Index > Authors> ChinaWire> New Research Says Americans Are Really Bad at Science

New Research Says Americans Are Really Bad at Science


Remember all those times you stared into space during science class and then copied the homework from the girl who sat next to you so that you didn't actually have to open your textbook? Well, it's starting to show. According to a new reportfrom the Pew Research Center, Americans don't know very much about basic science.

The Pew survey asked over 3,000 American adults multiple-choice questions about geology, physics, astronomy, and other scientific fields. People generally answered correctly on "easy" questions, like "Which layer of the Earth is the hottest—the crust, the mantle, or the core?" The answer is the core, which 86 percent of people got right.

The didn't do so well on "hard" questions, like "Denver, Colorado, is at a higher altitude than Los Angeles, California. Does water boil at a higher temperature, a lower temperature, or the same temperature in Denver than in Los Angeles?" Water boils at a lower temperature in Denver. Who knew?

If that's not bad enough, 27 percent couldn't distinguish between astronomy (the study of stars, space, and the physical universe) and astrology (the source of the phrase "Mercury in retrograde").

All in all, only 6 percent of respondents got a perfect score on Pew's "science test." Now that we've spoiled a bunch of the answers for you, you can take the quiz for yourself here: ( and feel like a genius.