Youth and Science in Italy: between enthusiasm and indifference
The image and perception of science and of scientists is a crucial topic, above all with regards to younger generations, the human capital of the future. For this reason, the National Research Council (CNR), in 2004, asked the IRPPS institute (Istituto di ricerche sulla popolazione e le politiche sociali) to carry out a sample survey of 800 people between the ages of 18 and 29 on the topic. Science and new technology emerged as the topics of most interest, in addition to medicine, history and economics. Scientific content in the mass media is considered to be satisfactory, whereas education in the field of science is considered to be less than satisfactory, above all in relation to the work environment. However, if research in Italy seems weak in the eyes of young people, scientists are not seen the same way but are considered society's second most important profession after that of the entrepreneur. The problem of trust in science is due, above all, to the politics of research, which do not encourage adequate investment in public and private sectors. A factor analysis technique was applied in order to identify models of attitude towards science of various subgroups within the population.