This is a lively book which provides a framework to help understand the development of popular science and current debates about it. In an easily 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 legitimated and challenged. The book includes clear accounts of the public perception of scientists, visions of the future, the 'Two Cultures' debate and concerns about scientific literacy. The final provocative chapter proposes a new spatial model for understanding the interaction between lay and expert knowledge. All in all, this book is essential reading in cultural studies, science studies, history of science and science communication.