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The Science of Shakespeare - A new look at the playwright's universe

The Science of Shakespeare - A new look at the playwright's universe

Dan Falk


William Shakespeare lived at a remarkable time – a period we now recognize as the first phase of the Scientific Revolution. New ideas were transforming Western thought, the medieval was giving way to the modern, and the work of a few key figures hinted at the brave new world to come: the methodical and rational Galileo, the skeptical Montaigne, and – as Falk convincingly argues – Shakespeare, who observed human nature just as intently as the astronomers who studied the night sky.


In The Science of Shakespeare, we meet a colourful cast of Renaissance thinkers, including Thomas Digges, who published the first English account of the “new astronomy” and lived in the same neighborhood as Shakespeare; Thomas Harriot – “England’s Galileo” – who aimed a telescope at the night sky months ahead of his Italian counterpart; and Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, whose observatory-castle stood within sight of Elsinore, chosen by Shakespeare as the setting for Hamlet – and whose family crest happened to include the names “Rosencrans” and “Guildensteren.” And then there’s Galileo himself; As Falk shows, his telescopic observations may have influenced one of Shakespeare’s final works.


Dan Falk’s The Science of Shakespeare explores the connections between the famous playwright and the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution – and how, together, they changed the world forever.

Thomas Dunne Books

Dan Falk

Born in 1966 in Canada, Dan Falk is a scientific journalist, author, and broadcaster specialising in science stories.


He has written for the Smithsonian, New Scientist, Scientific American, the Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Quanta, Nautilus,, Slate, Mental Floss, National Geographic, and many other newspapers, magazines, and websites. He has also written and produced dozens of radio documentaries, primarily for the CBC Radio program Ideas. Several of these documentaries have won prestigious international awards.


He has three published books: “In Search of Time”, “Universe on a T-Shirt” and “The Science of Shakespeare” (this last one is available on DCPAS).


He’s a co-host of a podcast called BookLab with science journalist Amanda Gefter, where the latest popular science books are reviewed.


Falk has also worked as a sessional instructor at the University of Toronto, developing and teaching a course for undergraduates called “Science and Literature,” through the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST), where he earned an MA in 2014.


He’s the recipient of the 2019 Fleming Medal for Excellence in Science Communication from the Royal Canadian Institute for Science. During the 2011/12 academic year, he was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT; in 2018, an Ingenuity Fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia; and in 2019, the Science Communicator in Residence at York University in Toronto.


Falk is also an avid amateur photographer, and some of his work (including science-related images and some astrophotography) can be seen on his Flickr account.


He lives in Toronto, Canada.


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