Modern science alien to teens

June 17, 2005 at 12:47 PM

LONDON, June 17 (UPI) -- British teenagers are so out of touch with modern science they think Madonna, Chemical Ali and Christopher Columbus are living scientists.

In a survey of 1,000 teenagers released Friday, environmentalist and broadcaster David Bellamy was the closest that two of those surveyed could name, the Guardian reported.

The students, ages 13 to 16, were asked to name a famous scientist in an online survey but only the dead ones figured prominently. Isaac Newton was named by 39 percent while Albert Einstein was named by 29 percent. The students were stumped when it came to naming living scientists.

More than half of the respondents thought science lessons were boring, confusing or difficult. They also resented that science is compulsory.

"The results go to show the growing apathy in today's students about science ... It is startling that no students named those responsible for recent scientific advances, for example, Ian Wilmut, who cloned Dolly the sheep, or Professor Colin Pillinger, who headed the Beagle 2 space probe to Mars project," a survey official said.

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