Questions that can measure your science knowledge


The American public isn’t doing well on 10 simple questions the NSF (National Science Foundation) asks to test the public’s understanding of science.

Scroll down to see the questions and to see how many answers you can get right, you can than compare your performance with 11 countries including USA.


Question 1:

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

The correct answer…


True. Scientists estimate that Earth’s core is more than 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit – nearly the temperature found on the surface of the Sun.

How the US and other nations did:




Question 2:

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

The correct answer…


True. continents are constantly moving and regenerating.

They move less than a couple inches per year, according to Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, though the process may be essential to making a rocky planet habitable to life.

How the US and other nations did:

plate techtonics question bi true



Question 3:

Which is correct? A. The Earth moving around the Sun or The Sun is moving around the Earth.

The correct answer…


A. We know this is true on a basic level because we can see the position of the stars change over time.

How the US and other nations did:

earth goes around the sun bi true



Question 4:

True of False? All radioactivity is man made.

The correct answer…


False. Natural radiation is everywhere, especially in space. Small amounts are present in soil, water, and vegetation.

How the US and other nations did:

radiation man made false bi



Question 5:

True of False? Electrons are smaller than atoms.

The correct answer…


True. Electrons are much less massive than the protons and neutrons that make up the cores of atoms.

How the US and other nations did:

electrons smaller atoms true



Question 6:

True of False? Lasers work by focusing sound waves.

The correct answer…


False. Lasers concentrate light waves, not sound waves.

How the US and other nations did:

sound waves lasers



Question 7:

True or False? The universe began with a huge explosion.

The correct answer…


True (with a caveat). This is the best theory that we have as to how the universe began: a point of infinite density at the beginning of the universe began to expand and created the galaxies, planets, and stars that we see – still in motion – today.

People call this “the Big Bang,” though it’s not technically an explosion.

How the US and other nations did:

universe began explosion



Question 8:

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

The correct answer…


True. Sex is determined by two chromosomes, and a single sperm carries one of them: either an X (female) chromosome or a Y (male) chromosome.

Whichever sperm makes it to the egg first to join an X chromosome in the mother’s egg determines the baby’s sex.

(XX is a girl and XY is a boy, anatomically speaking.)

How the US and other nations did:




Question 9:

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

The correct answer…


False. Antibiotics only kill bacteria, not viruses.

How the US and other nations did:

viruses vs bacteria bi



Question 10:

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

The correct answer…


True. Fossils in the ground, genetic studies, and other research over the past century has shown again and again that evolution not only gave rise to species like humans, but will continue to shape the forms of our descendants.

How the US and other nations did:

evolution question bi true


Here’s how all 11 nations performed across all of the science questions:



Countries that didn’t ask certain questions or report data on them (i.e. “N/A”) had those items excluded from their overall average, shown here.

From best to worst, the ranking for 2017 is: Canada, Israel, the EU, South Korea, the US, Switzerland, Japan, Malaysia, India, China, and Russia.





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