Ian Ridpath

Ian Ridpath

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Ian William Ridpath is an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 science writer and broadcaster made famous for his investigation and explanation of the Rendlesham Forest Incident
Rendlesham Forest Incident
The Rendlesham Forest Incident is the name given to a series of reported sightings of unexplained lights and the alleged landing of a craft or multiple craft of unknown origin in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England, in late December 1980, just outside RAF Woodbridge, used at the time by the U.S....

 of December 1980.

He attended Beal Grammar School
Beal High School
Beal High School is a secondary school in Ilford, Essex, England. The school has over 1600 students and over 100 teachers with around 100 support assistants. The school begins at Year 7 and continues with compulsory schooling through to Year 11...

 in Ilford where he wrote astronomy articles for the school magazine. Before entering publishing he was an assistant in the lunar research group at the University of London Observatory
University of London Observatory
The University of London Observatory at Mill Hill in London is an astronomical teaching observatory, part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University College London....

, Mill Hill. He now lives in Brentford
Brentford
Brentford is a suburban town in west London, England, and part of the London Borough of Hounslow. It is located at the confluence of the River Thames and the River Brent, west-southwest of Charing Cross. Its former ceremonial county was Middlesex.-Toponymy:...

, Middlesex.

He is editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and Norton's Star Atlas
Norton's Star Atlas
Norton's Star Atlas is a set of 16 celestial charts, first published in 1910 and currently in its 20th edition under the editorship of Ian Ridpath. The Star Atlas covers the entire northern and southern sky, with accompanying reference information for amateur astronomers...

, and author of observing guides such as The Monthly Sky Guide and the Collins Stars and Planets Guide (the latter two with charts by Wil Tirion
Wil Tirion
Wil Tirion is a Dutch uranographer . His most famous work, Sky Atlas 2000.0, is renowned by astronomers for its accuracy and beauty. The second edition of his most complete work, Uranometria 2000.0, was published in 2001 by Willmann-Bell. He is also responsible for the sky charts found in many...

). His other books include Star Tales, about the origins and mythology of the constellations. He was a major contributor to the Dorling Kindersley encyclopedia Universe
Universe (book)
Universe is a 512-page, non-fiction book by nine British co-authors with a short Foreword by Sir Martin Rees, first published in 2005. The book is divided into three sections, beginning with an introduction to theories of the Universe, space exploration, Earth's view of space and how the Universe...

. He is a former editor of the UK quarterly magazine Popular Astronomy.

In 1990 he won an award in The Aventis Prizes for Science Books
The Aventis Prizes for Science Books
The Royal Society Prizes for Science Books is an annual award for the previous year's best general science writing and best science writing for children. The nominees and winners are decided by the Royal Society, the UK national academy of science...

 (in the under-8 children's books category) for The Giant Book of Space.

His early books on the subject of extraterrestrial life and interstellar travel – Worlds Beyond (1975), Messages from the Stars (1978) and Life off Earth (1983) – led him to investigate UFOs. But he rapidly became a sceptic, a position reinforced by his findings about the Rendlesham case. He was one of the first to offer an explanation for the so-called Sirius Mystery involving the supposedly advanced astronomical knowledge of the Dogon people
Dogon people
The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. The population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000 The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and...

 of Mali, west Africa.

He was a space expert for LBC
LBC
LBC Radio operates two London-based radio stations, with news and talk formats. LBC was Britain's first legal commercial Independent Local Radio station, providing a service of news and information to London. It began broadcasting on 8 October 1973, a week ahead of Capital Radio...

 Radio from the 1970s into the 1990s, and was also seen on BBC TV’s Breakfast Time
Breakfast Time
Breakfast Time was British television's first national breakfast show, beating TV-am's flagship programme Good Morning Britain to the air by two weeks.The show was revolutionary for the time...

 programme in its early years. It was for Breakfast Time that he first investigated the Rendlesham Forest UFO case.

From 1993 to 1995 he was Race Director of the Polytechnic Marathon
Polytechnic Marathon
The Polytechnic Marathon, often called the Poly, was a marathon held annually between 1909 and 1996, over various courses in or near London. It was the first marathon to be run regularly over the distance of 26 miles, 385 yards which is now the global standard...

 from Windsor to Chiswick, Britain’s oldest marathon race which traced its origins back to the 1908 Olympic Marathon. In that role, he was involved in a public controversy over the ownership of the Sporting Life
Sporting Life (newspaper)
The Sporting Life was a British newspaper published between 1859 and 1998 that was best known for its coverage of horse racing. Latterly it has continued as a multi-sports website....

marathon trophy, originally awarded to winners of the Polytechnic Marathon, which was claimed in 1994 by the London Marathon
London Marathon
The London Marathon is one of the biggest running events in the world, and one of the five top world marathons that make up the World Marathon Majors competition, which has a $1 million prize purse. It has been held each spring in London since 1981. The race is currently sponsored by Virgin Money,...

. The Polytechnic Marathon was last held in 1996.

Selected bibliography

  • Stars and Planets Guide. Collins (UK). ISBN 978-0-00-725120-9. Princeton University Press (US). ISBN 978-0-691-13556-4.
  • Monthly Sky Guide. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-13369-2.
  • Gem Stars. Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-717858-2.
  • Times Universe. Times Books. ISBN 978-0-00-716930-6.
  • Exploring Stars and Planets. Philip’s. ISBN 978-1-84907-144-4.
  • Star Tales. Lutterworth. ISBN 978-0-7188-2695-6.
  • Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy (ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-921493-8.
  • Norton’s Star Alas and Reference Handbook (ed.). Dutton. ISBN 978-0-13-145164-3.

External links