You don't have to be the winner of a Nobel Prize like physicist Leon Lederman to ask the question he asked after seeing the appalling results of a survey on the public's knowledge of science: "How can you preserve democracy when the world is increasingly more complex scientifically and technologically, and people are increasingly more ignorant of the issues?"

The results were discouraging. Only 72 percent knew that the Earth revolves around the sun; 45 percent knew that the entire orbit takes one year. In response to a true-false question about whether lasers work by focusing sound waves, only 36 percent knew the statement was false.The details of science may be understandable to only a select few, but the basic concepts are within the reach of everyone. Schools need to come up with better ways to tap the basic scientific curiosity of students, so similar surveys in the years to come do not reveal such disheartening results.