Papers of Sydney Chapman, FRS
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Original catalogue by Jeannine Alton and Harriot Weiskittel; EAD version by
Department of Special Collections
Extent: 1 box, 76 fols.
Language of Material: English
Sydney Chapman, FRS, (29 January 1888 - 16 June 1970) was a mathematician and
geophysicist. He was born in Eccles, near Salford in England. He attended the Royal
Technical Institute, Salford (now the University of Salford). In 1904 he entered
Manchester University, where he obtained a B.Sc. in Engineering (1907) and a B.Sc.
in Mathematics (1908).
Chapman persued his study of mathematics at Trinity College, and in his final year he
was appointed Senior Assistant at the Greenwich Observatory, where he remained until
A pacifist, Chapman was exempted from military service, and returned to Cambridge as
a college lecturer in 1914. He was asked to return to the Observatory in 1916, and
he remained until 1918.
In 1919 Chapman was appointed Professor of Mathematics at Manchester University, the
same year he was made a Fellow of The Royal Society. In 1922 he married Katherine
Nora (they subsequently had three sons and a daughter).
In 1924 Chapman became Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College, London, where he
remained until 1946. During this time he co-authored Geomagnetism
with Julius Bartels and with T.G. Cowling The Mathematical Theory of
non-Uniform Gases. No longer a pacifist, he undertook civilian war work,
and in 1943-1945 worked for the army counil on problems of military operational
From 1946-1953 Chapman was Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at Oxford
University and a Fellow of Queen's College. After his retirement from Oxford he
divided his time between the Geophysical Institute in Alaska and the High Altitude
Observatory in Boulder, Colorado. He died in Boulder in 1970 after a short
Preferred Form of Citation
MS. Eng. misc. c. 851, fols. 1-3.
The disposition of Sydney Chapman's scientific papers, books, journals,
correspondence, etc. has been made according to the following plan. Prior to any
action being taken this plan was circulated to Mr. Cecil Chapman - Sydney's son, Dr.
Syun-Ichi Akasofu and Dr. Keith B. Mather of the Geophysical Institute of the
University of Alaska, and Dr. Gordon Newkirk of the High Altitude Observatory. These
people all have expressed their agreement with the proposed disposition of the
- The complete collection of scientific papers authored by Sydney and his
collaborators has been sent to the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska,
for archiving. The Institute will microfilm the papers, and one copy of the film
will be kept at HAO. HAO and the Institute will share equally the cost of the
- Scientific papers (reprints) by other authors but belonging to Sydney have
been sent to the Geophysical Institute.
- Books authored by Sydney, i.e., Geomagnetism and The
Mathematical Theory of non-Uniform Gases, which were his personal
copies used at HAO have been sent to Cecil Chapman in England.
- Hard bound old books that belonged to Mrs. Katherine Chapman have been sent to
- The remaining scientific books have been distributed as needed first to the
HAO library, then to the NCAR library, and then to the Geophysical
- Duplicate copies of Sydney's authored papers have been kept by HAO as part of
the organization's reprint files for distribution to those requesting
- The complete correspondence files have been sent to the Geophysical Institute
where they will be permanently archived. The Institute will microfilm the files,
and one copy of the film will be kept at NCAR. HAO and the Institute will share
equally the expense of the microfilming.
- Certain personal files have been removed and destroyed by Doris Fisher at the
request of Cecil Chapman.
- Certain other files relating to the Geomagnetic Source Book that was being
jointly authored by Sydney and David G. Knapp have been sent to Mr. Knapp at the
National Ocean Survey, Rockville, Maryland. This step was taken, with Cecil
Chapman's concurrence, to allow Mr. Knapp to complete the nearly finished
manuscript for the book.
|Papers of and relating to Professor Chapman
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. misc. c. 851
Former ref: C.S.A.C 11/5/74
Language of Material: English
Extent: 76 fols.
Scope and Content:
The papers consist mainly of biographical information assembled by Professor T.G.
Cowling for his Royal Society Memoir of Chapman. There are also a small number of
letters exchanged between Chapman and Cowling.
- Fols. 1-26 Memoir, by
T.G. Cowling. (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of The Royal Society,
Vol.17, 1971); biographical note by Syun-I Akasofu on Chapman's personal
and scientific life, 1970.
- Fols. 27-41 Correspondence on the location
of Chapman's papers with S-I Akasofu, and with T.G. Cowling on documents
passed on by him.
- Fols. 42-53 Correspondence between Chapman
and Cowling 1962-1970 (mainly on corrections for The Mathematical
Theory of non-Uniform Gases by Chapman and Cowling, 3rd.
ed., revised with the co-operation of D.Burnett, 1970; also some
- Fols. 54-64 3 letters from Cecil Chapman
(son) to T.G. Cowling, and notes on Cowling's draft for the Royal Society
- Fols. 65-76 Miscellaneous correspondence
with T.G. Cowling on Chapman. Correspondents include: Gordon Newkirk,
David Crawford, P.C. Kendall, H. Levy, Esther Simpson, Cecily Tanner,
and Donald Sadler. 1970-1972.
Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
09 February 2017