National Science Foundation Study Reveals that Americans Like Scientists, But Not Science
If you feel that reading about the latest gizmos and gadgets is more interesting than studying for a school science quiz, then you are not alone. A survey conducted by the National Science Foundation indicates that average Americans may not be very interested in science but a majority of them are interested in hearing about the latest scientific breakthroughs, according to a press release Friday.
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The survey,which is conducted by the National Science Board as part of a report called Science and Engineering Indicators every two years, had more than 2,200 participants. The findings were presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting. Researchers found that Americans think very highly of scientists. According to the survey, 90 percent of Americans think highly of scientists as they are "helping to solve challenging problems" and are "dedicated people who work for the good of humanity."
"It's important for Americans to maintain a high regard for science and scientists, it can help ensure funding and help attract future scientists", said John Besley, an associate professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Michigan State University (MSU).
But the survey also indicates that most Americans need to brush up on their basic science. The fact that the earth revolves around the sun was a fact known to only 74 percent of those queried, while only 48 percent of the people knew that human beings evolved from earlier species of animals. Out of a total of nine questions that covered the physical and biological sciences, the average score was 6.5 correct answers.
The findings of the survey indicate that 90 percent of Americans are very interested or moderately interested in learning about new medical discoveries. Though the American population seems to be very interested in informal or practical science education, since 60 percent of those queried have visited a zoo or aquarium, natural history museum, or a science and technology museum.
90 percent of those surveyed also feel that technology and science are more of a boon than bane, since the benefits far outweigh the potential dangers. One third of those queried also support more funding for science and technology.
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