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Dr Seb Falk

Dr Seb Falk

Rosamund Chambers Research Fellow, Girton College

Seb Falk is available for consultancy.

Girton College
Huntingdon Road

Cambridge CB3 0JG


I studied History and Spanish at Oxford and worked in the UK Civil Service, and as a teacher in the UK and Canada, before coming to Cambridge to study for an MPhil (2012) and PhD (2016).  My research investigates the mathematical sciences in the late middle ages.  I am a 2016-17 BBC New Generation Thinker.

Subject groups/Research projects

Ancient and Medieval History:

Departments and Institutes

Girton College:

Research Interests

I research the history of science in the later middle ages.  I am particularly interested in how the mathematical sciences – especially astronomy – were studied and practised outside the universities, by non-experts.

I completed my PhD, entitled Improving Instruments: Equatoria, Astrolabes, and the Practices of Monastic Astronomy in Late Medieval England, in 2016.  In my thesis I examined the ways that astronomical instruments were used for practical, didactic and display purposes; I also examined the relationships between instruments, the texts describing them, and the numerical tables often essential for their construction or use.

My new research project seeks to survey the sciences practised in late medieval monasteries, and to explore how these relate to, and contrast with, the scientific studies of university scholars.


I supervise for History of Science Part IB (History of Science and Medicine: 1500-present), and lecture and supervise for Part II Paper 1 (Early Science and Medicine).  I have also taught students taking Part I English (English Literature and its Contexts 1300-1550) and Part II History (Historical Argument and Practice).  In 2017-18 I will lecture on History Part I Paper 15 (European History, 1200-1520).


  • Medieval British History

Key Publications

"A Merton College Equatorium: Text, Translation, Commentary", SCIAMVS 17 (2016), 121-159.

"Learning Medieval Astronomy through Tables: The Case of the Equatorie of the Planetis", Centaurus 58 (2016), 6-25.

"The scholar as craftsman: Derek de Solla Price and the reconstruction of a medieval instrument", Notes and Records 68 (2014), 111-134.

Other Publications

Selected recent conference papers and public lectures

"Monastic Astrolabes: Interest in Astronomy in Late Medieval England", International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 2016

"Astronomy and Religion in Late Medieval England", European Society of the History of Science Conference, 2016

"Instruments of Medieval Astronomy", Andrew Somerville Memorial Lecture, British Sundial Society Conference, 2016

""I wot wel it is figured boistosly”: Didactic writing in the Equatorie of the Planetis", Biennial London Chaucer Conference, 2016