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What Americans know about science

A study by the Pew Research Center, a public opinion research organization in the USA, has provided an overview of how much Americans understand about scientific concepts and practices. While most of the participants were familiar with life science issues such as medicine and biology, few were able to identify hypotheses or recognize chemical substances used in drugs. The institute interviewed 4,464 adults randomly selected online, 79% of whom understood that overuse of antibiotics increases bacterial resistance to existing medications. When questioned about the main components of antacids, however, only 39% correctly answered bases. The proportion of respondents who got at least nine of the 11 questions right was low: only four out of every 10 participants. Americans with graduate degrees correctly answered an average of four more questions than those educated to elementary or middle school level only. Men averaged 7.4 correct answers while women averaged 6, and whites scored higher than blacks and Hispanics. According to Pew Research, differences between races and ethnicities could be linked to a number of factors, such as access to quality education and science information. The full study is available at