Fellows Conference

Science History Institute

Book of Abstracts

Joanna Behrman

Thinking Through Things: Physics Education, Occupations, and Materiality at Wellesley College

From its founding in 1876, Wellesley College was a center for the instruction of women in physics, and by the mid-20th century, the college could claim an outsize role in launching women into physics-related occupations. A key part of Wellesley’s success stemmed from the importance the physics professors placed on teaching students familiarity and confidence with a wide range of technologies and tools. This talk will illuminate how professors Sarah Frances Whiting and Louise McDowell designed physics and astronomy classes between 1876 and 1940 to teach the students facility with technological tinkering. As Whiting wrote, “to sharpen the pencil sharpens the eyes.” Attention to the materiality and function of technologies sharpened students’ mental acuity and their attention to detail. From microscopes and lathes to radios and automobiles, Wellesley physics students “sharpened” various kinds of tools in innovative laboratories and object-centered classes. Over time, the types of technologies taught changed with the changing range of scientific occupations open to women. Tracing the history of physics instruction at Wellesley College can therefore also show the evolution of gendered scientific labor.


Jacqui Bowman and Kevin D. Impellizeri

“Kind of Like a Family:” A Model for Developing Engaging, Safe Spaces for Youth Science Education

Since 2009, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has hosted summer and after-school programs for Philadelphia high school students interested in medicine and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). These programs are based on an institutionally-developed model that integrates educational activities, mentorship and life skill training alongside the unique resources of The College (Mütter Museum, Historical Medical Library, College Fellows) to help aspiring future scientists and medical professionals achieve their educational and professional goals.

The Center for Education (CFE) model emphasizes creating a safe space where students can learn and grow with a closely-knit group of like-minded individuals from disparate communities throughout the City of Philadelphia. Through novel lessons, group projects, and professional and peer mentorship our students develop a sense of personal investment in our organizational mission and come to see themselves as science and public health advocates, sharing their knowledge with their families, peers, and communities. This combination of engaging programs and group cohesion is part of our effort to close the achievement gap for underserved students and cultivate the healthcare professionals, scientists, and community leaders of the future. Moreover, we believe these programs create a “ripple effect,” benefitting groups beyond our students, including their families and communities.

This session will introduce fellow science educators and youth program coordinators to our educational model and offer advice for developing meaningful, effective youth programming or strengthening the impact of existing programs.


Liz Carletta

Rethinking Pedagogy and the Practices of Science in the Professional Development of Science Teachers in Informal Learning Environment Settings

In the past century, K–12 science education has changed both in content and pedagogy. Similarly, science-focused informal learning environments (ILEs), such as science centers, museums, and zoos, have changed their focus from collections and entertainment to public engagement with science, with the goal of a scientifically literate population. As this focus has shifted, the pedagogy that ILEs use with public interactions has also changed. Without the bureaucracy and accountability that public schools face, ILEs have the flexibility to experiment with new ways of engaging learners, yet also have the capacity to better connect learners with the work of scientists and science practices. ILEs excel at interacting with visitors of diverse ages, cultural backgrounds, and prior science knowledge and experience. This same pedagogy could be used in K–12 classrooms.

For decades, ILEs have been offering professional development-type workshops (PD) to teachers. Although many ILE educators use a pedagogy with their visitors Montalvo (2019) calls “museum education fundamentals,” they do not always model this pedagogy in their PDs. Rather, some resort to traditional lecture-style teaching and often focus on standards required of teachers, rather than sharing their strengths in pedagogy and resources. These practices have implications for how teachers present the work of science to their own students. This paper explores the gap between the effective science pedagogy used in ILEs and the pedagogy used by these same educators when providing PD to school teachers.


Dana A. Freiburger

“Such an important and widespread influence on our society today”: Teaching Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 1960s

Starting in the early 1960s degree-granting programs in computer science began to appear across the U.S. with these new departments typically evolving out an existing mathematics, engineering, or other related academic unit. My talk looks at the program established in 1964 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison to understand how it took up teaching this ‘new’ science.

Specifically, my talk focuses on an introductory college-level textbook published in 1967 by two of the new department’s professors, Charles H. Davidson and Eldo C. Koenig, to explore how its content—technical, historical, and social—contributed to this new field through the classroom. How did the book’s aim of giving students “a gradual and logical approach to the explanation of the fascinating subject of computing” compare to existing physics, engineering, or other texts of the day, did the authors approach teaching this novel subject in a new way? Did the book engage with the idea of a laboratory to support student learning material outside of the classroom? How much, if any, history of computing did Davidson and Koenig inject into the book to give students context about what they were reading, or were in vogue popularizations of the modern computer enough to encourage student interest? Can the book’s example computer programs and problem assignments tell us what was important in computer science at the time and for the future?

I hope my talk generates discussion on what it looked like to teach a “new” science and if that new subject provoked new pedagogical strategies.


Leana Hirschfeld-Kroen

A Room for the Universe: cosmic mass media, from the scientific theater to expanded cinema

In conversation with recent scholarship in the history of science, architecture, and media archaeology, this paper offers a cosmological prehistory of expanded cinema through inter-medial analysis of the sliding screens, fog machines, and spiritual rhetoric harnessed by popular astronomers from the late nineteenth- through the mid-twentieth century. A mass cultural phenomenon that has received little notice outside science and technology studies, the rise of popular astronomy from 1860 to 1910 lands us amidst the network of novelty and hybrid forms from which cinema emerged as a dominant mass medium. Tracing the trajectory of popular astronomy from the founding of Berlin’s first Wissenschaftliches Theater (scientific theater) to the popularization of projector-planetarium shows in the United States, through questions of architectural design, exhibition style, and technological mediation, I use the writings of three astronomical showmen (Max Wilhelm Meyer, Garrett Putnam Serviss, and James Stokley) to excavate a unique branch of the epistemological and aesthetic foundations for postwar visions of expanded cinema. Loosely bounded by three figures and two forms, my paper highlights the paradoxes of industrialization underlying popular science’s pedagogical prioritization of “cosmic consciousness” and concludes with larger questions of how and why we imagine, construct and spectacularize our place in the universe.


Duim Huh

Science Education as Popularization of Nationalist Character: Cultivating Scientific “Japanese Spirit” in Secondary Schools in Japan, 1931–1945

Although recent studies have shown various ways in which the public understands the contents and processes of science, their analysis, due to the heavy focus on popular culture and media, has paid little attention to the roles of primary and secondary schools in shaping public attitudes to science, despite the crucial imports of those schools in fostering intellectual, moral, and even national virtues. This paper aims to contribute to redress this neglect by focusing on the fortunes of the science curricula in Japan, 1931–1945. For this, I will examine various documents and sources, from writings by Hashida Kunihiko (1882–1945), a renowned thinker of “Japanese Science,” to various science textbooks available at the time. In 1931, with the first expanding of secondary education, the curriculum was reformed to emphasize vivid experience and social utility, partly modelled on American General Science following John Dewey’s educational philosophy. Such emphasis on experience and utility, however, was increasingly appropriated in cultivating ‘Japanese spirit,’ particularly via scientific methods allegedly based on the Japanese culture, which cumulated in the 1942 curriculum revision under the slogan “Japanese Science.” Moreover, new textbooks were accordingly written in order to instruct a Japanese way of “doing science,” which Hashida himself championed to negate the Western modernity. Analyzing these historical processes, I will investigate: (a) what concrete educational practices and methods were devised to cultivate the ‘Japanese spirit’ and how they were implemented in science textbooks; (b) how originally democratic educational methods were appropriated in practice for the anti-democratic nationalistic agenda. This episode reminds us, I will suggest, that science education can be a medium, where nationalistic narratives are popularized via not just abstract ideologies, but concrete practices.


Jeena Anne Kizhukarakkatu

Science education and the practice of science in India

This paper seeks to explore what the multigrade multilevel (MGML) education system has to offer to science education in rural public schools in India. India is a highly populated developing country and the schools in India have classes with 40 to 50 students sitting together. In rural areas, there is still a high number of single teacher schools where children of different age groups sit together. The MGML pedagogy, developed in the Rural Education Centre of Rishi Valley, is based on the concept that students of different age groups sit together in one class. The teacher acts as a facilitator while students work independently, teach each other, and each student works on her own pace. The MGML pedagogy addresses inquiry-based learning, hands-on practice, peer-support, and learning from the community and field visits, which have become central topics in science education. Most schools in India make students follow rote learning with little or no conceptual or critical understanding and no hands-on experience. Students are expected to accept science teaching like scripture and not to ask critical questions. The Hoshangabad Science Teaching Program (HSTP) was an experiment that focused on hands-on training and connecting science teaching to the everyday experience of students. But after working for a period of about 30 years, the program was wound up. Taking the experience of HSTP into account, I will discuss whether the MGML system can contribute to address the shortcomings of science education in Indian schools.


Zachary Loeb

No need to panic? Shaping the public’s perception of Y2K

At the beginning of 1999, a poll conducted by Time magazine and CNN found that 59% of Americans were either “somewhat” or “very concerned” about Y2K. Despite the way that Y2K is often remembered today, as a foolish techno-panic ginned up by mass media accounts and doom-mongers selling survival guides, these concerns were not isolated to an ill-informed public. Indeed, members of that concerned 59% were responding to the way the year 2000 software crisis had been explained by computer scientists, government officials, and responsible journalists. Publicizing Y2K was a challenge throughout the 1990s, one which entailed explaining to the public the many ways in which their lives—whether they realized it or not—had become reliant upon the operation of computerized systems. In publicizing the crisis, those tasked with providing information to the public were required to provide rudimentary education on the basics of how computers worked, while maintaining a careful balance between presenting real dangers and pushing back against apocalyptic predictions.

This paper engages with the conference theme by focusing on popularization as science education, highlighting the ways the media and the government sought to teach the public about Y2K. Though this paper presents a technological event, Y2K’s high visibility makes it a notable case of attempts to inform the public about techno-scientific risks.


Charnell Chasten Long

HBCU Science Students’ Fight for Science Education During the Early 20th Century

In 1923, 23 Lincoln University (Chester County, Pennsylvania) undergraduates founded Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honor Society (BKX) as a prestigious, student-lead organization. While BKX began as a small science club, the founder’s sought to not only develop its members’ scientific knowledge and professional skills but build a support system that would help sustain its members throughout their careers. This was a radical move because, at the time, Historically Black College and University (HBCU) undergraduate students had limited opportunities to participate in modern science. Thus, BKX’s mere existence undermined established systems of science education that the determined who can do science, what kind of scientific knowledge is valuable, and where students receive scientific training. For many years, historians have written about how racist beliefs within the scientific community about students’ scientific abilities negatively impacted Black students’ access to science education. Black higher education scholars have outlined how underfunding affected HBCUs’ science curriculum, but research has primarily overlooked how Black science students carved out their place in science. In this essay, I draw upon previously unexamined primary sources from the Lincoln University archives to explore the establishment, principles, and activities of BKX. I argue that the BKX’s story not only deepens our understanding of HBCU science education but repositions Black undergraduates in the history of science education. In doing so, BKX serves as a historical example of how Black science students navigate and negotiate space within an often toxic science education system.


Max Long

“Radiogenic” Science: Natural History in Early British Radio Programming

Natural history was a common feature of radio programming from the earliest days of radio in Britain. This was especially the case with children’s radio, from the various “Uncles” who accompanied children on imaginary outdoor journeys, to the more structured BBC Schools broadcasts in “Nature Study” and “Biology.” In a speech outlining a new term to define subjects which were especially suitable for the wireless, Richard Palmer said that natural history was one of several topics that could be called “radiogenic.” This paper examines this phenomenon by asking why natural history and radio were believed to be so well aligned. From the use of outdoor broadcasts and special effects, to the conjuring of imagery and the collection of specimens, children’s radio became a key site for experimenting with the popularisation of science during these years. Broadcasters such as Romany, David Seth-Smith, H. Munro Fox and Clotilde von Wyss explored the possibilities of using radio as a medium that could be simultaneously entertaining and educational. By adopting an “inter-medial” approach, this paper will contextualise these broadcasts within contemporary trends in popular science in print media and in film. What made natural history so prevalent in these new media usually associated with modernity and progress? Who were the individuals involved in making natural history radio broadcasts, and what motivated them? Finally, this paper will examine how audiences reacted to natural history broadcasts, exploring listener contributions to the co-production of knowledge on the wireless, from both children and adults.


Victoria Martínez

The Social Representation of Science with a Gender Perspective in Outreach and Science Communication in Chile

Public understanding of science, as a disciplinary and practical field, has grown exponentially in Chile in recent years. Proof of this is that universities and research centers have contributed with efforts that promote science communication in non-specialized publics. So, how these activities contribute to the understanding of science? Has a gender perspective been incorporated? has it been possible to contribute to a more effective popularization of science?

This proposal addresses an analysis of the social representation of science with a gender perspective in outreach and science communication in Chile, taking the case of the work of the Center for Science Communication1 of the Universidad Andrés Bello (Chile).

For this, a contextualization is carried out on the state of social perception of science and technology in Chile, an analysis based on the only two studies carried out in this area, funded by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research, CONICYT. These results conclude that, in general, in Chile there is a positive increase in the perception of the role of women in science. Key antecedent to say that the gender perspective is important when defining interest in science and technology, and from there generate initiatives that respond to this interest. It is exemplified the importance of considering more women scientists in activities of wide-ranging scientific outreach or communication.

The experience of our work has challenged the stereotypes of science itself. From a NASA astronaut, Nobel Prize, pediatrician, geophysics, biologist, psychologist, astronomer, among other scientists.


E. Carolina Mayes

Citizen Science in Public Discourse: Boundary Mediation of Lay Involvement in Health Expertise

The professionalization of science and medicine has continuously featured boundary work as a process of legitimizing certain practitioners as experts and excluding others. Recently, however, research programs that seek to incorporate non-professionals as contributors have gained both popularity and praise, epitomized by rhetoric suggesting that anyone can participate in science. Citizen science projects constitute one such form of expert and non-expert collaboration, and projects employing citizen science language are increasingly gaining traction in health and medical research. In these fields, the collaborative and democratic rhetoric of citizen science intersects with the longer trend toward encouraging patients to be informed and active participants in the maintenance of their own health.

In this study I employ discourse analysis to examine how this intersection between a collaborative ethos in research and an active patient subject in healthcare manifests in public media coverage of health and medical citizen science projects. Using a corpus of 51 news and magazine articles from U.S. publications, I find conceptualizations of citizen science and lay involvement in research that cut across national, local, and specialist publications. Though the trends toward increased non-expert engagement in scientific and medical contexts seem mutually supportive, I find a tension in the maintained boundary between acceptable roles for experts and non-experts. Non-experts contribute appropriately when the activities are circumscribed by experts, when the research concedes to professional norms, or when the research outcomes are not employed beyond expert standards. When participants exceed the boundaries of non-expert roles, their activities are subject to censure.


D.O. McCullough

From scientific presentation to classroom pedagogy: the American Museum of Natural History and the birth of visual instruction, 1880–1904

American science museums have a long, if overlooked, history of offering a variety of programs to improve classroom teaching. These school support programs are often assumed to be based on the scientific knowledge and objects found in museums – particularly research-based natural history museums. This paper, however, discusses a pivotal historical moment in the late nineteenth century, when the lantern-slide lectures created by Albert Bickmore, founding naturalist of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), were presented to schools throughout New York state as a method for teaching across subjects. Bickmore delivered his first lectures in 1880 for New York City teachers, aiming to bolster their scientific knowledge and promote the museum. The success of those image-based lectures appealed to New York State Department of Public Instruction administrators seeking ways to implement new curriculums and effectively teach immigrant children. From 1884 to 1904, the state of New York paid the AMNH and Bickmore to design and deliver lectures on assigned topics to teachers state-wide, reaching over 20,000 annually at the program’s peak. More importantly, Bickmore oversaw the purchase, production, and distribution of projectors, lantern slide sets, and corresponding text so that educators throughout New York could reproduce any of his 418 distinct lectures. Bickmore’s groundbreaking lecture series helped establish museums as institutions capable of supporting classroom teaching on a large scale. New York state administrators, meanwhile, leveraged Bickmore and the AMNH to supply schools with the technologies and training needed to teach using the emergent pedagogies of visual instruction.


Emma McKay

Placeless Science Fandom and place-Based Pedagogy: Reintroducing Land into Science Education

In public understanding of science, there are strong narratives which pose science as highly international and universal. Science fans attend to big science projects and their results without attending to their discontents, like the mountains they are built on or out of. We find this also in university science education. One summary of these criticisms of popular science narratives is that they are placeless or disconnected from the land.

Place-based pedagogy aims in general to utilize or attend to characteristics of the place in which pedagogy is based. There are difficulties to taking this up in science education: what is the place associated with quantum mechanics? With evolution? How can narratives of science include local and specific information when so much of the broad narrative of science today is about universal truths?

In this talk I will argue that popular and professional narratives of science alike would benefit from place-based perspectives, especially as we seek to understand how science is connected to the climate catastrophe. I will discuss what place and land are and offer examples for how they can be connected to science narratives. I will focus on the connection between science and extraction: all technology is made of materials which have been mined at great socio-ecological cost for the profit of a few. Finally, we will ask what resistance we might find to the change of our narratives in our capitalist and colonial systems.


Polina Merkulova

The Challenges of Teaching Scientific Medical Psychology in Mid-Victorian Britain

A shift in the mid-nineteenth-century British teaching of medical psychology led to the growing emphasis on science. Alienists, similarly to other medical practitioners, sought to increase the prestige of their work through association with science and placed high hopes on scientific research to bring about advancements in understanding, treatment and prevention of mental illness. However, the views on what made medical psychology scientific differed greatly. The attempts of alienists to make sense of scientific medical psychology and the best ways of teaching it to medical students resulted in a number of incompatible approaches. In my paper I discuss these issues focusing on the two courses on mental diseases which ran in Edinburgh in 1860s and 1870s. One of the courses was taught by Thomas Laycock at the University of Edinburgh, the other by David Skae at the Royal Edinburgh Asylum. By examining these courses and the debates surrounding them I demonstrate that Laycock and Skae not only disagreed on what constituted the scientific character of medical psychology but also had significantly different pedagogical approaches. I argue that this debate was representative of the discussions in the wider alienists’ community in Britain and that the examination of specifically pedagogical issues is crucial for understanding mid-Victorian medical psychology and its place on the contemporary map of knowledge.


Suzanne Poole Patzelt

What Epistemologies are Perpetuated when Science Teachers Learn about Science through Experiences with the Practices of Science in Authentic Research Settings?

Research experiences for teachers (RETs) in science are known for promoting learning experiences that may foster greater understanding of scientific inquiry, through an apprenticeship model, in efforts to improve their classroom teaching. However, there is little in the literature that addresses the possible problematic epistemologies RETs may be perpetuating.

Science teachers play a unique role in shaping student perception and participation in science having “consequences not only for science itself but also for society as a whole” (Rudolph, 2019). Calabrese-Barton (1997) argues that “the language of science has promoted a worldview that has normalized masculine, white, and middle-upper class” ways of knowing. Therefore, science initiatives making efforts to diversify the demographic of scientists, must acknowledge that if those pursuing science cannot identify with the individuals in the field, and more importantly in the ways of knowing that have constructed the foundational stories of science, such efforts will not last.

In RETs, teachers and scientists have the opportunity to engage in communities of practice and authentic learning experiences that place value on the diverse realities of science through scientific conversations, where teachers have the opportunity to develop their science identities and become participants in the practices of science. Therefore, using the frameworks of social learning and ecofeminism, this paper aims to analyze RETs and their possible role in the transmission of gender, racial, and anthropocentric biased scientific knowledge.


Hannah Pell

Three Mile Island: Lessons in Crisis Communication and Public Perceptions of Science

The 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant in Middletown, Pennsylvania has been called the 'most serious accident in US commercial nuclear power plant operating history.' Although the malfunctions at the plant were severe, the accident has since largely been attributed to human rather than technical errors. Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed), the energy utility company who operated the plant, lacked a plan for providing reliable details and messaging to the general public and news media as the accident unfolded. Additionally, they failed to translate the complexity of nuclear jargon to an unnerved public, a local reporter at the time noting: 'It was a lot of relying on people who couldn’t explain it in plain language or just didn’t know what was going on.' Thousands of residents were forced to speculate about their own safety, and independently chose to evacuate. Met-Ed's lack of reliable or consistent communication exacerbated feelings of fear and confusion experienced by those in the immediate area as the accident unfolded, which consequently fostered a deep mistrust for the nuclear power industry and its officials — a mistrust that, for some local residents, is still felt today.

In this talk, I examine the effects of Met-Ed’s mishandled communications, as well as the widely-varying degrees to which local and national media outlets portrayed the severity of the accident. Additionally, I will share local testimonies of those five days in 1979 and within one year afterward. The events at TMI remain an important case study for anyone interested in crisis communications and public perception of science, especially so when we aim to develop a deeper understanding of how such perceptions become more influential and ingrained over time.


Sarah A. Qidwai

Identifying Science Popularizers in British India

In 1844, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817–1898), founder of Aligarh Muslim University, published a translation titled Tashil fi Jar-e Saqil (science of forces or mechanics) in India. This publication, an Urdu translation of a Persian text, was an extract of an Arabic risala (a short treatise) from Yemen. In Tashil, Sayyid Ahmad translated the use of various machines that could lift heavy objects, cut hard material, and squeeze intractable matter. This text was his first attempt to popularize scientific texts into a local vernacular language; Urdu in this instance. From the 1860s onwards, he moved away from Persian sources and started focusing on English texts. In 1864, he established a society in Ghazipur called The Scientific Society. The society’s stated purpose was to translate historical and scientific texts from English to Urdu.

In this paper, using Sayyid Ahmad as a template, I argue that we can begin to understand science popularization in British India once we focus on vernacular languages and local figures translating sources into them. In this case, while Sayyid Ahmad’s translations moved away from Persian sources to English ones, the translations were always in Urdu. Thus, in his historical context, Sayyid Ahmad could be labeled a science popularizer to some extent. Overall, this paper aims to starts a conversation around science popularizers from the Global South and how to identify them.


Sarah J. Reynolds

Persuasive Power: The Demonstrative Experiment in 19th-century American Science Education

The experiment’s use and purpose in education changed significantly over the course of the 19th century as it moved from being a means of expert demonstration to directly engaging students in the processes of scientific experimentation. While the latter development has been widely recognized as influential in the rise of the modern research university, the earlier, demonstrative and illustrative use of the experiment played a significant role in the growth and popularization of science in the antebellum United States, serving to draw students and benefactors to colleges and universities. In this talk, I will discuss how influential early American scientist-and-educators, such as Benjamin Silliman of Yale, Robert Hare of the University of Pennsylvania, and Amos Eaton of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, learned to effectively wield the demonstrative experiment in their careers. Although the demonstrative experiment has sometimes been regarded as weaker pedagogically, examining this history reveals a depth and dynamism in how experienced practitioners used it to compel attention and provide a persuasive combination of rhetorical and experiential support for scientific claims. Furthermore, this history shows how popularization influenced science through pedagogy, as science educators refined and circulated certain experimental practices and technology for the purposes of improving their educational impact and popular appeal, not just their research applications.


Christina K. Roberts

Spacemobile: NASA as Science Educator and Popularizer

Beginning in 1961, science educators staffed NASA’s popular science program, the Spacemobile, which conducted state-of-the-art space science demonstrations and experiments to popular acclaim and high demand from students and the general public. Space science events were held for small and large groups in formal and informal settings and for larger audiences on television and radio broadcasts. By 1964, NASA’s Educational Programs and Services developed a more formal space science education program. NASA Centers collaborated with the U.S. Office of Education’s State Science Supervisors and various public universities to administer the program regionally to students of all ages.

This paper will examine NASA’s dual role as science popularizer and educator. Beginning in the late 1950s, NASA administrators lectured the public, wrote op-eds and charged its Public Affairs office to raise awareness and support for the space program. Historians have studied NASA’s Public Affairs, but insufficient attention is paid to how their space popularization efforts entered the nation’s science curriculum. Like other twentieth-century science popularizers, NASA aimed to raise public science awareness and increase the scientific workforce for their own purposes. NASA’s goals also reflected contemporary ideas about science and citizenship and scientific and technological expertise. This study examines conference proceedings, speeches, newsletters, educator memoirs and papers, lesson plans, and educator resources to construct a narrative of NASA’s role as twentieth-century science educator and popularizer.


Alejandra Ruiz León

Piura con Ciencia: How the History of Science Changed the Vision on How to Communicate Science in the North of Peru

From 2015 to 2019, the University of Piura executed a science popularization program called “Piura con Ciencia,” including more than 500 volunteers and 5000 participants. The program gained notoriety as a leading example of a decentralized educational program, obtaining recognition both nationally and internationally. The project’s outcomes were considered successful from the perspective of science popularization since it connected the scientific research produced by the university with different lay publics, it created a communication channel between the society and the university, obtained great feedback from the participants, and increased the demand of science outreach activities inside the  university. In 2018, a redesign of the program incorporated a History of Science’s perspective achieving a more critical approach of science and technology by the volunteers, the school teachers, and participants. The activities included the universities’ research on hydraulic technology produced by native Peruvian civilization and collaboratives spaces for the school participants to share local knowledge used in the region, especially on the use of water and flood prevention for El Nino Phenomenon. The activities rearrangement allowed us to compare how the project applied different science communication models in different stages, such as the Deficit Model, the Lay Expert Model, and the Public Participation Model. By critically analyzing the project’s results, we showed how science communication projects are primarily seen as philanthropic, excluding complete critical perspectives on science. Our study showed the effectiveness of measuring science popularization projects from a history of science’s perspective, broadening the analysis of the project’s results and goals.


Cristiano Turbil

Communicating Medicine to the First Generation of Italians: Paolo Mantegazza and the Creation of Popular Medicine in Post-Unified Italy

In the late nineteenth century, questions regarding hygiene and public health became central to the medical, cultural and political debates in Italy. Particularly during the first few decades after the unification (1861), public health campaigns became a key element in the creation of the new nation-state. One of the key figures who contributed to the establishment of the practice of hygiene in the country was the polymath Paolo Mantegazza. Mantegazza introduced the culture of hygiene in a variety of ways: from professional communication to the creation of popular medicine. For Mantegazza it was fundamental to use popular medicine as a pedagogical tool to teach Italians how to be “doctors at home” while also attempting to modernise the country. Mantegazza promoted his ideas using a variety of formats designed to engage with Italians regardless of their class and political ideas. These included public debates and talks, the publication of medical almanacs for the working class and, even, pedagogical and utopian novels.

The aim of this paper is to look at how the communication of hygiene was key to the welfare of the new kingdom. This paper will also explore how Mantegazza communicated controversial ideas about medicine and science to the general public. This will provide an overview of the circulation of medical knowledge in the post-unification Italian context and the importance this had for national public health.


Karen Woodruff

The Implications of the Core Practices Movement for the Science and Engineering Practices in the Next Generation Science Standards

The Science and Engineering Practices (SEP’s) are a fundamental component of the triad comprising the Next Generation Science Standards. The practices articulate the behaviors in which scientists and engineers engage and emphasize the importance of replicating those activities in the classroom through opportunities to do science.

The focus on SEP’s in science education fits broadly into the movement to define core practices that teachers can learn and enact to support students conceptual. Central to core practices scholarship is the notion that students’ ideas are central to the work of teaching and should be identified, valued, and addressed in the learning environment. Educators can develop skills to elicit student ideas using specific moves and establishing environments where students’ ideas are a significant focus of instruction. Communities of learners can work on their conceptions related to big ideas in science, grapple with experiences, and do the work of scientists when learning about the natural world. This paper takes up the challenge presented by Rudolph, (2019) who asserts, “if fundamental changes aren’t made to how we prepare teachers and what we value as the goals of science education…the NGSS almost surely face the same fate as…all the other variants of scientific process that came before.” The aim of this paper is to identify synergies between core practices and the NGSS SEP’s and contribute to the ongoing conversation about how to best prepare and support educators in taking up core practices that develop teachers’ understanding of the SEP’s and ultimately benefit a scientifically literate citizenry.