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: Students' understanding of chemical bonding

Ingrid Kvendset Fiske: Students' perceptions of plastics

Fredrikke Hylen: Gradeless assessment in science

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

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. 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.