Edmond Halley is one of astronomy’s most fascinating and colourful figures. A Londoner born and bred, his genius saw him elected FRS at 22. His career spanned celestial cartography, an Oxford Professorship, a daring explorer-captaincy in the Royal Navy, service as a diplomat, and Astronomer Royal. Meteorology, geology, and the ancient, pre-human history of the Earth were early subjects of original research for him. And he possessed great charm, humour, and a love of fun. I suspect that he was excellent company as well.
Allan Chapman is a historian of science and astronomy at Oxford University. A native of north Manchester, he studied at Lancaster and Oxford Universities. His 12th book, ‘Comets, Cosmology, and the Big Bang. A history of astronomy from Edmond Halley to Edwin Hubble, 1700-2000+’, is due for publication in October, 2018. The 2nd edition of his ‘Victorian Amateur Astronomer’ (1998) came out in December 2017. He received the 2015 Jackson Gwilt medal from the RAS in 2015, for his work in astronomical history. He is also proud to be President of the Society for the History of Astronomy, the William Herschel Society, other Societies as well. He is indebted to his wife Rachel for all her help and skills as a proof-reader, corrector, and general organiser, for he can lose or misplace anything, being an acknowledged ‘office disaster area’, and a dyslexic wrecker of any computer system. Both Allan and Rachel are committed Christians and are active in the area of science and religion.