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Can you answer these basic science questions better than most Americans?

Can you answer these basic science questions better than most Americans?
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It's incredible how much science has increased our understanding of the universe in the last several hundred years, and even the last few decades. From the farthest reaches of the galaxies to the tiniest particles, every day we're getting a better understanding of how everything fits.

Of course, these discoveries aren't just theoretical; many help improve our daily lives, from medical breakthroughs that have extended our life spans to the technology behind computers, cellphones, vehicles, airplanes and much more. But just because we're surrounded by science doesn't mean everyone understands it.

For quite a while, there's been talk about the sad state of scientific education (or any education, really) in America. It's an open debate how bad the situation really is, but Pew Research Center decided to bring a little science to the debate with a quiz.

The quiz asks 12 supposedly basic science questions, covering astronomy, physics, geology, optics, a bit of science history and some other areas. Pew had 3,278 random adults take the quiz, and has posted the results, including breaking down percentages by gender, age, educational background and ethnicity.

The good news is that very few people failed. While very few got all of the answers right, nearly 50% got 9 or more correct. Also, the ones most people missed were the more obscure ones, including the one this author missed.

There's also some interesting trends that show up, such as males consistently outperforming females, which is an ongoing concern in science and technical circles. It's also interesting to see what questions each age group did better on. For example, people under 24 were more likely to know what waves a cellphone uses to communicate, people over 24 better knew what material is required for atomic energy, and people over 65 were more likely to know who developed the polio vaccine.

But where's the fun in reading how other people did? The question is how well would you do? Fortunately, Pew left the quiz up so you can find out. Click here to take it, and then come back and let us know how you did in the comments.

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