An interesting new report just released by the Pew Center for People and the Press finds that while Americans like and value science, many feel that our international standing in science is less prominent than in the past.
The report notes that, ” Overwhelming majorities say that science has had a positive effect on society and that science has made life easier for most people. Most also say that government investments in science, as well as engineering and technology, pay off in the long run. And scientists are very highly rated compared with members of other professions: Only members of the military and teachers are more likely to be viewed as contributing a lot to society’s well-being. However, the public has a far less positive view of the global standing of U.S. science than do scientists themselves. Just 17% of the public thinks that U.S. scientific achievements rate as the best in the world.”
However, scientists polled for the report note a disconnect between Americans’ appreciation of science and their scientific knowledge, says the report: “While the public holds scientists in high regard, many scientists offer unfavorable, if not critical, assessments of the public’s knowledge and expectations. Fully 85% see the public’s lack of scientific knowledge as a major problem for science, and nearly half (49%) fault the public for having unrealistic expectations about the speed of scientific achievements.” Scientists also fault media for poor scientific reporting.
The entire report can be read at http://people-press.org/report/528/
In the meantime, we’ll keep doing our best to make science exciting, accessible and meaningful.