Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

First things first. At the University of Texas at Austin, Julia Mickenberg and Janet Davis were always ready with advice, reading recommendations, and productively challenging feedback. I have tried to repay Janet and Julia for their scholarly generosity in jam and preserves, holiday fudge, and links to...

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Introduction: A Curious Century

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pp. 1-16

In February 2012, President Barack Obama hosted a science fair in the White House, where he was photographed with a fourteen-year-old contributor to the fair, Joey Hudy of Phoenix, Arizona. One image of the event captured the commander in chief’s wide-eyed expression as he gleefully operated Hudy’s...

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1. Wonder House: The Brooklyn Children’s Museum as Beautiful Dream

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pp. 17-39

In a 1908 article in Popular Science, Anna Billings Gallup, the curator of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, described the nine- year- old institution as a paradise for scienti¢cally minded city children: a research lab, library, and clubhouse, packaged in an enchanting old Victorian mansion. Gallup, who...

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2. Science in the Basement: Selling the Home Lab in the Interwar Years

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pp. 40-72

The cover of a kids’ biography of Thomas Edison, published in 1933, featured a red-cheeked and happy young Thomas Alva. This “Al,” as author Winifred Esther Wise calls him, is in the mobile chemical laboratory he set up for himself on a train car of the Grand Trunk Railway, where he worked selling food to...

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3. Embryo Scientists: Finding and Saving Postwar “Science Talent”

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pp. 73-112

In 1958, Life magazine ran a multi- issue series on the “crisis in education.” The first article in the series was headlined, “Schoolboys Point Up a U.S. Weakness.” The piece compared “likeable, considerate, and good-humored” Stephen Lapekas of Chicago with “hard- working, aggressive” Alexei Kutzov...

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4. Space Cadets and Rocket Boys: Policing the Masculinity of Scientific Enthusiasms

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pp. 113-142

Homer Hickam, a West Virginian from a coal-mining town who started making and testing rockets in 1957, read an impressive slate of science-fiction authors as a young teenager: Jules Verne, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, A. E. Van Vogt, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury. In his memoir of a Cold War scientific...

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5. The Exploratorium and the Persistence of Innocent Science

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pp. 143-164

In 1977, Amy Carter, presidential daughter and self-described “science freak,” visited the Exploratorium in San Francisco, while her mother attended to official business in the city.1 Newspapers reporting on the freckled ten-year-old’s visit to the museum described it as a happy whirl. “For nearly three hours...

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Conclusion: Looking Closer at “Kids Are Little Scientists”

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pp. 165-170

Scholars working in childhood studies are quite often confronted by what I think of as the “cuteness problem.” American beliefs about childhood—“boys like trucks”; “kids are so innocent”; “children love candy”—seem ingrained enough to feel biological, exempt from cultural analysis; they are deeply appealing...

Notes

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pp. 171-204

Bibliography

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pp. 205-222

Index

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pp. 223-226