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Fellows Directory

Henry Chapman

Henry Chapman

Professor Henry Chapman FRS


Elected: 2020





Henry Chapman is a physicist who pioneered the use of X-ray free-electron lasers for obtaining images of biological objects such as macromolecules. He investigated the use of an incredibly brief and intense flash of X-rays to overcome a long-standing limitation in X-ray protein crystallography, which was the destruction of the molecular structure by the very radiation needed to ’see’ that structure. He is an inventor of serial femtosecond crystallography, which uses this concept of out-running destruction to obtain images and movies of proteins.

Henry completed his PhD at The University of Melbourne, Australia, for which he was awarded the Bragg Gold Medal from the Australian Institute of Physics. He explored lensless X-ray imaging at Stony Brook University (NY, USA), and first demonstrated X-ray flash imaging while at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California where he also contributed to the development of extreme ultraviolet lithography.  He was awarded the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Roentgen Medal, and an honorary doctorate of Uppsala University.  

Professional positions

Professor, Centre for Free-Electron Laser Science, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron and Universität Hamburg

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics
    • Crystallography
  • Engineering
    • Instrumentation
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