Greatest scientific achievement of 20th century

Jul 9, 2019

Q. Which of the following do you think was the greatest scientific achievement of the 20th century?

Q       Total Gender Age
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+
Discovery of penicillin 40% 36% 43% 24% 36% 56%
Launch of the World Wide Web 18% 20% 17% 21% 20% 14%
First person to walk on the moon 10% 11% 8% 10% 10% 9%
First powered aircraft flight 8% 10% 7% 12% 8% 5%
Generation of electricity from nuclear power 6% 6% 7% 10% 5% 4%
Introduction of the contraceptive pill 6% 3% 8% 8% 5% 4%
Invention of the television 5% 6% 4% 4% 7% 3%
World’s first cloned animal 2% 3% 2% 4% 2% 1%
First person to reach the South Pole 2% 1% 2% 4% 1% 0%
Other scientific achievement 3% 4% 3% 2% 5% 3%
  • The discovery of penicillin was the most selected event, with 40% selecting it as the greatest scientific achievement of the 20th
  • As we approach the 50th anniversary of humans setting foot on the moon, 10% regard this as the greatest scientific achievement, behind the launch of the internet, selected by 18% of people.
  • Over 55s were more likely to select the discovery of penicillin (56%) than younger respondents (36% of 35 to 54 year olds and 24% of 18 to 34 year olds).
  • Those with a university education were more likely to select the launch of the World Wide Web (25%) than those with a secondary education (14%) or a professional qualification (16%).
  • Just 5% regarded the invention of the television as the greatest scientific achievement of the previous century.

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