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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

In the United States and around the globe, people have mixed views on science, according to a new survey commissioned by 3M.

  • A small but vocal group aren’t sure science has any impact on their day-to-day lives and are skeptical of basic scientific claims.
  • But many are optimistic about science, and believe that a number of problems —from teleportation to cancer —will be solved in their lifetimes.

The takeaway: ““At the surface everything seems great, but then you find dichotomies that are hard to reconcile,” says Jayshree Seth, 3M’s Chief Science Advocate and a corporate scientist at the company. “It’s very clear that around the globe, people were definitely confused about how much impact science has on their everyday lives.”

What they found:

  • A majority of people—87%—are fascinated by science.
  • 36% of people around the world think that science can only be done by geniuses.
  • Most people think their country is falling behind in science compared to the rest of the world, including those in the U.S.
  • 86% of people globally say they know “little to nothing” about science. And, only 68% of those people say they themselves want to learn more about science.
  • But, a majority of parents want their children to know more about science and pursue a career in science.
  • 22% say their lives wouldn’t be that much worse without science, but 69% said science’s best days are ahead of us.
“Science fiction is a source of knowledge about science, and the lines between them are being blurred.”
— Jayshree Seth, Chief Science Advocate, 3M

Many people believe that we’ll live on Mars, cure cancer, or achieve teleportation within their lifetimes. They see science as something that will have impacts on the future, but don’t see impacts on the present.

Not alone: These results are supported in other surveys of attitudes towards science, like a 2016 PEW survey, which found that a small proportion of people in the U.S. were very actively engaged in science and sought out science news. But a majority of people only encountered science news on occasion, and while they trusted scientists, they were unlikely to trust journalists. A Wellcome Trust survey found the same attitudes towards science media in the U.K., even though the country's citizens support funding science research.

The bottom line: “We have to make science more relatable and visible,” says Seth, and show how scientific advances improve daily life.

Go deeper: We spoke with Captain Scott Kelly, an astronaut who spent a year aboard the International Space Station, about the results of the survey and how they compare to his experiences as a NASA astronaut.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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