What Do People Think about Science and Technology? U.S. and International Public Opinion

Friday, 14 February 2014: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Crystal Ballroom A (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
The public opinion environment affects countries’ ability to meet global challenges by helping to shape policymaking and individual choices such as what to study and where to invest. This symposium builds on the early 2014 release of Science and Engineering Indicators 2014 to provide an update on the current state of public opinion about science and technology (S&T) in the U.S. and around the world. Indicators is the National Science Board’s biennial report to the U.S. Congress on S&T and includes a detailed chapter on “public attitudes and understanding.” It uses the best available data from the U.S. and around the world to provide a portrait of what Americans think about S&T in comparison to previous years and other countries. The report includes extensive reporting of data from the Pew Research Center and Gallup, both of which provide the public with extensive, ongoing public opinion data about key S&T issues such as climate change, energy, and health topics. An additional primary source of data is a special section of the General Social Survey that includes questions that the National Science Foundation has fielded for more than three decades, addressing both public knowledge about basic S&T and S&T attitudes. The 2014 indicators also features several special sections, including one on views about scientists and engineers.
John C. Besley, Michigan State University
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