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Professor to speak on space travel

Professor Allan Chapman, lead lecturer for Bemidji State University's Eurospring Program, will present information to the public on space travel 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 p.m. in Room 208 of Sattgast Hall at BSU. Admission is free.

This year marked the 40th anniversary of humanity's ancient dream of traveling to another world. The 1969 moon landing of Apollo 13 marked a journey imagined more than three centuries earlier by the Rev. John Wilkins, who devised a flying chariot in hopes of carrying him to the moon.

Chapman's lecture will provide a glimpse of a range of people who thought seriously and humorously about space travel in the 350 years preceding 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 officially kicked off humanity'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," said Chapman.

"In early bids to fly to the moon, one encounters a colorful collection of characters, strange contraptions and great acts of daring," he said.

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

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.

Fro details on the lecture and Eurospring, call BSU's International Program Center at 755-4096.