Education in, about, and through, the sciences - physics, chemistry, biology, earth science - has grown rapidly in the last 150 years. Starting from the twin bases of an elective provision for those likely to become scientists and engineers and of informal provision for the general populace, it has evolved into a core component of compulsory education across the globe. Above this rises an edifice of provision at university level and beyond, both formal and informal. This expansion has been justified by the perceptions that science is one of the major roots for economic prosperity, that it must inform an increasing number of decisions in democratic societies, and that it increasingly impinges on the personal lives of individuals.
This collection of papers, drawn from worldwide literature and reflecting diverse cultural traditions, provides a fascinating resource for scholars seeking to unravel the historical trajectories of these complexities, to understand the nature of current provision, and to identify likely future directions of development.