By Autumn Young
According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, the average American scores just 66 percent on general physical science knowledge questions. These questions asked ranged from “Do you know how sound works?” to “How much do you know about the world around you?”
The survey was given to more than 3,000 people across the United States, and focused on the physical sciences to better explore the gap between genders, which appears more commonly in physical sciences than life sciences—like health and medicine—where women and men tend to be more equal. According the survey results, Bluffton University students have a much greater chance of answering more than the average eight out of 12 questions correctly, no matter what their gender. On average, women scored 60 percent on the quiz, while men scored 71.6 percent.
At Bluffton, some science professors say they have not experienced this gender gap while teaching despite surveys that say it exist.
“I have been teaching as a professor for over 35 years — I can’t say that there is a clear trend in score between men and women in my classes,” said Dr. Bob Antibus, chair of the Biology Department at Bluffton.
This is because people with higher levels of education tend to know more about the physical sciences, regardless of major. The study also found that young adults, ages 18 to 29, were more informed than adults 65 and older.
According to the study, “a public understanding of science issues and concepts is a hallmark of an informed public… a public with more knowledge of scientific facts and principles is often seen as one better able to understand these developments and make informed judgments.”
Take the quiz here to see how you compare to your peers and fellow Americans.