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Fredrik Henrik af Chapman (9 September 1721 in Gothenburg – 19 August 1808) was a Swedish shipbuilder, scientist and officer in the Swedish navy. He was also manager of the Karlskrona shipyard 1782-1793.
Chapman was the author of Architectura Navalis Mercatoria (1768) and several other shipbuilding-related works. His Tractat om Skepps-Byggeriet ("Treatise on Shipbuilding") published in 1775 is a pioneering work in modern naval architecture.
He was ennobled as "af Chapman" in 1772.
Chapman was born at Nya Varvet, the royal dockyards in Gothenburg, the son of Thomas Chapman, an English naval officer (born 1679 in Yorkshire) who had moved to Sweden in 1715 and joined the Swedish navy in 1716. His mother was Susanna Colson, the daughter of London shipwright William Colson. He showed a talent for shipbuilding, and went to sea in 1736, and spent his late teens working in both private and state shipyards. He went on to study under the English professor of mathematics, Thomas Simpson, who had worked out methods for calculating the volume of irregular surfaces and bodies. After a year of studies in London, he went on to study shipbuilding at the British royal dockyards in Woolwich, Chatham and Deptford. In 1754, Chapman continued his educational tour by going to the Netherlands and in 1755 to France, where he was given permission to stay at the royal shipyards at Brest to observe warship construction.
He returned to Sweden and embarked on a successful career and important role in ship construction. In order to test his mathematical theories, he had a 100 m long pool constructed outside Karlskrona, where he tested various hull designs with scale models. The models were pulled through the water with pulleys and ropes. This method gave realistic values and is similar to the method used today to establish the hydrodynamic features of new hull designs.
For much more on Chapman's interesting career, see the Wikipedia entry.