William M. Napier (born June 29, 1940 in Perth, Scotland) is a professional astronomer currently an Honorary Professor of Astrobiology at Cardiff University. He has also worked at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, the University of Oxford, and Armagh Observatory. His collaboration with fellow astronomer Victor Clube and others on the role of comets in Earth history, is known as "coherent catastrophism". He is also the author of five novels, and scientific books. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1963 and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1966, both from the University of Glasgow.
The Cosmic Serpent, book cover
In their book, The Cosmic Serpent, Clube and Napier write:
- "In this book we bring together hitherto unconnected strands in astronomy, biology and geology, and in the early history and mythology of man.
- "The unifying theme is the comet, currently thought of as a minor actor in the cosmic drama. We shall propose that it grows out of the cold, dense nebulae found in interstellar space; is captured into the solar system during a close encounter; and if not flung out again, is thrown either into the space between Mars and Jupiter where it becomes an asteroid, or into an orbit which will bring it eventually, in the form of an asteroid, into collision witha planet."
Geologist Derek Ager writes:
- "Victor Clube suggested (1978) that our galaxy had a violent history and later he and Bill Napier argued for a theory of terrestrial catastrophism which really started the recent interest in asteroid impacts on the Earth (Napier & Clube 1979). Later they produced a remarkable book (1982) which was subtitled A catastrophist view of Earth History presenting a convincing argument for a giant comet that terrorized mankind in prehistoric rinses. They put together a great deal of evidence from a variety of sources that speaks of a violent past and a hazardous future."
Clube et al have developed their theory of "coherent catastrophism". Prof. Trevor Palmer writes:
- "Nevertheless, whilst rejecting almost every aspect of Velikovsky's hypothesis, astronomers accept that a large cosmic body could pass close to the Earth and cause catastrophes. In particular, the Earth may be under threat from giant comets which, although small in comparison to planets, are very much bigger than the comets that are normally seen. That view has been developed mainly by British astronomers, including Victor Clube together with Bill Napier and Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory, Duncan Steel of Salford University (and formerly of Spaceguard Australia) and David Asher of Oxford University and the Communications Research Laboratory, Japan.
Comparison with Velikovsky
Bruce Lerro writes:
- "Scientific catastrophists, such as Clube, Napier, and Steel, agree with Velikovsky that there were disruptions in the ancient skies -- but they attribute these disruptions to comets and/or asteroids and not to other planets." [..]
- "Astronomers Clube and Napier distinguish their "neo-catastrophism" -- or "coherent catastrophism" -- from earlier catastrophist theories in several ways. Unlike Ignatius Donnelly and Immanuel Velikovsky, whose popular books in the later nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries appeal to wide audiences, Clube and Napier do not suggest that comet or asteroid directly impacted the Earth during human history. Instead they argue that a huge comet (100 km) circulated through the solar system several thousand years ago, and the Earth periodically passed through its train of debris. Clube and Napier do not argue that the impact of this debris was always global in scope. Damage from impacts would have varied in magnitude depending on the size of the debris and where the objects hit (land or sea). Thus some of the resulting catastrophes would have been local, some regional, and some global."
- ↑ Victor Clube and Bill Napier, The Cosmic Serpent, Publ. 1982 Faber and Faber. ISBN: 0-571-11816-X
- ↑ Derek Ager, The new catastrophism: the importance of the rare event in geological history Cambridge University Press, 1995, ISBN: 0521483581 (page 180)
- ↑ Trevor Palmer, Perilous planet earth: catastrophes and catastrophism through the ages, Published by Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 0521819288, 522 pages. (page 206-207)
- ↑ Bruce Lerro, Power in Eden: The Emergence of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World, Published by Trafford Publishing, 2005, ISBN 1412021413, 418 pages (page 253)
- ↑ Bruce Lerro, Power in Eden: The Emergence of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World, Published by Trafford Publishing, 2005, ISBN 1412021413, 418 pages (page 212)
- The Cosmic Serpent (1982), with Victor Clube ISBN: 0-571-11816-X
- The Cosmic Winter (1990), with Victor Clube
- The Origin of Comets (1990), with M. E. Bailey and Victor Clube
- Catastrophes and Comets: The Destroyers of Cosmic Faith (World Scientific Series in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol 3), (Nov 2004) with Victor Clube ISBN: 981023015X
- "A theory of terrestrial catastrophism", W.M. Napier, S.V.M.Clube, Nature 282, 455 - 459 (29 November 1979)
- "The role of episodic bombardment in geophysics", Clube, S. V. M.; Napier, W. M., Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 57, no. 2, Feb. 1982, p. 251-262.
- "Spiral Arms, Comets and Terrestrial Catastrophism", Clube, S. V. M.; Napier, W. M., Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, March 1983, vol. 23, 45-66 (Full text)
- "The Microstructure of Terrestrial Catastrophism" (1984). Royal Astronomical Society, Monthly Notices 211, 953-968, with Victor Clube (Full text)
- "Comet capture from molecular clouds - A dynamical constraint on star and planet formation", Clube, S. V. M.; Napier, W. M., Royal Astronomical Society, Monthly Notices (ISSN 0035-8711), vol. 208, June 1, 1984, p. 575-588 (Full text)
- "Terrestrial catastrophism - Nemesis or Galaxy?", Clube, S. V. M.; Napier, W. M., Nature (ISSN 0028-0836), vol. 311, Oct. 18, 1984, p. 635, 636.
- "The origin of comets", Bailey, M. E.; Clube, S. V. M.; Napier, W. M., Vistas in Astronomy (ISSN 0083-6656), vol. 29, pt. 1, 1986, p. 53-112.
- "Giant comets and the Galaxy - Implications of the terrestrial record", Clube, S. V. M.; Napier, W. M., The galaxy and the solar system (A87-34101 14-90). Tucson, AZ, University of Arizona Press, 1986, p. 260-285.
- "The cometary breakup hypothesis re-examined - A reply", Clube, S. V. M.; Napier, W. M., Royal Astronomical Society, Monthly Notices (ISSN 0035-8711), vol. 225, April 1, 1987, p. 55P-58P (Full text)
- "Coherent catastrophism", Asher, D. J.; Clube, S. V. M.; Napier, W. M.; Steel, D. I., Vistas in Astronomy, vol. 38, Issue 1, pp.1-27
- "Terrestrial catastrophism and galactic cycles" (1989) in Catastrophes and evolution: Astronomical foundations; Proceedings of the 1988 BAAS Mason Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford, England, Sept. 6, 1988 (A90-44210 19-88). Cambridge, England and New York, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 133-167.
- "Evidence for redshift periodicity in nearby field galaxies" (1991) Guthrie, B. N. G.; Napier, W. M., Royal Astronomical Society, Monthly Notices (ISSN 0035-8711), vol. 253, Dec. 1, 1991, p. 533-544. (full text)
- "Redshift periodicity in the Local Supercluster" (1996) Guthrie, B. N. G.; Napier, W. M., Astronomy and Astrophysics, v.310, p.353-370 (full text)
- Are Impacts Correlated in Time? (1994). In Gehrels, Tom (ed.) (1994). Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids, University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0816515050. pp. 463-478; with D.I. Steel, D.J. Asher and W.M. Napier.
- "Quantized Redshifts: A Status Report", Napier, W. M.; Guthrie, B. N. G., Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy, Vol. 18, p.455 (full text)
- "NEOs and Impacts: the Galactic Connection" (1998) Napier, W. M., in Dymanics of Comets and Asteroids and their Role in Earth History, Proceedings of a Workshop held at the Dynic Astropark 'Ten-Kyu-Kan', 14-18 August, 1997. Edited by Shin Yabushita, and Jacques Henrard. Published by Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht/Boston/London, 1998., p.59
- "The Distribution of Redshifts in New Samples of Quasi-stellar Objects", Burbidge, G.; Napier, W. M., The Astronomical Journal, Volume 121, Issue 1, pp. 21-30. (full text)
- "A statistical evaluation of anomalous redshift claims", Napier, W. M., Astrophysics and Space Science, v. 285, Issue 2, p. 419-427 (2003)
- "A mechanism for interstellar panspermia" (2004) Napier, W. M., Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 348, Issue 1, pp. 46-51 (full text)
- "Evidence for cometary bombardment episodes" (2006), Napier, W. M., Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 366, Issue 3, pp. 977-982 (full text)
- Close encounters with a million comets (15 July 1982). New Scientist 95, (1314), 148-151, with Victor Clube