Pew Research: Public’s Knowledge of Science and Technology

The Pew Research Institute recently released a new report entitled Public’s Knowledge of Science and Technology. From the press release:

The public’s knowledge of science and technology varies widely across a range of questions on current topics and basic scientific concepts, according to a new quiz by the Pew Research Center and Smithsonian magazine. Click here to take the quiz yourself before reviewing the answers.

About eight-in-ten Americans (83%) identify ultraviolet as the type of radiation that sunscreen protects against. Nearly as many (77%) know that the main concern about the overuse of antibiotics is that it can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, only about half (51%) of the public knows that “fracking” is a process that extracts natural gas, not coal, diamonds or silicon from the earth.

Similarly, knowledge of basic scientific concepts differs greatly across questions. While most Americans (78%) know that the basic function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen to all parts of the body, just 20% could identify nitrogen as the gas that makes up most of the atmosphere.

See also Smithsonian Magazine’s recent article “How Much Do Americans Know About Science?”

Published by

Laura B.

I'm the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Sustainability Information Curator, which is a fancy way of saying embedded librarian. I'm also Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. When not writing for Environmental News Bits, I'm an avid reader. Visit Laura's Reads to see what I'm currently reading.

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