Samuel Birley Rowbotham (AKA Parallax) (1816 – 1884), was an English inventor and writer who wrote Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe, based on his decade-long scientific studies of the earth, published a 16-page pamphlet (1849), which he later expanded into a 430 page book (1881) expounding his views. According to Rowbotham's scientific method, which he called Zetetic Astronomy, the earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and bounded along its southern edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few thousand miles above the surface of the earth.
Rowbotham and his followers gained notoriety by engaging in raucous public debates with leading scientists of the day. One such clash, involving the prominent naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, led to several lawsuits for fraud and libel.
After Rowbotham's death, his thousands of followers established the Universal Zetetic Society, published a magazine entitled The Earth Not a Globe Review and remained active well into the early part of the 20th century.