A survey carried out for Science Week has revealed interesting attitudes towards science in Ireland.
In relation to climate change, 69% of Irish public surveyed (92% of the science community) agreed that the earth is getting warmer as a result of climate change.
Almost the same number (68%) of the Irish public surveyed (92% of the science community) agreed that climate change was mostly due to human activity.
More than half of those surveyed said they believed it was not safe to eat food with pesticides.
43% of those surveyed also thought that genetically modified foods were not safe to eat, with only 14% of the science community feeling the same way on that issue.
A disparity between the general public and the science community can be seen on a number of topics.
64% of the Irish public surveyed agreed that vaccinations were an acceptable form of preventative medical treatment while this rose to 95% of the science community.
29% of the Irish public surveyed believed humans evolved over time guided by a supreme being, while 12% of the science community agreed.
55% of the Irish public surveyed (92% of science community) believed that life on earth, including humans, evolved through a process of natural selection.
While 38% of the public believe that Ireland performs well internationally in relation to scientific achievements (rising to 64% among the Irish science community), 69% of the public did not know of any Irish scientists, past or present, and 72% of the public could not name any Irish scientific achievements.
Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland said: “This survey showed that Irish people are proud of Irish science achievements and that they want to know more about the research that is happening in Ireland now, and what we have achieved in the past.
"This survey reinforces that people want to understand more about science and to engage further with it – 60% of the public said they were interested in science news.”
The survey was carried out for Science FOundation Ireland by Amárach Research
“Science Week is a brilliant opportunity to explore the world of science and technology that surrounds us all, to understand more about how it is playing an increasing role in our lives and to learn about Ireland’s brilliant science heritage as well as discoveries being made in Ireland every day.
"Science helps us to ask and answer the questions, solve the problems and to consider what is next. This Science Week, we want as many people as possible to get involved and ask the questions that matter to them - the questions that have always made them curious.”