LONDON—Nearly 90 percent of French teenagers expect scientists to find a cure for cancer within 20 years. A little more than 40 percent believe science will eliminate hunger in that time, 61 percent think it will make daily life easier, and 15 percent expect scientists to have “blown up the world.”

These forecasts come from a survey of 5,000 adolescent readers of the French general interest magazine Okapi. The results indicate considerable optimism about science coupled with a significant level of anxiety, noted Goery Delacote of France's Ministry of Research and Technology, which sponsored the study. While a large number of respondents said they were “fascinated,” “confident” and “enthusiastic” about scientific re search, nearly as many confessed also to feeling “afraid.” The youngsters said the United States was making the largest contribution to science, followed by Japan and the Soviet Union. They ranked their own country fourth.

The survey,...

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