Rebecca Miller

Ph.D. Candidate
Graduate School of Education
Harvard University

2010 to 2011
Dissertation Research Fellow

Crafting the Two Cultures: Identifying and Educating Future Scientists and Non-Scientists in America, 1910–1970

Abstract. The professionalization of science in the late-19th century introduced the enduring conception of “scientists” and “non-scientists” as distinct types of people with different educational needs. In subsequent decades, educators engaged in a systematic quest to codify, normalize, and apply ideas about the unique characteristics of each group and how each was expected to make use of scientific knowledge. My dissertation will examine how 20th-century U.S. educators constructed and effectuated the notions of “future scientist” and “non-scientist” as entities distinct in makeup, educability, and civic responsibility. It will analyze how these distinctions took shape through the science curriculum, psychological testing and assessment of scientific identities and aptitudes, guidance and vocational counseling, and research on science curriculum and pedagogy. This study will further consider how the articulation and enactment of educational differentiation in science both shaped and responded to changing views of the nature of the scientific enterprise and its place in society. Here is a report of her research as a fellow.