Many Kids Think Scientists are Not Normal

Posted on January 24, 2006

The BBC reports that a new study in London has found that many kids aged 11-15 don't consider scientists as "normal people."
The Science Learning Centre in London asked 11,000 pupils for their views on science and scientists.

Around 70% of the 11-15 year olds questioned said they did not picture scientists as "normal young and attractive men and women".
The study also found that some kids picture scientists as depressed people in white coats with big classes. There was some good news in that the kids thought the work was very important and that scientists are creative.
They found around 80% of pupils thought scientists did "very important work" and 70% thought they worked "creatively and imaginatively". Only 40% said they agreed that scientists did "boring and repetitive work".

Over three quarters of the respondents thought scientists were "really brainy people".

The research is being undertaken as part of Einstein Year.

Among those who said they would not like to be scientists, reasons included: "Because you would constantly be depressed and tired and not have time for family", and "because they all wear big glasses and white coats and I am female".
If the study is even slightly accurate then more needs to be done to teach kids about science and careers in science so that they picture scientists as more than just dull people in lab coats.
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