I have appeared on TV, radio and online. Below is a selection of clips and links to videos and radio programmes in which I have featured. They range from early medieval mathematical tricks to an unusual costume for a marathon...
'A very curious Almanack' at the Royal Society, 2023
In January 2023 I helped archivists at the Royal Society figure out some unique coded tables in a newly digitised medieval almanac.
The manuscript was featured on Google Arts & Culture, the story was picked up by media outlets including The Times, and I was interviewed for Times Radio's Saturday morning Breakfast show.
I appeared on several top-rated podcasts in 2021, and had great fun discussing medieval science in various formats. These are a few of my favourites:
BBC Radio features, 2020-21
As a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker, I made two programmes for BBC Radio 3 in 2020-21.
I presented an episode of Free Thinking, interviewing two historians of science and a scientist on subjects ranging from colour perception to Martian canals:
From Life on Mars to Dangerous Space Junk. Produced by Torquil MacLeod. Recorded for the Swindon Science Festival. First broadcast 9 March 2021.
And I made a Sunday feature about medieval and modern pandemics:
Covid and the Black Death: The Imperfect Fit. Produced by Tom Alban. First broadcast 19 October 2020. Selected for Pick of the Week on BBC Radio 4, Sunday 25 October.
Astrolabes: The Medieval Smartphone?
In this short film made for Penguin Books, I demonstrate how to use an astrolabe, and explain its importance in the Middle Ages.
The Light Ages
The release of my book The Light Ages aroused some media interest in medieval science. Have a listen to these clips from the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 (3rd October) and Dan Snow's History Hit podcast.
John Westwyk and his inventions also featured in:
A news story, "Forgotten monk paved the way for Copernicus", in The Times, 17 June 2020
An article, "The Idea of the 'Dark Ages' Is a Myth", which I wrote for TIME magazine.
A film, "Science in the Middle Ages", which I made for History Hit TV
An interview, "The Genius of Medieval Science", in the November 2020 issue of BBC History magazine, and an appearance on the History Extra podcast.
I was also interviewed on several other podcasts, such as The Medieval Podcast, Inquiring Minds, Hidden Histories, and Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Worst Foot Forward
I had a hilarious time as a guest on the comedy podcast Worst Foot Forward. Over an enjoyable hour or so I gave hosts Ben Van der Velde & Barry McStay a scenic tour of the Hereford Mappa mundi.
Free Thinking: Hands and the History of Science
My first appearance on the BBC was a research 'postcard' for the Radio 3 programme Free Thinking. While in the studio, I demonstrated some medieval finger-counting for the producers!
My demonstration was featured as one of "3 things we love" on the front page of the BBC website the following day.
Click to enlarge
Click here to watch my demonstration on the BBC website.
In June 2020, BBC Mundo interviewed me about finger-counting for their Spanish-language channel. They published a web article - "La ingeniosa manera en la que lograban contar hasta 9.999 con los dedos en la Edad Media". For their piece, I re-recorded the video above in Spanish! You can watch it near the bottom of the article.
Exploring the Mariner's Astrolabe
This short film was made for the BBC Arts website. It was filmed on location at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, my rickety shed, and on the River Orwell on the windiest day of the winter.
Directors: Trudy Shillum & Ryan McKenna
Click here to watch the complete film on the BBC website.
London Marathon wind worry for Cambridge Gherkin Man
In 2014 I ran the London Marathon inside an 8-foot tall, 10 kg papier-mâché model of London's 30 St Mary Axe, a.k.a. "The Gherkin".
I raised over £14,000 for the Cure Parkinson's Trust, and was described as "downright silly" on the BBC News at Ten.
This film appeared on BBC Look East in the week before the marathon.
The World inside a Spanish Globe
A little research project I did for my master's degree made the news in several countries after it was featured in a Cambridge University film.
My research showed how interactive toys like this globe helped reform stuffy methods of education around the year 1900.
The Essay and Free Thinking, BBC Radio 3
I have made two programmes for the Radio 3 series The Essay. Both were produced by Jacqueline Smith.
Monks, Models and Medieval Time. Recorded live at the BBC Free Thinking Festival, Sage Gateshead. First broadcast 20 March 2017.
John Gower, the Forgotten Medieval Poet. Recorded live at the York Festival of Ideas. First broadcast 28 June 2018.
I have also appeared on the Radio 3 programme Free Thinking:
Rethinking the Curriculum. First broadcast 24 June 2020.
Ancient Wisdom and Remote Living. First broadcast 10 December 2020.