Pew Research CenterJuly 9, 2009

Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media

Americans like science. Overwhelming majorities say that science has had a positive effect on society and that science has made life easier for most people. Most also say that government investments in science, as well as engineering and technology, pay off in the long run. And scientists are very highly rated compared with members […]

Pew Research CenterJuly 9, 2009

Section 1: Public Views of Science and Scientists

Americans believe overwhelmingly that science has benefited society and has helped make life easier for most people. More than eight-in-ten (84%) say that science’s impact on society has been mostly positive, with relatively small variations across most segments of the public. And when those who say science has a positive impact are asked to expand […]

Pew Research CenterJuly 9, 2009

Section 2: Scientists Assess the State of Their Field

Scientists hold overwhelmingly positive views about the current state of science in the United States. More than three-quarters (76%) say that this is generally a “good time” for science, and about as many (73%) say the same about their scientific specialty. That optimism extends to their views about careers in their specialty field; two-thirds (67%) […]

Pew Research CenterJuly 9, 2009

Section 3: Funding Scientific Research

There is broad agreement among scientists that a lack of funding currently represents the biggest impediment to conducting high-quality scientific research. Nearly half (46%) cite a lack of funding for basic research as a very serious impediment to high-quality research, while another 41% say it is a serious impediment. Scientists who primarily address basic knowledge […]

Pew Research CenterJuly 9, 2009

Section 4: Scientists, Politics and Religion

Politics and science have become entangled on numerous occasions over the past several years. Conservatives have grown increasingly skeptical of the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change, even as climate scientists argue that this evidence is incontrovertible. Battles over the teaching of evolution in the public schools have continued to generate controversy. And most scientists […]

Pew Research CenterJuly 9, 2009

Section 5: Evolution, Climate Change and Other Issues

Two issues on which there is widespread agreement among scientists – evolution and climate change – divide the general public. Not only do many Americans diverge from the dominant scientific positions in their own attitudes and beliefs, but many also believe that the scientific community itself is divided over these issues. While education levels matter […]

Pew Research CenterJuly 9, 2009

Section 6: Scientists and Their Careers

While most scientists say this is a good time for their profession, a large majority also believes it is a good time to begin a career in science. Despite the poor economy, 67% of scientists say it is a very good or good time to begin a career in their scientific specialty area. Only about […]

Pew Research CenterJuly 9, 2009


COMMENTARY by Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Chief Executive Officer American Association for the Advancement of Science Executive Publisher, Science Americans by and large admire scientists — only slightly less than members of the military or teachers, in fact. The U.S. public recognizes research and development, perhaps especially to drive medical advances, as an investment in […]

Pew Research CenterFebruary 5, 2009

On Darwin’s 200th Birthday, Americans Still Divided About Evolution

Pew Research CenterSeptember 28, 2005

Reading the Polls on Evolution and Creationism

This week in federal district court, a group of parents is challenging the Dover, Pa. school board’s decision to require the teaching of “intelligent design” in science classes, on the grounds that this policy violates the principle of separation of church and state. The case is just the latest in a long series of court […]