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This is a hybrid event; attendees can either join in person or on Zoom. If the latter, please click on the 'Register for this event' button in the top right corner of this webpage, and fill in the form.

If you would prefer to attend in person, the seminar will take place in Room G/8, in the Waterloo Bridge Wing of Franklin Wilkins Building, King's College London, Stamford Street, SE1 9NH. If you are not a member of CRESTEM, please email to RSVP.


One of the central questions that the current pandemic has posed concerns the relationship of science, technology and society that unfolds in times of disasters, and particularly how such a relationship should be addressed to young people across different stages of education. For example, why do scientists often fail to predict disasters despite considerable research efforts? What is the role of science and engineering experts in coping with disasters? How can individuals and policymakers make decisions in the absence of conclusive scientific evidence? How is knowledge about disasters generated in post-disaster public inquiries?

Drawing on social studies of disasters, Dr Park proposes that learning about disasters in the science classroom not just contributes to disaster resilience of individuals and society but is also key to a critical and nuanced understanding of science that appreciates its functions in society. This view recognises the importance of thinking across the disciplinary boundaries of science, engineering, social sciences and humanities in order to fully capture the complex nature of disasters and educate citizens who are prepared for and resilient to future disasters.

He will use disaster examples such as the Fukushima disaster, the Grenfell Tower Fire, and COVID-19 to exemplify the critical role of science education in tackling disasters. Based on an analysis of science curricula and standards, and empirical studies with science teachers, he will illustrate the affordances and challenges of teaching about disasters in the science classroom and discuss impending tasks for science education researchers and teacher educators.

Speaker: Dr Wonyong Park

Wonyong Park is a Lecturer in Science Education within the Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on the use of history, philosophy and social studies of science to enrich science (physics) education. In recent years, he is also passionate about exploring the role of science and STEM education in building a disaster-resilient society in an age of various regional and global crises. In doing so, his research approach integrates science and other subjects such as history, social studies, RE and language.

In 2022, Wonyong was awarded a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council for the TeachDisasters project that aims to facilitate interdisciplinary and intercultural disaster education.

This talk was part of the CRESTEM seminar series.