Science is a defining feature of the modern world, and popular science is where most of us make sense of that fact. "Understanding Popular Science" provides a framework to help understand the development of popular science and current debates about it. In a lively and accessible style, Peter Broks shows how popular science has been invented, redefined and fought over. From early-nineteenth century radical science to twenty-first century government initiatives, he examines popular science as an arena where the authority of science and the authority of the state are legitimized and challenged. The book includes clear accounts of the public perception of scientists, visions of the future, fears of an "anti-science" movement and concerns about scientific literacy. The final chapter proposes a new model for understanding the interaction between lay and expert knowledge. This book is essential reading in cultural studies, science studies, history of science and science communication.