Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-489z4 Total loading time: 0.245 Render date: 2022-05-29T00:32:21.285Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Attitudes towards the scientific search for extraterrestrial life among Swedish high school and university students

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 January 2018

Erik Persson*
Affiliation:
Center of Theological Inquiry, 50 Stockton Street, Princeton 08540, New Jersey, USA The Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Klara Anna Capova
Affiliation:
The Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies, Lund University, Lund, Sweden Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham, UK
Yuan Li
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
*
Author for correspondence: Erik Persson, E-mail: erik.persson@fil.lu.se

Abstract

The aim of this study is to increase our understanding of the attitudes towards the scientific search for extraterrestrial life among high school and university students in Sweden. The most important results of the analysis are that: (a) the great majority of students believe that extraterrestrial life exists; (b) most students regard searching for extraterrestrial life to be quite important or very important; (c) very few students think that we should actively avoid searching for extraterrestrial life; (d) the most common motive for assigning a high priority to search for extraterrestrial life is that it is interesting, the most common motive for assigning a low priority is that such knowledge would not be practically useful, or that the money would be better spent elsewhere; (e) most students do not think they are very well informed regarding the search for extraterrestrial life. A higher percentage of the students who judge themselves to be well informed also believe that extraterrestrial life exists. We have also found some differences between subgroups (men/women, high school students/university students and different fields of study), but the differences are with few exceptions small in comparison with the overall trends, and they mostly differ in degree rather than direction.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Arino de la Rubia, LS (2012) The astrobiology in secondary classrooms (ASC) curriculum: focusing upon diverse students and teachers. Astrobiology 12, 892899.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Barnett, M, Wagner, H, Gatling, A, Anderson, J, Houle, M and Kafka, A (2006) The impact of science fiction film on student understanding of science. Journal of Science Education and Technology 15, 179191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Billings, L (2006) “Conference on communicating astronomy with the public”: taking action. Advances in Space Research 38, 22322236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brake, M, Griffiths, M, Hook, N and Harris, S (2006) Alien worlds: astrobiology and public outreach. Astrobiology 5, 319324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cook, SB, Druger, M and Ploutz-Snyder, LL (2011) Scientific literacy and attitudes towards American space exploration among college undergraduates. Space Policy 27, 4852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dartnell, LR and Burchnell, MJ (2009) Survey on astrobiology research and teaching activities within the United Kingdom. Astrobiology 9, 717731.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Domagal-Goldman, SD, Wright, KE, Adamala, K, Arina de la Rubia, L, Bond, J, Dartnell, LR, Goldman, AD, Lynch, K, Naud, M-E, Paulino-Lima, IG, Singer, K, Walter-Antonio, M, Abrevaya, XC, Anderson, R, Arney, G, Atri, D, Azúa-Bustos, A, Bowman, JS, Brazelton, WJ, Brennecka, GA, Carns, R, Chopra, A, Colangelo-Lillis, J, Crockett, CJ, DeMarines, J, Frank, EA, Frantz, C, de la Fuente, E, Galante, D, Glass, J, Gleeson, D, Glein, CR, Goldblatt, C, Horak, R, Horodyskyj, L, Kaçar, B, Kereszturi, A, Knowles, E, Mayeur, P, McGlynn, S, Miguel, Y, Montgomery, M, Neish, C, Noack, L, Rugheimer, S, Stüeken, EE, Tamez-Hidalgo, P, Walker, SI and Wong, T (2016) The astrobiology primer v2.0. Astrobiology 16, 561653.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dougherty, K, Oliver, C and Fergusson, J (2014) Pathways to space: a mission to foster the next generation of scientists and engineers. Acta Astronautica 99, 184192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fergusson, J, Oliver, C and Walter, MR (2012) Astrobiology outreach and the nature of science: the role of creativity. Astrobiology 12, 11431153.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Foster, JS and Drew, JC (2009) Astrobiology undergraduate education: students’ knowledge and perceptions of the field. Astrobiology 9, 325333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gargaud, M (2011) Encyclopaedia of Astrobiology, vol. 1. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer Science & Business Media.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hansson, L and Redfors, A (2013) Lower secondary students’ views of astrobiology. Research in Science Education 43, 19571978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Launius, RD (2003) Public opinion polls and perceptions of US human spaceflight. Space Policy 19, 163175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lee, S (2015) Space at your fingertips: assessing the public's interest in space activities. Space Policy 34, 3946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Litzler, E, Samuelson, CC and Lorah, JA (2014) Breaking it down: engineering student STEM confidence at the intersection of race/ethnicity and gender. Research in Science Education 55, 810832.Google Scholar
Miller, PH, Slawinski Blessing, J and Schwartz, S (2006) Gender differences in high-school students’ views about science. International Journal of Science Education 28, 363381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moskowitz, C (2010) If Aliens Exist, They May Come to Get Us, Stephen Hawking Says Space.com 26/04/2010. Available at http://www.space.com/8288-aliens-exist-stephen-hawking.html (Accessed 24 October 2016).Google Scholar
Nadeau, F (2013) Explaining public support for space exploration funding in America: a multivariate analysis. Acta Astronautica 86, 158166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Offerdahl, EG, Prather, EE and Slater, TF (2003) Students’ pre-instructional beliefs and reasoning strategies about astrobiology concepts. Astronomy Education Review 1, 527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ross, JA, Bruce, CD and Scott, G (2012) The gender confidence gap in fractions knowledge: gender differences in student belief–achievement relationships. School Science and Mathematics 112, 278288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schlesinger, F (2010) Stephen Hawking: earth could be at risk of an invasion by aliens in ‘massive ships’. The Daily Mail online edition 26/04/2010. Available at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1268712/Stephen-Hawking-Aliens-living-massive-ships-invade-Earth.html#ixzz4O2SLinDt24 (October 2016).Google Scholar
Staley, JS (2003) Astrobiology, the transcendent science: the promise of astrobiology as an integrative approach for science and engineering education and research. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 14, 347354.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Van der Meer, BW, Alletto, JJ, Bryant, C, Carini, M, Elliott, L, Gelderman, R, Mason, W, McDaniel, K, McGruder, CH, Rinehart, C, Tyler, R and Walker, L (2000). Astrobiology as a tool for getting high school students interested in science. Proceedings of SPIE 4137, 106112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Westerberg, O (2010) Forskare: Se upp för utomjordingar. SVT Nyheter online edition 26/04/2010. Available at http://www.svt.se/nyheter/vetenskap/forskare-se-upp-for-utomjordingar (Accessed 24 October 2016).Google Scholar
4
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Attitudes towards the scientific search for extraterrestrial life among Swedish high school and university students
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Attitudes towards the scientific search for extraterrestrial life among Swedish high school and university students
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Attitudes towards the scientific search for extraterrestrial life among Swedish high school and university students
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *