It is well known that the Apollo moon landing inspired countless children to study science and engineering. For example, women started participating a lot more actively in CS and Physics (the red and gray line in the figure below):

Do we have precise percentages on the increase of students moving into science and engineering starting from 1969? Even though correlation doesn't imply causation, it would be interesting to see what the percentage rise was.

Any interesting papers studying the impact to education of the Apollo moon landing?

Women participation in computer science

Source Credit: Planet Money / NPR

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This is certainly an interesting question, but "...percentages on the increase of students moving into science and engineering starting from 1969" is really not on-topic here. Can you adjust your question somewhat to make it better fit the site? (space.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic) You might consider a different SE site for this particular question, possibilities include Mathematics Educators SE or perhaps Academia SE or even History SE $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 20 '18 at 4:40
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a legend to the graph? There are no grey lines--only green and orange. $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Sep 20 '18 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Dragongeek I've found a copy with the legend intact. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 20 '18 at 17:17

A pretty big book out of NASA points out (p. 530) that educational enrollment in STEM fields through the graduate level correlated with funding for the Apollo program. However, a recent paper in the journal Space Policy questions that there is a cause-effect relationship there:

Moreover, because there is evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship from scientific literacy to support for spaceflight, it can be tempting to conclude that there also exists a cause-and-effect relationship from spaceflight activities to scientific literacy. But the evidence does not support the latter causal claim - insisting otherwise would be to commit the fallacy of confusion of cause and effect.

The author argues that supporters of the space program oversell the educational impact and instead should focus on other effects that have better cause-effect relationships. To directly answer your question about available data, that author says there isn't.


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