What do Americans think? NSF Science and Engineering Indicators 2012 published

The National Science Foundation in the USA has published its 2012 edition of Science and Engineering indicators. Chapter 7 of this enormous publication is about Public attitudes and understanding. At 51  pages long, it is far too much to take in on a Friday afternoon, so here are a few edited highlights….

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2012: A happy new year for science?

2012 is going to be a turbulent year financially and politically. What does it have in store for science? Here is a small selection of new year science stories….

Nasa is looking forward to an exciting year ahead, despite being its first year without manned space flight. Excitement is mounting as NASA’s rover Curiosity, is set to arrive on Mars in August and will be sniffing around for signs of microbial life. Also the Kepler mission could well reveal a twin for planet Earth, a planet with the right conditions to be habitable.

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Geoengineering – the latest hot topic

Geoengineering, the use of large-scale engineering techniques to tackle climate change, is a field rapidly gaining momentum. It covers all sorts of methods – space mirrors to deflect sunlight, cloud-seeding, putting iron compounds into the sea or planting genetically modified highly reflective crops or simply painting all roofs white…

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The media goes neutrino-crazy

It is fair to say that most people have no understanding of the theory of relativity. When scientists at CERN announced that they might have measured neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light, the world of  physics was  understandably rocked by the news. More surprising is the way it has captured the attention of the world media.

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Climate Change – Politics, Science and Television

There are a few interesting news stories about climate change this week. In the USA, the latest American opinion on climate change poll from Yale University includes for the first between them and other political parties. 53% of ”Tea Partiers” do not believe in global warming, compared to nearly 80% of Democrats. 52% of Tea Partiers also do not believe in evolution; one can draw ones own conclusions from this.

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