In 2009, Research!America polled the average American and asked them a very simple question: name a living scientist (ResearchAmerica. 2009. “Your Congress—Your Health”: Poll). About 18% got it wrong, but what is more sobering is that 65% of people didn’t even try to name anyone. The average American doesn’t know who we are.
Surveys have shown that Americans have a healthy respect for science. Eighty-four percent of Americans believe that science is having a mostly positive effect on society. This isn’t a matter of literacy, as 74% of people who score in the lowest third on science knowledge tests concur.