Peter Fensham AM

(CEA Chemical Educator 1997)

Peter Fensham is Emeritus Professor of Science Education at Monash University, an honour bestowed on him when he retired after 25 years as Professor of Science Education, the first such appointee in Australia. With PhDs from both Bristol and Cambridge, Peter is one of Australia’s foremost science educators with a particular interest in chemical education. From a Readership in Physical Chemistry at Melbourne University, Peter moved to Chair of Science Education at Monash University in 1967. In 1971 he was the first nationally appointed President of the Australian Science Teachers Association and was President of the Australian Science Teachers 1972-74.  Since then he has been involved with science teachers in every Australian state, and has long time experience in serving on curriculum committees and reviews about many aspects of science education. In the early 2000s he was made Patron of the Science Teacher Association of Victoria.
He helped found the Australasian Science Education Research Association, the second oldest body of this kind in the world. He is perhaps best known for his seminal paper Science for All in 1985 and the many projects that followed in which he has worked to make that vision a reality in schooling. 
Peter played a major role in the developments of the curriculum reforms recommended to the Victorian Government by the Blackburn Report in 1985, leading to the creation of the Victorian Certificate of Education. He is the author of several well-known books of science education, including Teaching the Content of Science (with Gunstone and White) and Defining an Identity for Research in Science Education, and Developments and Dilemmas in Science Education(1988). In 1998 he was awarded the Distinguished Researcher Award of the North American Association for Research in Science Teaching. 
He has worked in many overseas countries and has continued a long association with UNESCO and with IOSTE. In 2003 he was National Visiting Professor at Kobe University in Japan. He served on the TIMSS Advisory Group for Science and has been a member of the Science Expert Group of the OECD’s PISA project since its inception. At present he is an Adjunct Professor at QUT and was appointed at the end of 2003 as Science Education Ambassador for Queensland.

In 1986 he was awarded his AM in recognition of service to the community and to education