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Alan Chapman academic papers

Identifier: UA 0186
Finding aid note: Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via or call 713-348-2586.

Scope and Contents

Series I of this collection contains correspondence from 1956-2007, including correspondence regarding the publication of Chapman’s book “Heat Transfer” and revised editions. Series II contains research notes, articles, and reports, in particular those relating to collaboration with NASA on thermal equipment in space. Series III contains administrative materials from the Department of Engineering, various university councils and committees, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Series IV contains grade books, teaching notes, and class handouts for courses taught in the Department of Engineering, especially those on thermodynamics and heat transfer. Series V contains Chapman’s personal correspondence, theses, certificates, and other memorabilia.


  • Creation: 1918 - 2007

Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via or call 713-348-2586.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Alan Chapman academic papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

Biographical Sketch

Alan Chapman was the Harry S. Cameron Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University and the first dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering from 1975 to 1980. Chapman graduated from Houston’s Lamar High School in 1940 and subsequently attended Rice, earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in just three years. He joined Rice’s faculty in 1946 after a year serving in the U.S. Navy and went on to earn his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado in 1949 and his doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1953. He taught numerous courses, especially those focusing on thermodynamics and heat transfer. Although he formally retired in 1995, he continued to teach a class each semester until 2006, holding a record 60 years of teaching at Rice. Chapman was a five-time winner of Rice’s George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching and was awarded the George R. Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching, the school’s highest teaching award, in 1984.

Chapman also served on numerous committees, including the faculty committee on athletics, chaired the Department of Mechanical Engineering three different time, and was vice president for administration for one year. He is a former president of the Southwest Conference and was also elected president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1973. Over four decades, Chapman volunteered on more than 20 standing and special committees for the NCAA and was the parliamentarian for over 30 years. Chapman’s research specialties included heat transfer and thermodynamics. His work led to the publication of twelve books on those subjects, including “Heat Transfer”, first published in 1960, which went through four editions. He is noted for playing a key role in NASA’s space program, helping develop the space radiator and space suit thermal control for Skylab, the nation’s first experimental space station, which launched in 1973.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, South Texas Section, created the Alan J. Chapman Award in 1980 to "honor an individual member who through sustained endeavor and diligent service has furthered the goals of ASME and of the profession of engineering." Engineering Alumni named Chapman its Outstanding Engineering Alumnus in 1983. His dedication was further recognized when he received the Association of Rice Alumni's Gold Medal in 1999. Chapman died at age 82 on December 4, 2007 in Houston after a long battle with cancer.


8 Linear Feet ( 16 boxes)

0.00244 Gigabytes (Nearline access: UA0186aip_001)

Language of Materials



This collection contains correspondence, research, reports, and publications, administrative materials, course notes and handouts, and personal items of Alan Chapman, the Harry S. Cameron Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University.

Physical Description

8 linear ft. (16 boxes)

Guide to the Alan Chapman academic papers, 1918-2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA