Space Science: the View from European School Students
Gender imbalance in the physical sciences and engineering is a longstanding and well-documented concern within science education, industry, and policy. The current study is motivated by this issue and focuses on space science in particular, which has been promoted as a physical science with the capacity to inspire both boys and girls. A survey of over 8000 pupils aged 9–16 from 11 European countries was utilised to provide the first large-scale investigation of school students’ perceptions of space science. Enthusiasm for space science was clear within our sample, and individual differences were more important than background characteristics (gender, age, country) in driving attitudes to space science. However, although these positive attitudes and perceptions were shared by boys and girls, substantially fewer students, particularly females, expressed interest in pursuing a career in space science.