Dr Seb Falk


Research Themes

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).


I studied History and Spanish at Oxford and worked in the UK Civil Service, and as a teacher in the UK and Canada, before turning to historical research and university teaching.

I am a BBC New Generation Thinker 2016-17, and have presented my research on BBC Radio 3.

I am also an Offshore Yachtmaster and RYA Shorebased and Cruising Instructor, and teach navigation and practical sailing skills for the University Yacht Club.

Extra Links

Seb Falk

College Role

Research Fellow

Teaching Office(s)

  • Fellow

Degrees, Awards and Prizes

B.A. (Oxford), PGCE (Buckingham), MPhil (Cambridge), PhD (Cambridge).
Jennifer Redhead Prize (2012).
Waterman Prize (2012).