Philip Bell



An NRC consensus report on how people learn science in informal environments has just been released. I’ve been co-chairing the effort over the past three years. Here’s the the press release and the final report “Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits.”

I recently gave a talk on UW campus about “Pathways to Excellence and Equity in Science, Math & Engineering Education.” I have posted some references that I made during the talk.


I study how and why people learn about science and technology — and how it relates to what they want or need to accomplish in their lives. As someone who works in the learning sciences field, I’ve studied everyday learning, cognition and expertise in science; children's argumentation; the use of digital technologies within youth culture; the design and use of novel learning technologies; and new approaches to inquiry instruction in science. I direct the ethnographic and design-based research of the Everyday Science and Technology Group.

In my past work I’ve built web-based learning platforms and designed and studied K-12 science curricula. I presently spend most of my time conducting learning ethnographies of youth and families across social settings. I’m currently a Co-Lead of informal learning research for the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Center and a Co-PI of the COSEE-Ocean Learning Communities Center. I have a background in human cognition and development, science education, electrical engineering, and computer science.

research group INFO



INFO for PRospective students

  1. Director, UW Institute for Science and Mathematics Education

  2. Member, Board on Science Education, NAS

  3. Co-Chair, Learning Science in Informal Environments Consensus Study

  4. Editorial Board, International Journal of Science Education

  5. Review Board, Elementary School Journal

Associate Professor of Learning Sciences • University of Washington

The Geda and Phil Condit Professor of Science and Math Education