Kevin Tracey

Research Details


SUPERVISOR(S) - Dr Adam Mosley and Professor David Turner (Swansea University); Nick Wyatt (Science Museum)


THESIS TITLE - Calculating Value: Using and Collecting the Tools of Early Modern Mathematics

Research Synopsis

Existing at the interstices of the histories of mathematics, science, reading, and the book, my Ph.D. research takes as its locus the Science Museum Library’s Rare Books Collection: a collection which comprises over 3,000 printed titles produced between 1486 and 1800, circa 1,700 of which inform my study of the cultural, intellectual, and economic use-values attributed to mathematics in the period.

By analysing annotated texts, ownership inscriptions, bookplates, armorials, binding styles and other evidence of provenance, this study advances our understanding of the making of a commercialized mathematical culture – and the making of its users – by effectively characterizing the nature of the demand for mathematics in early modern Europe between 1550 and 1750.

An image of a measuring ruler