Pedagogy, Popularization, and the Public Understanding of Science

Conferences and Symposia
Thursday, October 22, 2020–Friday, October 23, 2020
9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Online Event | Eastern Daylight Time (UTC -4)
United States

The fellows of the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry at the Science History Institute will host a two-day graduate and early-career conference on science education, science popularization, and their histories.

The conference will explore the interactions between science education and science popularization from the perspective of history and social science. For more than a decade scholarship in these fields has recognized the central role of pedagogy and training in creating new scientists and structuring research practice. This scholarship has also expanded its inquiry to encompass the impact of science and technology on diverse publics in a range of popular media, including print publications, the internet, and entertainment programs. While formal professional training is one segment of science education, the informal educational opportunities offered in these media, together with K–12 science curricula, have a potentially universal reach. In short, the representation of science and its history shapes fundamental conceptions of what science is and what it should be.

We seek to initiate discussion in these areas of inquiry in order to problematize and better understand the categories of “education,” “popularization,” and their histories across diverse sites of potential teaching and learning. Our keynote speakers will be John Rudolph, department chair of curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Kathryn Olesko, associate professor for the School of Foreign Service and the history department of Georgetown University.

View the conference program here.

Registration is free of charge and open to the public. For more information contact