* This is the text of the short introduction to the 5th ECRICE by the author in his capacity as chairman of the organising and advising committees.
EXCERPTS: It is well known that the public may not be so interested in chemistry, let alone chemistry education, but quite often they are interested quite a lot about education in general. In the final analysis, how useful is educational theory ?
A top-down and bottom-up process: Science educators, through research, have considerably advanced our knowledge on how learners learn chemistry and science in general. By applying theories and methods of research from other disciplines , that is by working in a top-down mode, they are leading our field into maturity. At the same time, the reverse process, a bottom-up procedure is taking place. By carrying out investigations on how students understand the concepts and problems of chemistry, we are in a position not only to suggest better methods of teaching and learning of the chemical concepts themselves, but also, we lay the foundation for new methodologies that can be applied to other school subjects, as well as to the whole educational process. Our ultimate target, our ultimate mission, is to reshape, to restructure not only chemistry and science education, but all education .
A diversion to chemistry education: Chemistry is the molecular science: a sub micro-world of molecules, atoms, electrons. The revolutionary concept of the corpuscular nature of matter, that is of atoms-molecules, together with the equally revolutionary concept of vacuum (because one needs the vacuum if one should allow atoms-molecules to move) were first proposed by the ancient Greek philosophers Leucippus and Democritus. Chemistry then deals with a small world, and at the same time a large world. That is both a privilege and a drawback! The positive side is the esoteric beauty of chemistry, for those who can see that beauty . However, the molecular-atomic-electronic nature of chemistry is a large pedagogic drawback, the most important factor for its learning difficulties . Teaching and learning about atoms and molecules is a heavy task for both teachers and pupils. Research in chemistry education has a lot to say about this!