realization that having a sufficient number of scientists and engineers in the United States was essential to remain competitive on the world stage. As part of the response, the National Science Foundation funded science curriculum development projects and involved scientists from the disciplines in that work (Cummings, 2011; Rudolph, 2002). Finally, from the 1970s through the 1990s, scholarly research that might be considered true DBER emerged and the individual fields of DBER gained recognition as fields of study within the science disciplines. Recognition of DBER can be seen in statements by professional societies, the establishment of journals and the emergence of graduate and postdoctoral opportunities.
In the following sections, we trace the development of DBER in each of the parent disciplines. The six fields of DBER are discussed in roughly chronological order, from the parent discipline where DBER, in its modern form, first emerged to those where it emerged later. We adopt this approach because fields that have developed more recently have built on the experiences of older fields.
The Emergence of Physics Education Research
Early roots of physics education research (PER) can be traced to concerns about the quality of physics education that emerged during the late 1800s and early 1920s. These concerns led to the establishment of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) in 1930. Since 1932, AAPT has been the primary organization supporting the improvement of physics education in the United States.
The rise of PER was probably a result of the national concern about science education in the late 1950s and 1960s, which led to the involvement of natural scientists in efforts to improve science education (Cummings, 2011; Matthews, 1994). Following Sputnik, large infusions of federal funds and the emergence of many highly respected physicists as leaders in educational reform made involvement in physics education more attractive to members of that community. For every level of the education system from early elementary school to the university, new curricular content was developed that was more consistent with contemporary physics research. Large-scale efforts to reformulate undergraduate introductory physics were centered at the University of California at Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Feynman, Leighton, and Sands, 1964; French, 1968; Kittel, Knight, and Ruderman, 1965). At the K-12 level, physicists worked with educators to use new pedagogy that reflected the processes of science (similar to what has recently been called inquiry or scientific practices). These efforts included the Physical Science Study Committee (Finlay, 1962), Harvard Project Physics (Holton, 2003), and the Science Curriculum Improvement Study (Karplus, 1964). Although