University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education



University Lecturer in Education (Science)


BSc (Hons), PGCE, DPSE, MSc, PhD, CPhys, MInstP, CChem, FRSC, FRSA

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

Royal Society of Chemistry

Institute of Physics

Association for Science Education

British Association for the Advancement of Science

British Educational Research Association

Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, manufacture and commerce


Formerly a science teacher in comprehensive secondary schools and a college of further education, Keith Taber teaches on the secondary and middle school PGCE courses. He was the RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry) Teacher Fellow for 2000-1 and the CERG (Chemical Education Research Group) Lecturer for 2000.

Dr. Taber is the moderator of an international electronic discussion list on learning in science. This list is intended as a forum for discussion among teachers, researchers and others who are interested in aspects of this topic. You may join the list at:


Academic Area

Academic area Science Education

Editorial Board member for the International Journal of Science Education

Associate Editor of Chemical Education: Research and Practice

(an electronic journal available free on the internet at: conf_sem/cerapie/)

Editorial Associate for the School Science Review

Review Board member of Teacher Development

Chairman of the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Education Research Group


Research Topics

Learning and concept development in science

Gender and science education


Current Research Project(s)

Conceptual development in science: ECLIPSE

Meeting the needs of the most able in science (collaborative project): APECS

Explanations in science teaching and learning

Challenging misconceptions in the classroom (RSC sponsored project)


Course Involvement

Secondary PGCE Physics Education tutor

KS3 Science coordinator for KS2/3 PGCE course

Physics lecturer

Core studies lecturer for Secondary PGCE course

Link lecturer for Secondary PGCE course

Research supervisor



Taber, K. S. (1991) Gender differences in science preferences on starting secondary school, Research in Science & Technological Education, 9 (2), pp.245- 251.

Taber, K. S. (1992) Science-relatedness and gender-appropriateness of careers: some pupil perceptions, Research in Science & Technological Education, 10 (1), pp.105-115.

Taber, K. S. (1992) Girls' interactions with teachers in mixed physics classes: results of classroom observation, International Journal of Science Education, 14 (2), pp.163-180.

Taber, K. S. (1994) Misunderstanding the ionic bond, Education in Chemistry, 31 (4), pp.100-103.

Taber, K. S., (1994) The teacher-researcher's duty: Accounting for Ourselves to our co-learners, in Laidlaw, M., Lomax, P. & Whitehead, J. (editors) (1994) Proceedings of Accounting for Ourselves, World Congress 3: Action Learning, Action Research and Process Management, Bath: University of Bath, pp.230-233.

Taber, K. S. (1994) Student reaction on being introduced to concept mapping, Physics Education, 29 (5), pp.276-281.

Taber, K. S. (1995) An analogy for discussing progression in learning chemistry, School Science Review, 76 (276), pp.91-95.

Taber, K. S. (1995) Development of Student Understanding: A Case Study of Stability and Lability in Cognitive Structure, Research in Science & Technological Education, 13 (1), pp.87-97.

Taber, K. S. and Watts, M. (1996) The secret life of the chemical bond: students' anthropomorphic and animistic references to bonding, International Journal of Science Education, 18 (5), pp.557-568.

Watts, M. and Taber, K. S (1996) An explanatory gestalt of essence: students' conceptions of the 'natural' in physical phenomena, International Journal of Science Education, 18 (8), pp.939-954.

Taber, K. S. (1996) Chlorine is an oxide, heat causes molecules to melt, and sodium reacts badly in chlorine: a survey of the background knowledge of one A level chemistry class, School Science Review, 78 (282), pp.39-48.

Taber, K. S. (1997) Student understanding of ionic bonding: molecular versus electrostatic thinking?, School Science Review, 78 (285), pp.85-95.

Taber, K. S. and Watts, M. (1997) Constructivism and concept learning in chemistry perspectives from a case study, Research in Education, 58, November 1997, pp.10-20.

Taber, K. S. (1998) An alternative conceptual framework from chemistry education, International Journal of Science Education, 20 (5), pp.597-608.

Taber, K. S. (1998) The sharing-out of nuclear attraction: or I can't think about Physics in Chemistry, International Journal of Science Education, 20 (8), pp.1001- 1014.

Taber, K. S. (1999) Alternative conceptual frameworks in chemistry, Education in Chemistry, 36 (5) pp.135-137.

Taber, K. S. (1999) Ideas about ionisation energy: a diagnostic instrument, School Science Review, 81 (295), pp.97-104.

Taber, K. S. (2000) Case studies and generalisability grounded theory and research in Science Education, International Journal of Science Education, 22 (5), pp.469-487.

Taber, K. S. (2000) Multiple frameworks?: Evidence of manifold conceptions in individual cognitive structure, International Journal of Science Education, 22 (4), pp.399-417.

Taber, K. S. (2000) Should physics teaching be a research-based activity?, Physics Education, 35 (3), pp.163-168.

Taber, K. S. (2000) The CERG Lecture 2000: Molar and molecular conceptions of research into learning chemistry: towards a synthesis (summary of lecture) in Overton, T. (editor) Variety in Chemistry Teaching 2000 Proceedings, Royal Society of Chemistry Tertiary Education Group, pp.8-14.

Taber, K. S. (2000) Chemistry lessons for universities?: a review of constructivist ideas, University Chemistry Education, 4 (2), pp.26-35.

Taber, K. S. (2000) Finding the optimum level of simplification: the case of teaching about heat and temperature, Physics Education, 35 (5), pp.320-325.

Taber, K. S. & Watts, M. (2000) Learners' explanations for chemical phenomena, Chemistry Education: Research and Practice in Europe, 1 (3), pp.329-353, available at

Taber, K. S. (2001) Constructing chemical concepts in the classroom?: using research to inform practice, Chemistry Education: Research and Practice in Europe, 2 (1), pp.43-51, available at

Taber, K. S. (2001) Building the structural concepts of chemistry: some considerations from educational research, Chemistry Education: Research and Practice in Europe, 2 (2), pp.123-158, available at

Taber, K. S. (2001) The mismatch between assumed prior knowledge and the learner's conceptions: a typology of learning impediments, Educational Studies, 27 (2), pp.159-171.

Taber, K. S. (2001) Shifting sands: a case study of conceptual development as competition between alternative conceptions, International Journal of Science Education, 23 (7), pp.731-753.

Taber, K. S. (2001) When the analogy breaks down: modelling the atom on the solar system, Physics Education, 36 (3), pp.222-226.

Taber, K. S. (2002) "Intense, but it's all worth it in the end": the colearner's experience of the research process, British Educational Research Journal, 28 (3), 435-457.

Taber, K. S. (2002) Chemical misconceptions prevention, diagnosis and cure, 2 volumes, London: Royal Society of Chemistry (ISBN 0-85404-390-X)

Taber, K. S. (2002) Conceptualizing quanta illuminating the ground state of student understanding of atomic orbitals, Chemistry Education: Research and Practice in Europe, 3 (2), pp.145-158.

Taber, K. S. (2002) Compounding quanta probing the frontiers of student understanding of molecular orbitals, Chemistry Education: Research and Practice in Europe, 3 (2), pp.159-173.

Taber K. S. (2002) A core concept in teaching chemistry, School Science Review, 84 (306), pp.105-110.

Taber, K. S. & Coll, R. (in press) Chemical Bonding, chapter 9 of Gilbert J. K. (general editor) Chemical Education: Research-based Practice, Kluwer Academic Publishers BV.

Taber, K. S. (in press) The atom in the chemistry curriculum: fundamental concept, teaching model or epistemological obstacle?, accepted for publication in Foundations of Chemistry.

Taber, K. S. (in press) Responding to misconceptions in the classroom, accepted for publication in School Science Review.

Taber, K. S. (in press) Mediating mental models of metals: acknowledging the priority of the learner's prior learning, accepted for publication in Science Education.