A recent poll of 11,000 teenagers showed that the vast majority of them felt that science was important to society but that scientists were “brainy people not like them”.
Around 70% of the 11-15 year olds questioned said they did not picture scientists as “normal young and attractive men and women”.
They found around 80% of pupils thought scientists did “very important work” and 70% thought they worked “creatively and imaginatively”. Only 40% said they agreed that scientists did “boring and repetitive work”.
Over three quarters of the respondents thought scientists were “really brainy people”.
The survey was conducted by the Science Learning Centre in London and the kids were British, of course. It would be interesting to see how American students answered the same questions.
Just a guess but the numbers saying scientist do “very important work” would probably be lower.