The authors administered a survey to nearly 1400 college students to assess their understanding of the greenhouse effect and stratospheric ozone shield. This survey addressed basic scientific understanding as well as applied (societal) aspects of these two topics. The mean score was significantly higher on ozone statements than on greenhouse statements and on applied statements than on basic science statements. Students who were science majors, had taken physics in high school, and obtained most of their information from magazines, newspapers, or college courses scored higher than their counterparts who were nonscience majors, had not taken physics, and whose principal information source was television. Although male students scored significantly higher on the greenhouse portion of the survey, there was no significant gender-related difference in the ozone segment of the survey.

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