'William Gascoigne (1612 - 1644)- Leeds Astronomer'

13 January, 2020, All Day

Book release – ‘William Gascoigne – Leeds Astronomer – Or, How a Spider Placed Leeds at the Forefront of the Scientific Revolution’

David Sellers

William Gascoigne (1612-44) of Middleton, Leeds, was the inventor of the telescopic sight and micrometer – instruments which became essential for the development of astronomy. Yet after his death, aged only 32, at the Battle of Marston Moor in the English Civil Wars most of his papers were lost and his vital contribution seemed destined to be forgotten. In this new book, published by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, David Sellers tells the story of this unsung local scientific hero – and how his groundbreaking invention was all thanks to a stray spider….


David Sellers is a civil engineer by training and before retirement was the Flood RiskManager of Leeds City Council. He is also a historian of astronomy and has written or co-authored several books on the subject. He is Vice-Chair of the UK-based Society for theHistory of Astronomy and current Editor of Nebula, the newsletter of the Leeds Astronomical Society. His book In Search of William Gascoigne:seventeenth century astronomer (New York, 2012) is the only book devoted to the short life of Gascoigne.
David is currently writing a biography of the Victorian astronomer and educationalist,Charles Thomas Whitmell, who lived for a time in Leeds.