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Einstein May Outrank Britney Spears but Survey Shows Science Education Needs Help in United States

20.03.2008 14:40 Political Press Releases

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To: SCIENCE EDITORS

Contact: Lisa Miner, +1-773-947-6005, lisa.miner@msichicago.org, or Beth Boston, +1-773-947-6003, beth.boston@msichicago.org, both of Museum of Science and Industry

Data gives new look at the opinions and thoughts of Americans on the critical topic of science

CHICAGO, March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The good news is Albert Einstein trumps Britney Spears. The bad news is Spears trumps Stephen Hawking. The worse news is nearly half of Americans couldnt name Einstein, Hawking or any other current scientist as a science role model for todays youth, according to a new study on The State of Science in America, by Chicagos Museum of Science and Industry, conducted by Harris Interactive(R).

When asked who today's youth look to as role models, half of U.S. adults listed athletes and entertainers such as Britney Spears or Paris Hilton. But when asked about science role models for kids today, 44 percent were stumped. Only 4 percent could name a living scientist such as Hawking or Bill Nye, while 6 percent named businessman Bill Gates and the same percentage cited former vice president and environmentalist Al Gore.

Although they may not be able to name a scientist, U.S. adults do recognize the importance of science, as close to nine in ten (87 percent) agree they personally benefit from science every day. But when it comes to grasping science concepts, most admit theyre not sure they get it. Only one in four (26 percent) feel they have a good understanding of science.

Although the United States was the first nation to put a man on the moon and led the way in harnessing the energy of atoms, U.S. adults are now not impressed with how seriously America is taking science and the education our children are receiving in this discipline. In fact, 70 percent believe America is not currently the world leader in science. Looking ahead, U.S. adults are also pessimistic about the countrys ability to regain its leadership position as only 35 percent think the U.S. will be the world leader in science in the next 20 years. Almost all U.S. adults agree this is a detriment to our nation -- 96 percent say it is important for the U.S. to be a leader in science education.

This study is unique in that its one of the first to define the concerns of average Americans about the state of science education, said Dr. Walter Massey, former head of the National Science Foundation, President Emeritus of Morehouse College and Trustee of the Museum of Science and Industry. Americans are truly worried about how our deteriorating science education will affect the countrys future. And while it used to be only on the minds of leading scientists and educators, its now clear that the public has their own concerns and even better, ideas on how improvements should be made in their schools and communities.

FOR FULL PRESS RELEASE CONTENT, please visit http://www.StateOfScience.org.

SOURCE Museum of Science and Industry

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