Science, so Close and yet so Far Away: How People View Science, Science Subjects, and Scientists

Part of the Mathematics for Industry book series (MFI, volume 9)


In this paper, we conduct a review over the existing empirical research to discuss how science and its specific aspects are viewed by the general population. We particularly highlight the potential gap existing in how people perceive science in an abstract sense and science in its more specific forms. We first demonstrate the tendency of people to possess a mix of positive and negative views toward science depending on whether they think in terms of general science or school science, reporting findings from both self-report and implicit measures of attitudes. Second, we discuss about a set of findings speculating about people’s views toward scientists and other science-related individuals. Such studies suggest that people’s images are often affected by stereotypes, which do not portray reality and potentially distance science from people. Based on such facts, we point out several tasks of science education to narrow the gap between people’s abstract and stereotypical images of science and the more specific and actual science.


Images of science School science Scientist stereotype Science education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Humanities and SociologyThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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