Academic Research & Teaching

equatorium Liba Taub Whipple Museum Seb Falk

My research is centred on late medieval mathematical sciences.  My particular areas of interest are the relationship between astronomical theory and practice, techniques of calculation and instrument-making, the relationship between religion and science (especially in monasteries), and the depiction of sciences in Latin and vernacular literature. 


My AHRC-funded PhD, awarded in 2016, was supervised by Prof. Liba Taub (pictured in the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, with object Wh.3271: "King Arthur's Table"). This formed the nucleus of my first book, The Light Ages. Although that was written primarily for a general audience, it has been favourably reviewed in academic journals such as Isis and The Medieval Review.

I have been an AHRC-funded curatorial intern at the Whipple Museum, and have held fellowships at Girton College, Cambridge (2016-19), and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (2020).

I have lectured, supervised and examined undergraduates and masters students in the Cambridge Faculty of History and Department of History and Philosophy of Science. I have also taught on the International Summer Programme and Lifelong Learning programme of the Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.  I am a qualified secondary school teacher, and have taught GCSEs, A levels and the International Baccalaureate at schools in the UK and Canada.

Selected publications

  • "Copying and Computing Tables in Late Medieval Monasteries", in Editing and Analysing Numerical Tables: Towards a Digital Information System for the History of Astral Sciences, ed. Matthieu Husson, Clemency Montelle and Benno van Dalen (Brepols, 2021): 79–105. Available fully open-access.

  • "'El Capri Kylex': A Franciscan astronomical mnemonic", Journal for the History of Astronomy 52 (2021): 267–288. Available fully open-access.

  • "Vernacular Craft and Science in the Equatorie of the Planetis", Medium Ævum 88 (2019): 329-60. Available to download from JSTOR.

  • "Sacred astronomy? Beyond the stars on a Whipple astrolabe", in The Whipple Museum of the History of Science: Instruments and Interpretations, ed. Liba Taub, Joshua Nall and Frances Willmoth (Cambridge University Press, 2019), 11-32. Available fully open-access.

  • "A Merton College Equatorium: Text, Translation, Commentary", SCIAMVS 17 (2016): 121-159. Download open-access (not fully formatted) version here.

  • "The scholar as craftsman: Derek de Solla Price and the reconstruction of a medieval instrument", Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science 68 (2014): 111‑134. Available fully open-access.