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ERIC Number: ED559725
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr-22
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Public's Knowledge of Science and Technology
Pew Research Center
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. 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. The quiz is part of a nationwide survey, conducted March 7-10, 2013 among 1,006 adults, which also probed opinions and perceptions about science and math in education. The survey was conducted with "Smithsonian" magazine for an edition focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. The new survey includes a mix of 13 knowledge questions; some are the type that might be found in a science textbook while others come from news coverage of science and technology issues. This report highlights the findings as they relate to demographics, level of education, age, and gender.
Pew Research Center. 1615 L Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-419-4500; Fax: 202-419-4505; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Pew Research Center