Dr. Allan Chapman to deliver annual lecture on the history of space travel

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sept. 15, 2009) — Professor Allan Chapman of the University of Oxford, lead lecturer on Bemidji State University’s Eurospring Program, will be presenting his annual lecture to the Bemidji community on Monday, Sept. 21. His lecture, “From Moon Men to Black Holes: How 400 Years of the Telescope Has Reshaped Our Reality,” will be delivered at 3:00 p.m in room 208 of Sattgast Hall on the Bemidji State campus

The year 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of man’s realization of its ancient dream of travel to another world. The July, 1969 moon landing by the crew and support teams of Apollo 13 marked the culmination of a journey imagined more than three centuries earlier when Reverend Dr. John Wilkins devised a flying chariot he hoped might carry him to the moon, just as ships carried people across the ocean.

Chapman’s lecture will provide a glimpse at a whole range of people who thought seriously, humorously and sometimes crazily about space travel in the 350 years preceeding the Apollo mission. His subjects will include Edgar Allen Poe, who wrote a scientifically-based space travel tale in the mid-1800s, Jules Verne, who penned an 1869 novel describing a space ship fired from a giant cannon in Florida, and Robert Goddard, whose successful launch of the first liquid fuel rocket from his aunt’s farm in Massachusetts officially kicked off man’s race to the moon.

“The history of space travel, both real and imaginary, has always had a powerful impact on human aspiration and achievement,” Chapman said. “In addition to the real-life modern heroes, in earlier bids to fly to the moon one encounters a colorful collection of characters, strange contraptions and great acts of daring.”

From Wadham College of Oxford University in England, Chapman presents an annual fall program at Bemidji State while on campus to discuss Eurospring, Bemidji State’s oldest international study program which is offered during the spring semester.

Eurospring originated in the mid 1970s, and over the decades hundreds of Bemidji State students have taken advantage of the benefits that international study brings through the program.

Chapman has been with Eurospring from its inception, and his involvement has been one of its strongest components. His annual lecture is considered one of the highlights of the academic year at Bemidji State.

The main lecturer for Eurospring, he is the author of “Mary Somerville and the World of Science.” He has made two television series, “Gods in the Sky” and “Great Scientists,” and has been featured on several BBC radio discussions on history.

He has served as visiting professor in the history of science at Gresham College, a 400-year-old London institution of considerable academic prestige, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Central Lanchashire.

Chapman was invited by the Danish government and the Danish Crown to write on Danish scientific connections with China from 1600 to the present, and also was invited to lecture in Copenhagen in 2006 at the Nils Bohr Institute as part of the same project.

More information on the lecture and on Eurospring is available by contacting Bemidji State’s International Program Center at (218) 755-4096.

Sept. 21
— 3:00 p.m. — Bemidji State University hosts lecture by Dr. Allan Chapman, “Galileo: The Man, The Myth and The Discoverer” Location: Sattgast 208. Admission: Free. Information: (218) 755-4096.