Young Brazilians are interested in science and believe that the government should increase or maintain investments in the area, but they know little about it. So much so that 87% failed to name a single national research institution and 93% did not know the name of a Brazilian scientist, according to a survey by the National Institute of Science and Technology in Public Communication of Science and Technology (INCT-CPCT) from this week.
The survey included 2,206 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in Brazil. Science and technology are among the issues that youth are most interested in, with 67% of respondents stating the importance of the topic. Only the environment (80%), medicine and health (74%) and religion (67%) received beat out science.
Young people's lack of knowledge about science becomes clear when questioned on critical current issues. For 54% of respondents, scientists may be exaggerating about the effects of climate change. Another 40% do not agree that humans have evolved and descended from other animals. And, lastly, 25% say they believe that vaccinating child can be dangerous.
To learn about science, young people mainly use Google and social networks such as Youtube, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.
In addition, most respondents (68%) say they find it impossible or difficult to distinguish whether science-related news is true. However, young people say they never or infrequently receive the news they think might be false.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon