Meet the SHA Council
Chairman Bob Bower
Bob is a retired RAF officer and aerospace company director who has been passionate about astronomy for the past 60 years. His particular interest is the history and construction of reflecting telescope optics. His current project is the building of a 16 inch Dobsonian binocular. The mirrors for it started life as portholes in a German WW1 battlecruiser which was scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919.
General Secretary Laura Carroll
Treasurer Dr Geoff A. King
Geoff is a geophysicist by training and profession. He spent much of his early working life in academic and industrial research and development, in later years moving to operations and technology management. Having had an international career with several multinationals he is now retired from full time work and runs a small consulting company. His interests include solar, lunar and variable star astronomy, together with learning more about the development of astronomy and cosmology from ancient civilizations to the present.
Membership Secretary Gerard Gilligan
I first became interested in the great science of Astronomy when I was 8 years old, following the Apollo 8 mission around the Moon. I soon took a book off a school library shelf – and yes it was written by Patrick Moore. My mum brought me my own astronomy book and a pair of binoculars for the Christmas of 1969, and after all that I was hooked!
I have many interests within astronomy, and following man’s interest in exploring space, both with manned and unmanned space craft. I enjoy giving talks on astronomy to both astronomical societies, groups, and during outreach events. But my particular interest is the history of Astronomy, both locally and nationally, and I am a founder member of the SHA.
My ongoing research interests are Victorian astronomers William Lassell, William Benjamin Hutchinson, Bidston Observatory, and the History of Liverpool Astronomical Society.
SHA Survey Co-ordinator Kevin Johnson
Living in Berkshire, Kevin formerly worked in the museum sector before deciding to use his green fingers to re-train as a horticulturist. With a lifelong interest in astronomy, I have an avid interest in the history of the subject, the amateur’s role and astronomical education. Having edited the SHA journal, Antiquarian Astronomer, I am now co-coordinating the society’s survey of astronomy. When not in my observatory scanning the sky, I can be found perched on snow-capped peaks in the Austrian Alps or nearer to home.
Librarian James Dawson
James lives in Nottinghamshire and is an anaesthetist by profession, and he never tires of hearing jokes about putting people to sleep. As well as being the Librarian for the SHA he is also the SHA’s County Co-ordinator for Nottinghamshire, hoping to continue the excellent work Madeline Cox had begun. James is interested in solar system imaging and DSLR wide-field astrophotography, and about the life and times of Victorian and 20th century astronomers, both professional and amateur.
Publicity Secretary Mike Leggett
Originally from Lincolnshire, Mike lives in Milton Keynes, which has been his home since 1993. He worked for 10 years in academic research and industrial development as a chemist before retraining as a technical author. He currently works as programme manager in London, which he has done for over 20 years.
SHA Publicity Officer and a Council Member, Mike is also a participant in the SHA Survey of Astronomical History of the UK and is currently co-ordinator for Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Rutland. He also speaks at historical and astronomical societies on a regular basis about astronomical history, planetary sciences, astrobiology and astronautics, reflecting a broad interest in the past, present and potential future of astronomy and the space sciences.
Editors, SHA Bulletin Len Adam and Carolyn Kennett
Carolyn lives in the far south west of Cornwall. She likes to write, although you will often find her walking the tinners tracks and coastal pathways found in the local countryside. She is the survey coordinator for Cornwall and Dorset. As well as researching local astronomy history, she has a passion for 18th and 19th maritime astronomy and archaeoastronomy.
Len trained as an Electrical Engineer originally (UMIST and CEGB ) then moved into Further Education, moving from college to college and from astronomical society to astronomical society in each college location. He was a member of Wolverhampton Astronomical Society twice- the first time when he was Flight Lieutenant Adam at RAF Cosford where he set up an Astronomical Society on the base and built an observatory adjacent to the runway and then again when he was a consultant at a school in Telford. He has finally retired (June 2016) and relinquished his post as Chairman of Lancashire Digital Ltd, so can now at 71 spend all his time on astronomy. He has been unsuccessfully searching for supernovae for several years and spends his time migrating between Lancashire, where his children and grandchildren live, Norfolk, where he is a member of the Norwich Astro Society and Spain where he is hoping to build a permanent observatory in the very near future. He is particularly interested in the amateur astronomers of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Editor, SHA e-News David Sellers
David grew up in the Calder Valley, near Halifax. He is a civil engineer by profession and, before retirement, was the Flood Risk Manager of Leeds City Council. He is a founder member of the SHA and is particularly interested in the history of positional astronomy – especially in the 17th-18th centuries.
David is the author of books on the transit of Venus and on the life of William Gascoigne, the first inventor of the telescopic sight and the telescope micrometer. Taking a special delight in the intertwining of social and technological history, he has also written a short book on the somewhat unsavoury topic of The History of Sewerage in Leeds. He is currently writing a biography of the Victorian astronomer and educationalist, Charles Thomas Whitmell. When not pursuing arcane historical research, he can often be found listening to Greek folk music.
Online Editor John W. Chuter
John has been interested in Astronomy from the age of seven when he read ‘The larousse Encyclopaedia of Astronomy’ from cover to cover, What fascinated him was the enormous scale of everything. Since then he has belonged to several local and national astronomical societies and joined the SHA when he realised that he was becoming increasingly interested in the History of Astronomy, both locally and further afield.
Archivist Mark Hurn
Editor, The Antiquarian Astronomer Ian Ridpath
Ian is editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and author of many popular books on astronomy. He is a winner of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s award for outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. His main interests are the history and mythology of the constellations, which he wrote about in his book Star Tales, and he collects antique star atlases. Ian is a former Council member of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a member of the International Astronomical Union
Assistant Librarian Carolyn Bedwell
Historical Records Officer Anthony Kinder