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Only 6 Percent of Americans Could Get All 12 of These Science Questions Right — Take the Quiz for Yourself and See How You Fare

Photo credit: Shutterstock

It's back to the classroom for school-age kids, but are you ready for a quick test yourself on the subject of science specifically?

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Pew Research Center has a few basic questions that will allow you to rate yourself against what other Americans know. Take the quiz of 12 multiple choice questions here.

The survey of 3,278 adults in the U.S. found that, overall, the majority of Americans can answer basic science-related questions, but numbers dwindle as the topic becomes more technical. The researchers found that only 6 percent of respondents got all 12 questions right; eight was the average number of correct answers. If you scored 1o or 11 correctly, you'd be in company with 26 percent of respondents.

Here are more details on the findings as they related to specific questions:

Most Americans (86%) correctly identify the Earth’s inner layer, the core, as its hottest part, and nearly as many (82%) know uranium is needed to make nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

But far fewer are able to identify the property of a sound wave that determines loudness. Just 35% correctly answer amplitude, or height. Some 33% incorrectly say it is frequency and 23% say it is wavelength. And just 34% correctly state that water boils at a lower temperature in a high-altitude setting (Denver) than near sea level (Los Angeles).

Fully 73% of Americans distinguish between astronomy and what is commonly considered a pseudoscience: astrology. Twenty-two percent of Americans incorrectly say that astronomy – not astrology – is the study of how the positions of stars and planets can influence human behavior. Another 5% give some other incorrect response.

Pew found that men answered more questions correctly than women and the number of correct answers went up in correlation with a person's level of education. Age and gender were factors as well with the 30-49-year-old age group answering more questions correctly than others and white people getting more right than blacks or Hispanics.

Some knowledge appeared to be specifically associated with age:

For example, 80% of adults ages 18 to 29 correctly identify radio waves as the waves that are used to transmit cellphone calls, as do 77% of those ages 30 to 49; fewer adults (57%) ages 65 and older know this. On at least one question, however, adults ages 65 and older are more informed than younger adults: 86% of adults 65 and older correctly identify the developer of the polio vaccine as Jonas Salk, compared with 68% of those ages 18 to 29.

Pew researchers acknowledged that its questions represented "only a small slice of science knowledge," but wrote that they believe the survey reveals that "some information is widely known while other information is much less so."

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