Background and activities

The ScienceHumanities research group at Department of teacher education, NTNU

The ScienceHumanities research group applies perspectives from the humanities and the social sciences to the study of natural science (including science in school) as a discipline and cultural practice, past and present. We study, among other things, the history of science and science education, the (re)presentation of science in textbooks and how the Nature of Science (NOS) is taught in the classroom, cultures of writing, students’ understanding of science, and practical experiments in science teaching.  

I hold an MSc in chemistry/chemistry education (1998) and a PhD in chemistry education/history of chemistry (2005), both from NTNU. My research interests include the history of 20th-century chemistry in Norway, technical-chemical education in Norway, radioactivity and nuclear science, the periodic system, the material culture of chemistry, women in chemistry, collaborative couples in the sciences, chemistry textbooks, 19th- and 20th-century teaching tools and practices, small-scale experiments in chemistry education, and writing cultures and practices in science.

Recent interview with Annette Lykknes



STEM-key: Teaching Standard STEM topics with a key competence approach

ENSITE: Environmental Socio-Scientific Issues in Initial Teacher Education

CriThiSE: Critical Thinking in Sustainability Education

Kontoret - idémilijø og minneteater 

Collective volume on the Nature of Scientific Discovery: 

Collective volume edited by Annette Lykknes and Brigitte Van Tiggelen (World Scientific, 2021)
History of science is full of examples of scientific discoveries, priority disputes related to such discoveries, and discussions on what aspects of a discovery that qualify for credit. In textbooks and popular accounts, however, discoveries are often presented as clear-cut and a point for sudden change of thought (or even as decisive for paradigm shifts), while insight into the context in which the discovery took place, the time involved in developing new knowledge, and the contributions by a range of actors of different rank, is often omitted.

This volume will focus on chemical elements and will offer well researched case studies. Questions we seek to shed light on include: How the discovery process can be reconstituted through historical documentation, how one (or more) ‘discoverers’ found their place in popular historical accounts, and what stage in a discovery constitutes the ‘discovery’. Indeed, we want to stress that discovery is a collective process and the result of narratives that are context dependent as they occur in specific time place and social settings.



The International of the Periodic System 2019 (IYPT2019)

In December 2017 the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. UNESCO, scientific societies, educational and research institutions, and other organisations came together for the IYPT. The activities related to the IYPT at NTNU were coordinated by the ScienceHumanities research group, and supported by the Department of Teacher Education, the Faculty of Natural Sciences (and its Departments of Chemistry, Material Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Biotechnology and Food Science), and the Royal Norwegian Society for Sciences and Letters. Collaborators included The Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) and the Science Center in Trondheim (Vitensenteret).

A variety of activities were organised, for example Stjernestøv (“Stardust”), a “chemistry van” which has been equipped with samples of the chemical elements visiting schools in the provinces of Trøndelag; a periodic table app (currently in development); a scientific anthology, two special issues of journals, and articles; a popular science book and lectures for the general public; a web site; and two exhibitions at the Natural Science Library at NTNU, all covered variously by the press. Overall, the activities have aimed to disseminate knowledge on chemistry in general, to make sense of the periodic system and its elements in particular, and to use the history of the periodic system to show that science is a multifaceted, complex and collaborative pursuit, rather than the stand-alone achievement of individual geniuses.  

Website for Periodesystemets år ved NTNU

Selected publications:

Members of the research group:

External members

  • Sofie Areljung, Umeå University
  • Martin Bilek, Charles University
  • Gultekin Cakmakci, Hacettepe University
  • Brigitte Van Tiggelen, Science History Institute

PhD students

Mirtachew T. Ali: "Development and Use of Low-Cost Locally Available Instructional Materials as a Vehicle for Enhancing the Quality of High School Chemistry Education in Ethiopia"

Ethegebreal Aregehagn: "Improving the Learning of Geometrical Optics with Multiple Representations"

Sonia Martins Félix: "Towards Understanding Norwegian Primary Teachers’ Engagement with Critical Thinking (CT) in relation to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)"

Master students

Maria Fink Kvamme: Studenters forståelse av kjemisk binding

Ingrid Kvendset Fiske: Studenters oppfatning av plast i samfunnet

Fredrikke Hylen: Samarbeisprøver som tilpasset vurdering i naturfag

Linn Hege Vågø: Utforskende undervisning i kjemi

Recent master theses:


Chemistry didactics (PPU 4224/4727) - Episodes in the history of the natural sciences (RFEL 3093) - Academic literacies (DID3002), Perspectives on science and technology education (LOS8030)

Scientific, academic and artistic work

Displaying a selection of activities. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


  • Eikeseth, Unni; Lykknes, Annette. (2019) PERIODESYSTEMET Fra alkymi til kjernekjemi. Museumsforlaget AS. 2019. ISBN 9788283050752.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Van Tiggelen, Brigitte. (2019) Women in their Element: Selected Women’s Contributions to the Periodic System. World Scientific. 2019. ISBN 9789811206283.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Suay-Matallana, Ignacio. (2017) 11th International Conference on the History of Chemistry, Trondheim 2017. Book of abstracts. 2017. ISBN 978-82-7923-079-3.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Gusland, Joakim Ziegler. (2015) Akademi og industri: Kjemiutdanning og -forskning ved NTNU gjennom 100 år. Fagbokforlaget. 2015. ISBN 9788245018288.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Opitz, Donald L.; Van Tiggelen, Brigitte. (2012) For Better or For Worse? Collaborative Couples in the Sciences. Birkhäuser Verlag. 2012. ISBN 9783034802857.

Part of book/report

  • Lykknes, Annette. (2019) Ellen Gleditsch and Research on Radium, Chlorine and Potassium. Women in their Element: Selected Women’s Contributions to the Periodic System.
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2019) Sonja Smith-Meyer-Hoel – Chemical Engineer in the Ferrosilicon and Aluminium Industry in Norway. Women in their Element: Selected Women’s Contributions to the Periodic System.
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2016) Bjørn Pedersen, kjemiker (10. februar 2016). Store norske leksikon ( 2016).
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2015) Ignored, Disregarded, Discarded? On the Introduction of the Periodic System in Norwegian Periodicals and Textbooks, c. 1870-1930s. Early Responses to the Periodic System.
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2015) Å beskrive og utforske naturen. Naturfagrelevante skriveoppgaver i Normprosjektet. Å invitere elever til skriving. Ulike perspektiver på skriveoppgaver..
  • Tesfamariam, Gebrekidan Mebrahtu; Lykknes, Annette; Kvittingen, Lise. (2014) Teacher's Perception of the Use of Small-scale Chemistry Experimentation. Science education research and education for sustainable development.
  • Torvatn, Anne Charlotte; Lykknes, Annette. (2013) Biografi eller fagartikel, forsøgsrapport eller log - om indhold, form og brug i naturfagsskrivning på mellemtrinet. På sporet af god skriveundervisning - en bog for lærere i alle fag.
  • Opitz, Donald L.; Lykknes, Annette; Van Tiggelen, Brigitte. (2012) Introduction. For Better or For Worse? Collaborative Couples in the Sciences.
  • Van Tiggelen, Brigitte; Lykknes, Annette. (2012) Ida and Walter Noddack Through Better or Worse: An Arbeitsgemeinschaft in Chemistry. For Better or For Worse? Collaborative Couples in the Sciences.
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2011) From Fascinating Black Box to Science with Little Potential: Radioactivity in the Early 20th Century. Marie Sklodowska / Madame Curie.
  • Torvatn, Anne Charlotte; Lykknes, Annette. (2011) Biografi eller fagartikkel, forsøksrapport eller logg? Om innhold, form og bruk i naturfagskriving på mellomtrinnet. På sporet av god skriveopplæring - ei bok for lærere i alle fag.
  • Bungum, Berit; Rødseth, Silje; Lykknes, Annette; Murvoll, Kari Mette. (2010) What brought them into science? University students' interest profiles and motivation for choosing science at university level. Contemporary Science Education Research: Learning and Assessment.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Smidt, Jon. (2010) Skrivesituasjoner og potensialer for læring i naturfag på ungdomstrinnet og videregående skole. Skriving i alle fag - innsyn og utspill.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Torvatn, Anne Charlotte. (2010) Om astronauter, blandinger og skrukketroll: Skriving i naturfag på 4. og 5. trinn. Skriving i alle fag - innsyn og utspill.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Smidt, Jon. (2009) Skriving i arbeidsbok i naturfag på ungdomstrinnet: Innhold, form og formål. FoU i praksis 2008. Rapport fra konferanse om praksisrettet FoU i lærerutdanning.
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2009) Ellen Gleditsch: radiokjemiker, professor og kvinnelig forbilde. Historier om helse.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Smidt, Jon. (2009) Skriving i arbeidsbok i naturfag på ungdomstrinnet: Innhold, form og formål. FoU i praksis 2008. Rapport fra konferanse om praksisrettet FoU i lærerutdanning.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Arnesen, Trond. (2008) Fra lister til tankekart: skriving i naturfag i noen nye lærebøker. Å skrive i alle fag.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Smidt, Jon. (2008) "Strukturert og ordentlig" - om å skrive forsøksrapport i naturfag på ungdomstrinnet. Å skrive i alle fag.
  • Lykknes, Annette; Kvittingen, Lise; Jacobsen, Elisabeth Egholm. (2006) Founding of a laboratory at Norway's Institute of Technology: Laboratory practices 1910-1036. 5th International Conference on History of Chemistry: "Chemistry, Technology and Society" - Proceedings.


  • Lykknes, Annette. (2020) Women's History Month: Meet Annette Lykknes. [Internett]. 2020-03-10.
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2019) Kvinnene og periodesystemet. NRK Ekko [Radio]. 2019-04-09.
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2019) Oversett og glemt: Dette er kvinnene bak periodesystemet. [Internett]. 2019-03-08.
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2019) Periodesystemet er 150 år: Hvorfor tok det 100 år før det ble viktig i norske lærebøker?. [Internett]. 2019-03-07.
  • Lykknes, Annette. (2019) Podcast: Women of the periodic table, and harvesting energy from WiFi. [Internett]. 2019-01-30.