The Middle Ages saw the rise of a literate culture based on the codex book (the form that most of us associate with the idea of a book – pages bound into a spine and covers); this was a specific literary technology with considerable intellectual, cognitive and philosophical implications for Western culture. Manuscript organization involved a philosophy of knowledge with complex hierarchical structures that eventually led to taxonomic systems and other categorical ideas used in scientific thinking. Furthermore, the aesthetics of manuscript culture inspired collection activities in early modern periods; these collections eventually inspired certain architectural principles in museums of natural history and influenced many of our modern ideas of public engagement with science. This research traces the roots of public science in museums and popular science texts back to medieval book culture. It considers how manuscripts and other medieval literary structures continue to inspire contemporary scientists like Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox, especially in their popular writing and other public science work. Ultimately, this project considers how the medieval literary heritage of popular science is part of an investment in aesthetic and spiritual values that help science to connect with the general public. The research considers literary questions in both the original medieval context and in the context of contemporary science writing, but it also extends literary analysis into areas beyond literature, including the history of science, museums and public policy, media studies, and science in society.