Online writings

This page provides a list of the writings that are available on my site. Some of this is material originally published in print; other texts are research-in-progress or otherwise unpublished, including my Ph.D.

Printed work online

‘Like father, like son? John Dee, Thomas Digges and the identity of the mathematician’ (2006).

‘Benjamin Martin, from beginning to end’ (2005). A short piece in memory of John R. Millburn. It immediately prompted further work listed under research-in-progress below.

‘Making the arithmometer count’ (1997).

‘The identity of the mathematical practitioner in 16th-century England’ (1996).


John Dee’s Tyrocinium Mathematicum: new evidence for a lost text. A new source sheds light not only on an obscure work by Dee but also on the composition of his celebrated Mathematicall Praeface to Euclid (1570). A greatly-expanded version will appear in a special issue of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science Part A in 2012 as ‘John Dee on geometry: texts, teaching and the Euclidean tradition’ [preprint version].

‘Benjamin Martin: London lectures and the 1756 syllabus’, an extension and development of the ‘Benjamin Martin, from beginning to end’ piece listed above, focusing on a Martin lecture syllabus. There are still some remaining puzzles.

William Bourne: a revised bibliography of this Elizabethan mathematical practitioner.

An English mathematical aide-memoire of the 17th century.

Unpublished work

Christ Church Library: Mathematical instruments and architectural space in 18th-century Oxford. A paper given at the Scientific Instrument Commission's XXVIIth Symposium in Lisbon, 16-21 September 2008. The PDF includes the slides from the original Powerpoint presentation along with my informal, spoken notes. Aside from a few typographic corrections the material is as delivered in 2008, with the exception of the 2015 addition of bibliographic and image references at the end, along with a couple of extra notes. With thanks to the Library staff at Christ Church for their assistance and support.

‘Rome revisited: the vertical disc dial’: a do-it-yourself reconstruction of a portable Roman sundial to understand its afternoon operation.

‘History from below: mathematics, instruments and archaeology’: the British Society for the History of Mathematics/Gresham College Annual Lecture 2005, available as text, Powerpoint, audio and even streaming video on the Gresham College website (opens in new window).

‘Jacopo Aconcio’s lost treatise on fortification’: a rediscovered Renaissance manuscript.

‘The astrological instruments of Thomas Hood’: 1998 conference paper.

‘Curators, historians and instruments’: 1997 occasional paper from a meeting on Maurice Daumas’ Les Instruments scientifiques.

‘Making mathematical practice: gentlemen, practitioners and artisans in Elizabethan England’ (Ph.D., 1994). The text of my (mostly unpublished) doctorate is available on this site; there is a separate contents page giving access to the individual chapters.