Britons Give Scientists Mixed Marks

LONDON—Over two-thirds of British people believe that national prosperity depends upon advances in science and technology, while 80 percent feel that it is important for the future of their country to be a leader in science. But a Gallup survey of more than 1,000 people also found that half of the respondents think that scientists are too secretive and that scientific discovery can pose dangers to humanity. Asked to name “the three most famous scientists, living or dead,” 3

The Scientist Staff
Jan 24, 1988

LONDON—Over two-thirds of British people believe that national prosperity depends upon advances in science and technology, while 80 percent feel that it is important for the future of their country to be a leader in science. But a Gallup survey of more than 1,000 people also found that half of the respondents think that scientists are too secretive and that scientific discovery can pose dangers to humanity.

Asked to name “the three most famous scientists, living or dead,” 31 percent of people voted for Albert Einstein, 13 percent each for Louis Pasteur and Isaac Newton, 10 percent for Marie Curie and 9 percent for Alexander Fleming. The only present-day names mentioned were those scientists who appear on television.

Commissioned by the BBC for a radio program entitled No Science Please, We’re British, the survey also showed that 48 percent of individuals feel that scientists are “unfashionable” and 38 percent that...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?