Let’s face it: Science is a complicated, perplexing topic that mostly goes over our heads after we finish high school.
But as it turns out, we might know more about the basics than we give ourselves credit for.
In a recent Pew Research Center survey, most US adults were able to answer questions about the Earth’s core or nuclear weapons, but their science knowledge wavered when it came to concepts like the properties of a sound wave.
The questions focused on the physical sciences (physics, astronomy, geology, etc.) rather than the life sciences (health, medicine, etc.).
That’s because, Pew explained, they wanted to check out how big the gender gaps were and those gaps are larger in the physical sciences.
But before we give away too many of the answers, take the quiz for yourself:
- Pew Research Center
OK, now check out how you stack up to the average American.
The survey covered 3,278 Americans. The average American scored a 65% on the test. A super-smart 6% of participants got a perfect score.
Luckily, almost three-fourths of survey participants knew the difference between astronomy and astrology (though a full 22% did think that the question, which asked about the pseudoscience astrology, referred to astronomy).
In the original survey, there were some gaps between what men and women knew. Men scored 8.6 out of 12, or 71.6%, on average, while women scored 7.3 out 12, or 60%, on average. And that gender difference was consistent across all education levels.
There were also differences among ethnicities, with people who are white scoring on average 11% higher than people who are Hispanic, and 21% higher than people who are black.
These results come amid a big push by policymakers to get more people in on Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics and reports that show that women are less represented than men in STEM-related jobs, especially science.
But hey, at least 86% of us know that the hottest layer on Earth is its core.