Test Your Science Smarts: 9 Questions

There's room for improvement in the United States when it comes to science literacy.

The average American scores 6.5 correct answers in response to these 9 questions covering basic physical and biological science, according to the results of the 2012 General Social Survey, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center.

Want to know how you stack up against the average American? Answer the same questions and check your results below.

1.     The center of the Earth is very hot. True or False?

2.     The continents have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move. True or False?

3.     Does the Earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the Earth?

4.     All radioactivity is man-made. True or False?

5.     Electrons are smaller than atoms. True or False?

6.     Lasers work by focusing sound waves. True or False?

7.     It is the father's gene that decides whether the baby is a boy or a girl. True or False?

8.     Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria. True or False?

9.     Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals True or False?


1.     True (84 percent of Americans got this right)

2.     True (83 percent)

3.     The Earth goes around the sun. (74 percent)

4.     False (72 percent)

5.     True (53 percent)

6.     False (47 percent)

7.     True (63 percent)

8.     False (51 percent)

9.     True (48 percent)

Those survey results were included in the 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators, a huge federal report released this month by the National Science Foundation detailing the state of science education, research and industry in the country.

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Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.