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The study reveals that most Europeans are interested in science, but do not know historical figures

The study reveals that most Europeans are interested in science, but do not know historical figures

Although scientists, along with physicians, are the professionals who arouse the greatest social trust, citizens display a marked lack of knowledge of some of the great historical figures in science.

These are some of the key findings of the BBVA study on science culture in Europe, conducted in Spain, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, which was based on surveys of 1,500 adults from each country.

The study revealed that the majority of the population is interested in science and follows up on scientific information through traditional and digital channels, and that nearly half of the population talks about science in their daily conversations.

Moreover, in countries such as Germany, citizens have reached a high or medium to high degree of familiarity, as in Spain, France and the United Kingdom, and are dealing with a wide range of scientific concepts.

Most citizens understand elementary scientific concepts on topics as diverse as cell division, the origin of the universe, or the evolution of humans, and demonstrate a much weaker level of understanding of antibiotics, climate change, genes, or genetic modification.

Thus, 67% of Spaniards and 74% of countries as a whole, attach great or great importance to the fact that a theory is published in a scientific journal, but at the same time, almost half of the respondents consider something very important when it is said in a newspaper or on a screen tv.

Europeans know the names of some great scientists, especially in physics, such as Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie or Galileo Galilei.

Next to these scientists is Charles Darwin, who reached a large percentage of the signs in all countries.

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In the UK and Spain, Stephen Hawking has also been mentioned a lot, in what is perhaps the world’s most “media” presence in recent decades.

However, a large part of the population is unaware of the huge figures of the 20th century such as Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Francis Crick, and James Watson.

Marie Curie is the only woman mentioned with a high percentage in all countries, and in Germany two other women appeared after Curie, Maria Goeppert Meyer (the second woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics) and the mathematician Emmy Noether, while in the United Kingdom and citizens also recognize Ada Lovelace.

Respondents value science highly because it “reveals wonderful aspects of nature,” because it is “the most reliable and true knowledge,” or because it “dispels the superstitions and fears of the past.”

Europeans have left behind notions from past decades such as: “We would be better off if we lived without a lot of science and technology” or “Science destroys people’s moral values”.

On the contrary, they set high expectations about the contribution of science to the treatment of cancer (76% in Spain and 79% in the other three countries) and in helping to prolong people’s lives and health, having access to clean and abundant energy sources. .

Regarding the control of scientific research, there is a division between the target countries of the study, as the United Kingdom and Spain believe that it should be controlled by scientists, while in Germany, they prefer that it be controlled by society.

But the majority believe that ethics should set limits on scientific progress (72% across all countries).

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