Seb Falk is a historian, teacher, broadcaster and historical consultant. In 2016 he was named a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker.
His first book, The Light Ages (2020), is a wide-ranging history of medieval science, told through the life of an extraordinary monk, John of Westwyk. At each stage of John's adventurous life as a novice and exile, crusader and inventor, we learn what he learned, seeing that the Middle Ages were far more advanced than is often assumed.
The Light Ages was a Book of the Year 2020 in The Times, The TLS, The Telegraph and other publications. It has been shortlisted for the Hughes Prize, awarded by the British Society for the History of Science.
Photo: Jason Bye
Seb teaches medieval history and history of science at Cambridge University, where he was a Fellow of Girton College from 2016 to 2019.
He specialises in the history of astronomy, navigation and mathematics - theories and technologies - from their ancient origins to modern developments.
Seb is a qualified teacher and a Yachtmaster. He has led mountain expeditions and run many marathons, worked in government and served as a Special Constable. He is as comfortable sailing by the stars – while singing old sea shanties – as demonstrating ancient mathematical techniques. As a lecturer and museum curator, he makes past science come alive, using authentic historic instruments and helping participants get hands-on with replicas.
Seb received his B.A. in History and Spanish from Oxford University, and an M.Phil. in History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge. He stayed at Cambridge for a Ph.D., completing his thesis on late medieval astronomical instruments in 2016.
He lives in Cambridge, UK, with his wife, two children and qualified therapy dog Ridley.