Bruce V. Lewenstein

Professor and University Ombuds


Dr. Bruce V. Lewenstein is a widely-known authority on public communication of science and technology–how science and technology are reported to the public and how the public understands controversial scientific issues and "emerging technologies" such as biotechnology and nanotechnology. Trained as a historian of science, he often uses historical case studies in his research. He has also done extensive work evaluating "citizen science" outreach projects, in which citizens fully participate in the scientific process by gathering, entering, and sometimes analyzing scientific data. In recent years, he has helped connect the "public communication" field with the "learning sciences" field, especially around issues of public engagement in science. He works frequently with scientists learning more about public communication of science and technology.

Research Focus

  • I work on various dimensions of public communication of science and technology, with excursions into other areas of science communication (such as informal science education). In general, I try to document the ways that public communication of science and technology is fundamental to the process of producing reliable knowledge about the natural and constructed worlds.

    In the 1990s, I spent some time as an evaluator of informal science education projects, especially in areas of citizen science. Since then, I have retained my interest in citizen science, including as a tool for informal science education.
  • Since the 2000s, I have explored social and ethical issues associated with emerging technologies such as genomics and nanotechnology. Most recently, I’ve been working on how to assess the impact on scientific practice of public engagement about social and ethical issues in “digital plant sciences.”


  • Lewenstein, B. V. (1987). Was There Really a Popular Science 'Boom'? Science, Technology & Human Values, 12(2 (Spring)), 29-41.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (1992). Cold Fusion and Hot History. Osiris, 2nd series, 7, 135-163.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (1992). The Meaning of 'Public Understanding of Science' in the United States After World War II. Public Understanding of Science, 1(1), 45-68.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (Ed.). (1992). When Science Meets the Public. Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (1995). From Fax to Facts: Communication in the Cold Fusion Saga. Social Studies of Science, 25(3), 403-436.
  • Kohlstedt, S. G., Sokal, M., & Lewenstein, B. V. (1999). The Establishment of Science in America: 150 Years of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (2001). Science and Media. In N. J. Smelser & P. B. Baltes (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 13654-13657). Oxford: Pergamon.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (2001). What kind of 'public understanding of science' programs best serve a democracy? In S. Maasen & M. Winterhager (Eds.), Science Studies: Probing the Dynamics of Scientific Knowledge (pp. 237-255). Bielefeld (Germany): Transcript.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (2003). Popularization. In J. Heilbron (Ed.), Oxford Companion to History of Modern Science. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Lewenstein, B. V., & Allison-Bunnell, S. W. (2000). Creating knowledge in science museums: Serving both public and scientific communities. In B. Schiele & E. H. Koster (Eds.), Science Centers for This Century (pp. 187-208). St. Foy, Quebec: Editions Multimondes.
  • Nisbet, M., & Lewenstein, B. V. (2002). Biotechnology and the American Media: The policy process and the elite press, 1970 to 1999. Science Communication, 23(4), 359-391.
  • Chittenden, D., Farmelo, G., & Lewenstein, B. V. (Eds.). (2004). Creating Connections:  Museums and the Public Understanding of Current Research. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (2005). What counts as a "social and ethical issue" in nanotechnology? Hyle: International Journal for the Philosophy of Chemistry, 11(1), 5-18.
  • Brossard, D., Lewenstein, B. V., & Bonney, R. (2005). Scientific Knowledge and Attitude Change: The Impact of a Citizen Science Project. International Journal of Science Education, 27(9), 1099-1121.
  • Lewenstein, B. (2006). The History of Now: Reflections on Being a "Contemporary Archivist". In R. E. Doel & T. Söderqvist (Eds.), Writing Recent Science: The Historiography of Contemporary Science, Technology, and Medicine (pp. 31-42). London: Routledge.
  • Bell, P., Lewenstein, B. V., Shouse, A., & Feder, M. (Eds.). (2009). Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
  • McCallie, E., Bell, L., Lohwater, T., Falk, J., Lehr, J. H., Lewenstein, B. V., Needham, C., Wiehe, B. (2009). Many Experts, Many Audiences: Public Engagement with Science and Informal Science Education.  A CAISE Inquiry Group Report. Washington, DC: Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education.
  • Brossard, Dominique, & Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2010). A Critical Appraisal of Models of Public Understanding of Science: Using Practice to Inform Theory. In LeeAnn Kahlor & Patricia Stout (Eds.), Communicating Science: New Agendas in Communication (pp. 11-39). New York: Routledge.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (2009). Science Books Since 1945. In D. P. Nord, M. Schudson & J. Rubin (Eds.), The Enduring Book: Print Culture in Postwar America (pp. 347-360). Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Lewenstein, B. V. (2011). Experimenting with Engagement. Commentary on "Taking Our Own Medicine: On an Experiment in Science Communication.". [10.1007/s11948-011-9328-5]. Science and Engineering Ethics, 17(4), 817-821.
  • Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2015). Identifying what matters: Science education, science communication, and democracy. Journal of Research on Science Teaching, 52(2), 253-262. doi: 10.1002/tea.21201.
  • Cooper, Caren B., & Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2016). Two meanings of citizen science. In D. Cavalier & E. B. Kennedy (Eds.), The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science (pp. 51-62). Tempe, AZ: Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes.
  • Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2017). Scientific Controversies. In K. H. Jamieson, D. Kahan, & D. A. Scheufele (Eds.), Handbook of Science of Science Communication (pp. 73-78). New York: Oxford.
  • Pandya, Rajul, & Dibner, Kenne Ann (Eds.). (2018). Learning through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. [I was a member of the authoring committee]
  • Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2019). Editorial introduction: The need for feminist approaches to science communication. JCOM: Journal of Science Communication, 18(4) (online only),
  • Lopes de Oliveira, Diogo, Moreno, Erick, & Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2021). Media representations of official declarations and political actions in Brazil during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in Communication. 6, Article 646445 (online only).
  • Fahy, Declan, & Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2021). Scientists in popular culture. In Massimiano Bucchi & Brian Trench (Eds.), Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology (3rd ed., pp. 33-52). London: Routledge.
  • Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2022). Is citizen science a remedy for inequality? Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science, 700, 183-194.   
  • Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2022). What is science communication? JCOM: Journal of Science Communication, 21(7) (online only).
  • Lewenstein, Bruce V., & Baram-Tsabari, Ayelet. (2022). How should we organize science communication trainings to achieve competencies? International Journal of Science Education -- Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 12(4), 289-308.
  • Thackray, Arnold. (2022). Science: Has Its Present Past a Future? (Jeffrey L. Sturchio & Bruce V. Lewenstein, Eds.). Ithaca: Seavoss Associates.

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