June 16, 2005

Not too surprising -- Education department

From The Guardian:
Only dead scientists are known to teens
Teenagers are so out of touch with modern science that they cannot name a single living scientist, a survey reveals today.

Environmentalist and broadcaster David Bellamy was the closest that two out of almost 1,000 respondents got. Others cited Madonna, Chemical Ali, Leonardo da Vinci and Christopher Columbus. Some students even plumped for their science teachers.

Students, aged 13-16, were asked to name a famous scientist in an online survey carried out by exam board OCR. Isaac Newton (39%) and Albert Einstein (29%) topped the list, which included Marie Curie, Charles Darwin and Alexander Fleming; but the students were stumped when it came to naming living scientists.

The findings also reveal that although eight out of 10 students (79%) said scientists were clever, just 7% said they were "cool or fun". Over half (51%) said they thought science lessons were boring, confusing or difficult - feelings that intensified as students progressed through secondary school in years 9, 10 and 11.

Students also resented the fact that science is compulsory, with many wishing to drop it at GCSE. If given the choice, 45% of students would take biology GCSE, 32% chemistry, 29% physics, 19% combined science and 16% would opt out altogether. Clara Kenyon, OCR's director of general assessment, said: "The results go to show the growing apathy in today's students about science ... It is startling that no students named those responsible for recent scientific advances, for example, Ian Wilmut, who cloned Dolly the sheep, or Professor Colin Pillinger, who headed the Beagle 2 space probe to Mars project.
Of course, they are more than happy to use tech (iPods, Nintendo, Cell Phones, etc...) but to actually try to create it? Naaaaa. Sheesh! Posted by DaveH at June 16, 2005 10:40 PM | TrackBack
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