Brain Makeover

What Everyone Needs to Know to Be A Science Literate

The Science Cheerleader, Physics Professor James Trefil of George Mason University and the Philadelphia 76ers want you to give it up for the key concepts* in science that will help YOU be science literate, pain-free!  (*Concepts adapted from Professor Trefil’s book, “Why Science?”, Teachers College Press, 11/1/97.)

To start your Brain Makeover, click on any one of the ideas listed below to watch a 76er cheerleader share the concept and to read Professor Trefil’s explanation.

1. The universe is regular and predictable.

2. Energy is conserved and always moves from more useful to less useful forms.

3. Electricity and magnetism are two sides of the same coin.

4. All matter is made of atoms.

5. Everything comes in discrete units and you can’t measure anything without changing it.

6. Atoms are bound by electron glue.

7. The way a material behaves depends on how its atoms are arranged.

8. Nuclear energy comes from the conversion of mass.

9. All matter is made from quarks and leptons.

10. Stars live and stars die.

11. The universe was born at a specific time and had been expanding ever since.

12. Every observer sees the same laws of nature.

13. The surface of the Earth is constantly changing.

14. The Earth operates in many cycles.

15. All living things are made from cells, the chemical factories of life.

16. All life is based on the same genetic code.

17. All forms of life evolved by natural selection.

18. All life is connected.

Professor TrefilTime to put it all together! Test your knowledge of these 18 ideas and take this 26-question multiple choice quiz created by Professor Trefil as part of our Brain Makeover project. Score a passing grade of 80% or higher and you will win a cheeky “I’m a Science Literate!” certificate.  You will also have, in Trefil’s words, the satisfaction of understanding “enough about the physical universe to deal with issues that come across our horizon, in the news or elsewhere.”  Take the quiz! (Answers are revealed after the third attempt.)


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