What Is Science Literacy?

"Scientific Literacy" may be like obscenity — you can't define it, but you know it when you see it. We certainly recognize "Scientific ILliteracy", such as that exhibited by The United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

How many of these questions can you answer?

  1. What is the speed of light?
  2. What is the radius of the Earth?
  3. How far is the sun from Earth?
  4. How old is the Earth?
  5. How old is life?
  6. How old is the universe?
  7. What is CO2?
  8. What is methane?
  9. What is continental drift?
  10. How does an electric motor work?
  11. How does carbon dating work?
  12. What are the principle agents or mechanisms of evolution?
  13. What is the difference between a quark, an atom, an element, a molecule, and a compound?
  14. What is DNA?
  15. Name five great scientists and their contributions that make them great.
  16. Why do humans come in two sexes?
  17. How are mountains formed?
  18. What keeps the Earth from becoming as cold as space?
  19. How cold is "space"?

Here's The Christian Science Monitor's Science Literacy Quiz. Their tests is multiple choice, but here are their questions (and answers -- spoiler alert!) in case you don't want to go through the 50 screens of the quiz!

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