81 percent of Americans can’t name a single living scientist

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A new poll released by the firm Research!America shows that the vast majority of Americans are unable to name a single living scientist.

Via Scientific AF, the new poll shows that 81 percent of Americans could not correctly identify a single living scientist when asked by pollsters.

Of the 19 percent who could correctly identify a scientist, 27 percent named Stephen Hawking, 19 percent named Neil deGrasse Tyson, and 5 percent named Bill Nye. Other answers that scored less than 5 percent included Richard Dawkins, Jane Goodall, and Michio Kaku.

Additionally, only 33 percent of Americans could correctly identify a health or medical research institution, with the most popular responses being the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

“The findings related to the visibility of scientists and the scientific community have been consistent over the past decade—woefully low—which indicates a need for stronger engagement between scientists and the public,” comments Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America.


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