Professor William Chaplin


School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Years to serve
+44 (0) 121 414 4599

BSc, PhD, PGCert, FRAS. Professor of Astrophysics (Birmingham); Core Member STFC Science Board (2017 –), Chair, UK Space Agency Solar Orbiter Programme Management Board (2017 –), Member, ERC Universe Sciences Grant Panel (2016 –), Chair, UK Space Agency Solar Post Launch Support Committee (2013 –)

Special Interests: Helioseismology & asteroseismology; the solar interior, solar cycle; solar and stellar evolution; characterisation of exoplanet systems; interdisciplinary engagement between scientists and artists

My research is focused on using observations of the natural oscillations of the Sun (helioseismology) and other Sun-like stars (asteroseismology) to further our understanding of solar/stellar evolution theory, the solar cycle and stellar variability more generally. I am also interested in characterising newly discovered exoplanet systems through precise and accurate determination of the properties of the host stars.

I chair two UK Space Agency committees covering solar/STP missions, and recently served on two ad hoc committees that reviewed programmatic requirements in the solar (STFC Solar Physics Facilities Review Panel, 2017) and wider astrophysics domains (UK Space Agency Operations Review Panel 2015 – 2016). I have also just joined the core membership of STFC Science Board. My group continues to operate the Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network (BiSON); I also hold international leadership positions associated with the NASA Kepler/K2 Missions, and the NASA TESS Mission.

Whilst I am seeking election under the “G” heading, the fact that my research extends beyond the solar community means I believe I am well placed to help flag and promote new opportunities involving the wider RAS community. My interest in opportunities associated with interdisciplinary interactions and collaboration extends to the outreach and public engagement domains, where for several years now I have initiated and been involved in projects involving artists. This art-science thread has provided novel opportunities to use art to “draw in” audiences to engage with science.  I believe there are opportunities for the RAS to use such engagements – e.g. for the upcoming “RAS 200” anniversary – as a means to reach new audiences, such as members of the general public who are interested in art but would not usually have an interest in, or think about, science.

My commitment to helping RAS improve diversity, equality and inclusion would focus on two of the five key RAS objectives – promoting equality of opportunity; and welcoming applications from all backgrounds – in particular engaging with underprivileged communities in disadvantaged areas, including schoolchildren.


RAS Councillor