School of Physics and Astronomy
Head of School
Professor of Astrophysics
- School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
Bill Chaplin is Head of School and head of the Solar & Stellar Physics Research group at the School of Physics and Astronomy at Birmingham. His research is focused on using observations of the natural oscillations of the Sun (helioseismology) and other stars (asteroseismology) to further our understanding of stellar evolution theory, the solar cycle and stellar variability more generally; and to use asteroseismology to characterise the Sun-like and red-giant hosts of newly discovered exoplanet systems. He is co-author on over 350 refereed papers in academic journals and has an H-index of 89.
He won the 2020 Institute of Physics Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize for revolutionary progress in the understanding of the stellar interiors of stars, through his leadership of the solar-type asteroseismology programme of the NASA Kepler mission
He is also the author and co-author of two books, one on helioseismology and one on asteroseismology. He is actively engaged in promoting solar and stellar research in both national and international media, and is overseeing a programme of engagement in the arts-science domain involving artists with a variety of different practices, titled PHYARTUoB.
Professor Chaplin has developed and delivered a major public engagement programme to enhance public engagement, interest, understanding and awareness of physics through outreach.
- Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCert), 2001
- PhD in stellar physics (asteroseismology), University of Birmingham,1993
- BSc Hons, Physics with Astrophysics, University of Birmingham, 1990
Bill Chaplin is Head of School and head of the Solar & Stellar Physics Research group at the School of Physics and Astronomy at Birmingham. His research is focused on using observations of the natural oscillations of the Sun (helioseismology) and other stars (asteroseismology) to further our understanding of stellar evolution theory, the solar cycle and stellar variability more generally; and to use asteroseismology to characterise the Sun-like and red-giant hosts of newly discovered exoplanet systems. His group runs the Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network (BiSON), an automated global network of helioseismology telescopes. He holds leadership roles associated with the asteroseismology programmes of the NASA Kepler and TESS Missions, and the ESA PLATO Mission.
He took his undergraduate degree and PhD at Birmingham, where for the latter he worked on collecting and analysing high-precision radial velocity data on cool stars. His focus switched soon after to helioseismology and the study of the Sun. After completing a European Space Agency research fellowship at ESTEC in the Netherlands, he returned to Birmingham to take up a permanent academic position. With the advent of a new generation of satellite missions and telescopes, his research objectives widened once more to include other cool stars, and a strong overlap with the exoplanet field.
He has served on various committees and advisory panels. He currently chairs two UK Space Agency Committees, the Solar Missions Post Launch Support Committee and Solar Orbiter Programme Management Board, is a core member of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Science Board, and is an elected member of the Council of the Royal Astronomical Society. He was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society Harold Jeffery’s Lectureship in 2012.
- School Coordinator for astrophysics teaching
- UG Y1 Cosmic Connection, lecture module (Widening Horizons Module)
- UG Y2 Structure in the Universe, lecture module
- UG Y3 Asteroseismology & Exoplanets Group Studies, student group project
- UG Y3 & Y4 Asteroseismology & Exoplanets, lecture module, lecture module
- UG Y3 & Y4 Critiques
PhDs in helioseismology and asteroseismology
- Helioseismology: structure and dynamics of the solar interior, the solar activity cycle
- Asteroseismology: studies of cool solar-type stars, stellar evolution, stellar activity, characterisation of exoplanet systems, stellar populations studies
- Member, TESS Asteroseismic Science Consortium (TASC) Board, 2015 –
- Lead, TASC Working Groups on Exoplanet Host Stars, and Sun-Like Stars, 2015 –
- Lead, PLATO Mission Consortium, PLATO Science Preparation Management Work packages on Asteroseismic Data Analysis (PSM128), 2015 –
- P. I. Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network (BiSON), 2014 –
- Appointed by NASA to Kepler Nominal Mission Closeout Review Panel, 2014
- Member, Kepler User’s Panel, 2013 – 2016
- Member Kepler Asteroseismic Investigation Steering Committee, 2013 –
- Member, SPACEINN (EU-FP7 Consortium) Management Board, 2012 – 2017
- Elected member, Kepler Science Council (latterly Kepler Exoplanet Council), 2012 – 2014
- Co-chair of Board, Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium (KASC) and Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS III) APOGEE collaboration, 2012 – 2014
- Lead, asteroseismology-exoplanet programme, Kepler Asteroseismic Science Operations Centre (KASOC), 2011 –
- Chair, Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium Working Group 1 ‘Solar-Like Oscillators’ (NASA Kepler Mission), 2009 –
- Member, Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium Steering Committee, 2008 –
- Chair STFC Review of ESA M5 Mission Candidates, 2018
- Elected Member, Council of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2018 –
- Core Member, STFC Science Board, 2017 –
- Chair, UK Space Agency Solar Orbiter Programme Management Board, 2017 –
- Member, STFC Solar Physics Facilities Review Panel, 2017
- Member, ERC Grant Universe Sciences Panel, 2016 –
- Member, Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) Fellowships Panel, 2015
- Chair, UK Space Agency Solar Post Launch Support Oversight Committee, 2013 –
- Elected member, UK Solar Physics Council, 2007 – 2011
- Member, STFC Astrogrid Science Advisory Group, 2001 – 2008
Chaplin, W. J., et al. (over 50 authors) (2011), Ensemble asteroseismology of solar-type stars with the NASA Kepler Mission, Science, 332, 213
Chaplin, W. J., et al. (over 50 authors) (2011), Evidence for the impact of stellar activity on the detectability of solar-like oscillations observed by Kepler, Astrophysical Journal, 732, L5
Chaplin, W. J., et al. (over 50 authors) (2011), Predicting the detectability of oscillations in solar-type stars observed by Kepler, Astrophysical Journal, 732, 54
Chaplin, W. J., et al. (over 100 authors) (2010), The asteroseismic potential of Kepler: first results for solar-type stars, Astrophysical Journal, 713, L169
View all publications in research portal
Languages and other information
Bill leades the seismic study of solar-type stars for the NASA Kepler Mission.
Bill is actively engaged in promoting solar and stellar research in both national and international media, including recent appearances on the BBC to discuss results from Kepler.
Bill was also part of NASA press conference in Denmark took place detailing his work into the oscillations of stars using the Kepler spacecraft (results covered in the Daily Telegraph).
Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office