Research and Publications

The main focus of my research is the history of science in early modern Europe, particularly the relationship between science and religion. More broadly, I’m interested in the history of science and technology, as well as in the interdisciplinary field of science and religion. Furthermore, I have an academic interest in science fiction.

During and after my PhD, I have researched and published on John Wallis (1616-1703), the Oxford-based mathematician and Anglican minister. While Wallis is mainly known for his mathematics, my research has helped to establish his role in the broader intellectual world of the seventeenth century, including the fascinating discussions in that time about the relationship between the natural and the divine. I am currently development my PhD thesis into a book, which is under contract with the University of Toronto Press.

Another of my current research interests is the effects of anti-Catholic (or anti-“papist”) attitudes on the work of English natural philosophers. I am currently exploring this topic in a chapter for an edited volume on anti-popery in early modern Britain. My chapter addresses anti-Catholicism in the works of the seventeenth-century Scottish (and one-time Jesuit) physician, David Abercromby.

In November 2016, I organized an international academic workshop marking the 400th anniversary of Wallis’s birth. You can read about the workshop here.

The papers presented at the Wallis workshop were the basis for the December 2018 special issue of Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, co-edited by me and Stephen Snobelen. The issue includes my own paper, “John Wallis and the Catholics: Confessional and Theological Antagonism in Wallis’s Mathematics and Philosophy“, which addresses the role of anti-Catholicism in Wallis’s reception of ideas about nature and mathematics. This paper was recently published online.

I have also published articles in The Seventeenth Century and the Journal of Early Modern Studies. The first of these articles concerns Wallis’s use of the Bible as a historical source in matters of natural philosophy and mathematics. The second paper discusses a reference by Wallis to a thirteenth-century optical treatise by Robert Grosseteste, and how this relates to Wallis’s understanding of the mathematical laws of nature. This paper will be included in a special issue on the mathematization of natural philosophy which is due to be published in November 2018.

My other publications include a book review in the Journal for Ecclesiastical History, available here; three book reviews in Metascience, available here, hereand here (the last of these co-authored with Yiftach Fehige); and a book review in Isis (with Yiftach Fehige) available here. I also wrote a report on the 2013 meeting of the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science (CSHPS) for the newsletter of the History of Science Society, available here.

In my Master’s thesis, which I wrote at Dalhousie University, I investigated priority disputes involving the Royal Society of London in the seventeenth century. I continue to be interested in priority disputes and intellectual property in the history of science.

My research on John Wallis has earned two awards from the academic community. In 2016, my paper, “‘Nature Doth Not Work by Election’: John Wallis (1616-1703) on Natural and Divine Action”, was awarded the Nathan Reingold Prize by the History of Science Society for the best essay by a graduate student. In 2012, I was given the Richard Hadden Award for my paper, “The Trinity and the Cube: Nescience in the Epistemology of John Wallis”, also for the best student paper.

Since 2016, I have been an research assistant for the Gateway to Early Modern Manuscript Sermons (GEMMS) project.

I have also served as head copy-editor for the 2018 issue of Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, and as an instrument researcher and archivist for the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection (UTSIC).