Museum and media


I blogged regularly at the Guardian Science Blogs network for several years and have written for publications aimed at a broader readership, including articles in HerStoria MagazineEndeavour and BBC History Magazine (PDF).

I have appeared on radio and television, in the UK, Canada and Australia, in news programmes, features and documentaries speaking about the history of astronomy, scientific voyaging, the Royal Observatory and its history, scientific instruments, challenge prizes in science, the story of longitude, Greenwich Mean Time, and the history of women in science. Examples are:

I acted as a specialist consultant for The Aeronauts (Amazon Studios, Mandeville Films, 2019), inspired by the ballooning exploits and meteorology of James Glaisher, played by Eddie Redmayne.


Ships, Clocks & Stars, an exhibition I co-curated on the search for a means of finding longitude at sea in the 18th and 19th centuries, was at the National Maritime Museum from July 2014 to January 2015. It is currently touring in the US (Folger Library and Mystic Seaport) and Australia. Earlier projects included the NMM’s major 2012 Royal River temporary exhibition and small displays at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, such as 2009’s Solar Story and 2012’s Measuring the Universe. I was also involved in various redisplays in the permanent galleries at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.


Museum publications:

Publications undertaken for the Royal Museums Greenwich include the Royal Observatory Greenwich Souvenir Guide (2011), on which I was lead author and editor, and the exhibition catalogue Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames (2012), in which I wrote several catalogue entries and section introductions. Published in June 2014 was Finding Longitude a book co-written with Richard Dunn on the history of longitude, accompanying the Ships, Clocks & Stars exhibition. I contributed a chapter to Science City: Craft, Commerce and Curiosity in London 1550-1800 (2019), which accompanies the Science Museum’s Science City 1550-1800 gallery.


Video introducing the Transit of Venus digital collection, a resource at Cambridge Digital Library that I facilitated:

I gave a talk for the Gresham College/British Society for the History of Mathematics Annual Lecture on “Mathematical Practice and 18th-Century British Voyages of Exploration” (video, audio, transcript, presentation available) on 23 October 2019.

Longitude Found!“, my talk at the Isaac Newton Institute for the Cambridge Science Festival on 21 March 2015.

Hero or villain? Nevil Maskelyne’s posthumous reputation“, a lecture given at the Royal Society on 20 April 2012.

I discuss some of the history of solar observation at the Royal Observatory in a video for the Solar Stormwatch project. I focused on my doctoral research for the Enlightening Science project, talking about 18th and 19th-century biographies of Newton.


I have recorded several podcasts for the Royal Museums Greenwich podcast series, On the Line:

One thought on “Museum and media

  1. Rebekah,

    ‘Conciatore’ is a new blog about the fascinating life and work of Antonio Neri, a man who lived four hundred years ago in Florence, Italy. He was at the same time an alchemist, a glassmaker and a Catholic priest and he worked for a prince from the Medici royal family. Neri is famously known as the author of the first book devoted to the subject of making glass (L’Arte Vetraria, 1612). He has often been considered a mysterious figure, steeped in the intrigues of alchemy and transmutation. On the other hand, he put great store in careful experimentation and research. As a contemporary of fellow Florentine Galileo Galilei, he experienced both the germination of modern science and the waning days of Aristotle’s four-elements. It was a time when art, religion, ancient philosophy and the pursuit of Nature’s secrets all went hand-in-hand.

    In late Renaissance Italy, the word conciatore was used to describe the specialist who refined the ingredients for glass and formulated the batch. In Neri’s case, this ranged from the celebrated Venetian style ‘cristallo’, to the swirling colors of ‘calcedonio’, to brilliant, sparkling imitation gems. The blog visits his family, his friends and his associates to form a picture of a complex man, living in an extraordinary time.

    After a decade researching Neri, I am anxious to share his story. I invite you to join me, where on a regular basis I will post details of his life, his work and his philosophy. I hope to draw you into his world, and perhaps convince you that in many ways, his time was not so different from ours.

    Best regards,
    Paul Engle

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