A recent report from the Council of Canadian Academies finds our Canadian neighbors have a pretty fine grasp of science.
The panel has commissioned a nationwide survey of how Canadians relate to science. Compared to similar surveys in other countries, Canada ranked first in science literacy: 42% of Canadians are able to read and understand newspaper stories detailing scientific findings.
Despite our shared border, Canadians seem to be ahead of the U.S. in understanding and appreciating science topics.
Jon Miller is the director of the International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy at the University of Michigan. He was on the panel that produced the report.
Miller says even though Canada doesn't have as many resources as the U.S. in terms of investment in scientific research, the cultural setting in Canada accepts science more, with science-based museums often tied in with Canadian broadcasting, newspaper and magazines.
"Culturally, Canada has not had a component of their population that are basically anti-science," says Miller, whereas "one-third of our population (in the U.S.) that are fundamentalists reject many things scientific, starting with the revolution."
As a result, Miller says a culture that accepts science will encourage more students to think of science as a career that's beneficial to them, and industries will be more interested in doing research and sharing what they do with the public in various ways.
* Listen to our conversation with Jon Miller above.