Person: Chapman, Sydney
Sydney Chapman was a British mathematician and geophysicist who worked on gas dynamics, geomagnetism and the ionosphere.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Following this advice, Chapman entered the Royal Technical Institute, Salford (which is now the University of Salford).
- In 1904, at the age of 16, Sydney entered the University of Manchester and there he studied engineering in the department headed by Osborne Reynolds.
- In mathematics he was taught by Lamb, the professor of mathematics, and J E Littlewood who arrived from Cambridge in Chapman's final year at Manchester.
- At Lamb's suggestion Chapman tried for a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge and, being successful, entered Trinity in 1908.
- Chapman's progress was so remarkable that he was able to start research while still an undergraduate but he was unsure whether to go in the direction of pure or applied mathematics.
- After Chapman graduated from Cambridge in 1910 the astronomer royal, Frank Dyson, offered him the position of senior assistant at Greenwich Observatory.
- To counter this trend, Chapman began to analyse data relating to the way that the Sun and Moon influence terrestrial phenomena.
- Despite his depression Chapman's research did not suffer.
- The next few years turned out to be the least productive period in Chapman's research career.
- Between 1928 and 1932 Chapman returned to work on gas dynamics, extending the methods he had developed earlier.
- Chapman, when asked shortly before his death which work he had undertaken since retiring he had found most interesting, replied that it was his work on thermal diffusion in highly ionised gases, his work on magnetic storms, his work on instability along magnetic neutral lines, and his work on noctilucent clouds.
- He was an enthusiastic cyclist, swimmer and walker, and both on his visits to foreign universities or to international conferences, however varied the available modes of transport might be, Chapman could always be relied on to arrive on a bicycle.
Born 29 January 1888, Eccles (near Manchester), England. Died 16 June 1970, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin England
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive