise. He swam and walked every day and rode a bicycle from Montreal to Washington, D.C. in 1939 for the meeting of the IUGG. He published seven books and over four hundred articles and coined the words geomagnetism and aeronomy.

Bibliography

The main collection of Chapman's letters and papers is at the University of Alaska. His scientific career, and especially the details of his geomagnetic research, are discussed in T.G. Cowling, "Sydney Chapman, 1888-1970," Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Nov. 1971, 17: 52-89. This includes a nearly complete bibliography of Chapman's publications. Scores of his colleagues offered reminiscences and analyses of Chapman's work in the very useful book: Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Benson Fogle, and Bernhard Haurwitz, eds., Sydney Chapman, Eighty: From his Friends, Boulder, Colorado: National Center for Atmospheric Research and University of Colorado, 1968.

The International Geophysical year (IGY) has been described by Hugh Odishaw, the man chiefly responsible for organizing the vast American effort, as "the single most significant peaceful activity of mankind since the Renaissance and the Copernican Revolution" [Sullivan 1961:4].

This information is provided only to help the researcher understand the complex relationships present in the collection. For further information, see the bibliography.

Countries Which Participated in the IGY (from Wilson, J. Tuzo. IGY: The Year of the New Moons . Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1961.)

Argentina; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Bolivia; Brazil; Bulgaria; Burma; Canada; Ceylon; Chile; Colombia; Cuba; Czechoslovakia; Denmark; Dominican Republic; East Africa; Ecuador; Egypt; Ethiopia; Finland; France; German Democratic Republic; German Federal Republic; Ghana; Greece; Guatemala; Hungary; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Iran; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jugoslavia; Korea (Democratic People's Republic); Malaya; Mexico; Mongolian People's Republic; Morocco; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Pakistan; Panama; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Rhodesia and Nyasaland; Romania; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Taiwan (Academia Sinica); Thailand; Tunisia; Union of South Africa; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; United Kingdom; United States of America; Uruguay; Venezuela; Viet-Nam (Democratic Republic); Viet-Nam (Republic).

A committee formed by the People's Republic of China in September 1955 withdrew in June 1957.

Personnel

Different sources agree overall on the personnel of the various committees; however there are a few variations. These variations may be due to committee changes after time of publication, the year of the list, or other factors. Therefore lists from several sources are included; nearly all the names are represented in the collection.

Bureau of the Comité Spécial de l'Aneé Géophysique Internationale 1957-1958 (CSAGI) (With Dates of Appointment and Bodies Represented)

S. Chapman (U.K.), President, 1953, ICSU L.V. Berkner (U.S.A.), Vice-President, 1952, ICSU M. Nicolet (Belgium), Secretary General, 1952, ICSU V.V. Beloussov (U.S.S.R.), Member, 1955, IUGG J. Coulomb (France), Member, 1952, IUGG

IGY Subjects: Their Reporters, with Dates Of Appointment and the Bodies They Represented

World Days - A.H. Shapley (U.S.A.), 1956, URSI Meteorology - J. van Meighem (Belgium), 1953, WMO Geomagnetism - V. Laursen (Denmark), 1952, IUGG Aurora and Air Glow - S. Chapman (U.K.), 1953, ICSU Ionosphere - W.J.G. Benyon - (U.K.), 1952, URSI Solar Activity - H. Spencer Jones (U.K.), 1953-6, IAU; Y. Ohman (Sweden), 1956-8, IAU; M.A. Ellison (U.K.), 1958, IAU Cosmic Rays - J.A. Simpson (U.S.A.), 1952, IUPAP Longitude and Latitude - A. Danjon (France), 1953, IAU Glaciology - J.M. Wordie (U.K.), 1952, IGU Oceanography - G. Laclavère (France), 1953, IUGG Rockets and Satellites - L.V. Berkner (U.S.A.), 1952, ICSU Seismology - V.V. Beloussov (U.S.S.R.), 1955, IUGG Gravimetry - P. Tardi (France), 1953-6, IUGG; P. Lejay (France), 1956-8, IUGG Nuclear Radiation - M. Nicolet (Belgium), 1952, ICSU

Members of CSAGI, with Dates of Appointment And Bodies They Represented

Bureau Members (see above) Reporters (see above) M. Boelle (Italy), 1953, URSI A.F. Bruun (Denmark), 1955, IUBS E. Herbays (Belgium), 1952, ICSU J. van der Mark (Netherlands), 1956, CCIR B. van der Pol (Netherlands), 1956, CCIR H. Pushkov (U.S.S.R.), 1955, IUG T.E. Schumann (South Africa), 1953, WMO S. Vallarta (Mexico), 1954, IUPAP

International Council of Scientific Unions / Conseil International des Unions Scientifiques (from Guide to International Data Exchange through the World Data Centers (for the period 1960-onwards . Issued by the Comité Internationale de Géophysique through the CIG-IQSY Secretariat. London. November, 1963.)

Comité Internationale Géophysique (International Geophysical Committee)

Bureau President: W.J.G. Benyon (URSI) Bureau Vice-Presidents: V.V. Beloussov (IUGG); M.A. Pomerantz (IUPAP); G. Righini (IAU) Bureau Secretary: G.R. Laclavère World Days Reporter: A.H. Shapley (IUWDS) Meteorology Reporter: W.L. Godson (IUGG) Geomagnetism Reporter: V. Laurensen (IUGG) Air Glow Reporter: D. Barbier (IUGG) Aurora Reporter: J. Patton (IUGG) Ionosphere Reporter: W. Dieminger (URSI) Solar Activity Reporter: R. Michard (IAU) Cosmic Rays Reporter: S.N. Vernov (IUPAP) Longitude and Latitude Reporter: A. Danjon [Co-opted CSAGI Reporters] Glaciology Reporter: G. de Q. Robin (IUGG) Oceanography Reporter: V.G. Kort (IUGG) Seismology Reporter: F. Press (IUGG) Gravimetry Reporter: P. Tardi [Co-opted CSAGI Reporters] Nuclear Radiation Reporter: J. van Mieghem (IUGG) Paleogeophysics Reporter: T. Nagata (IUGG) Aeronomy Reporter: M. Nicolet (IUGG) World Data Center Representative (WDC-A): H. Odishaw World Data Center Representative (WDC-B): V.F. Burkhanov World Data Center Representative (WDC-C): T. Nagata Correspondent for Special Committees (COSPAR): J. Bartels Correspondent for Special Committees (SCAR): G. de Q. Robin Correspondent for Special Committees (SCOR): G.E.R. Deacon

For further information see:

Chapman, Sydney. IGY: Year of Discovery, the Story of the International Geophysical Year. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor. 1959. Guide to International Data Exchange through the World Data Centers (for the period 1960-onwards. Issued by the Comité Internationale de Géophysique through the CIG-IQSY Secretariat. London. November, 1963. Sullivan, Walter. Assault on the Unknown: The International Geophysical Year. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.: New York, Toronto, London. 1961. Wilson, J. Tuzo. IGY: The Year of the New Moons. Alfred A. Knopf: New York. 1961.

From the guide to the Sydney Chapman Papers, 1860-1972, (University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Polar Regions Collections & Archives)

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Subjects:

  • Geophysicists--Biography
  • International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958
  • Barometric pressure--Measurement
  • Geomagnetism
  • Electrostatics
  • Scientists
  • Geophysics--Learned insitutions and societies
  • Geophysics--Research
  • Physics--History
  • Stratosphere
  • Geophysics
  • Geophysics--International cooperation
  • Kinetic theory of gases
  • Solar wind
  • Geophysics--Learned institutions and societies
  • Auroras
  • Atmospheric pressure--Measurement
  • Universities and colleges
  • Geologists--Biography
  • Science
  • Ionosphere
  • Atmospheric physics

Occupations:

  • Physicists--Archives
  • Physicists
  • Geophysicists--Archives
  • Geophysicists--Alaska
  • Physicists--Biography

Places:

  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)