Mr Starman

Mr Starman

What makes some of us determined to fulfil our dreams, where others give up? This is a question I found myself asking when I first met Allan Chapman. Nowadays, he is a highly respected astronomer and historian. He took over the presidency of the Herschel Society when his friend Patrick Moore died. He lectures and writes on science and history, and turns up on Brian Cox’s television programmes. Yet he left school with no qualifications and none of his teachers thought he would amount to very much. In fact, when he was back in Lancaster, after finally making it to Oxford, he met one of his previous teachers, and when he told the teacher what he was doing, the reply was, “Pull the other one, Chapman!”
Yet the signs were always there, for anyone looking for them. While not getting on particularly well at school, even as a lad, he was making telescopes at home… How come?

“I was fascinated by the moon. The little terraced pit cottage we lived in (before being rehoused to the palatial gra...

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