He preferred life to fame.
That’s how the Harvard scholar Stephen Greenblatt explains why many of us have never heard of Thomas Harriot (1560-1621), a mathematician, seafarer, and astronomer caught up in the turbulent times of early modern science. Known to some as the “English Galileo,” Harriot was the first to make telescopic observations of the Moon and map its surface and among the earliest in Christian Europe to uphold and mathematize atomic theories of matter. In 2021, 400 years afters his death, it is high time we made sense of his rich legacy to applied and theoretical mathematics and physics. Come help us figure out what on earth he was talking about.