Interdisciplinary Workshop

Conceptual Change: Bridging the Gap Between the History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) and Science Education Research

We invite HPS scholars, science education researchers as well as, for instance, cognitive psychologists with an interest in history and philosophy, to share their ideas on these issues.

In particular, we aim to address the following main questions:

  • How have HPS and science education research informed and/or influenced each other’s views on conceptual change over the past decades until the present?
  • What is the relation between recent debates in HPS and science education research on theories and models of conceptual change?
  • What is required to make their respective insights into conceptual change of mutual benefit?

We welcome submission for short talks (30 minutes, including questions and discussion). We particularly encourage submissions by women, minorities, and other traditionally-underrepresented groups.

Since the 1970s, conceptual change counts as a major topic in both the history and philosophy of science (HPS) and science education research. From around that same time, it has become widely recognized that HPS scholars and science educators have much to offer each other. There is currently an increased interest in the further exploration of this relationship, especially with an eye to improving scientific literacy. An important challenge in this regard is to bridge the gap between HPS research on conceptual change in science, on the one hand, and science education approaches to conceptual change at the level of instructional practice, on the other.

Following the emerging consensus that HPS-informed science education is crucial for students’ understanding of the methods, concepts and nature of science, this workshop brings together HPS scholars and science education researchers around the topic of conceptual change. Its purpose is twofold. First, looking backward in time, it attempts to capture the differences and overlaps between HPS and science education in understanding conceptual change. Second, projecting into the future, it seeks to identify the relationship between the main problems and prospects of HPS and science education research on conceptual change and to turn these into new research agendas for collaboration.

This workshop is organized by Lukas M. Verburgt (Utrecht University) and Paul Alstein (Utrecht University) with the kind support of the Descartes Centre, the Freudenthal Institute and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).


  • prof. Stella Vosniadou (Flinders University Adelaide; College of Education, Psychology and Social Work)
  • prof. Paul Hoyningen-Huene (Leibniz Universität Hannover; Institute of Philosophy)
Start date and time
End date and time
Online (link will follow)

Abstracts, including title, should be between 200 to 300 words, formatted in Microsoft Word, and double-spaced, using a regular size 12 font. Please send your abstract to and with ‘Conceptual Change’ in the headline.

Submission deadline: 14 April 2021

Notification of acceptance: 21 April 2021