The American Museum of Natural History recently did a survey to find out how much people know about water. Turns out, not much.
Fewer than half of those surveyed answered correctly when asked how much of the planet is covered in water (about three-fourths). Hardly anyone knew how much of that water is drinkable (about 1 percent).
It's not the first time a survey has shown how little the American public knows about science; the results of a 1994 museum survey were so bad, museum President Ellen Futter barely raises an eyebrow anymore.
“I haven't been surprised ... since our first survey, when I saw that 35 percent of the adult population thought that humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs,” she said.
But the survey, which will lead to an exhibit on water next year, is a reminder of an important part of the museum's mission: educating the public.
The museum has scientists on staff who are leading researchers in water conservation science, said Eleanor Sterling, director of the museum's center for biodiversity and conservation. The museum has also reached out to schools, to give research help to students and training opportunities to teachers.
It is what the museum needs to do at a time when science education in schools is lacking, said Futter.
“There is no area of education that is probably worse taught than science,” she said.
Jeff Rudolph, president of the California Science Center in Los Angeles, said he thinks many institutions are getting better at educating the public.
“Our role in education is significantly expanding, particularly within science institutions,” he said. (AP)
1. hardly adv.
幾乎不 (ji1 hu1 bu4)
例: I felt so guilty I could hardly look my mother in the eye.
2. mission n.
任務 (ren4 wu4) ，使命 (shi3 ming4)
例: A company's mission is to keep its customers happy.
3. lacking adj.
不足的 (bu4 zu2 de5) ，缺乏的 (que1 fa2 de5)
例: There were plenty of sweet things to eat, but regular foods were lacking.
4. role n.
角色 (jiao3 se4)
例: Many scientists think pollution has a role in global warming.