Most of us have the impression that rocket scientists and brain surgeons are super-brainy. Scientists have conducted research that suggests members of the general public are actually just as smart as those high-flyers. Researchers from University College London asked 329 aerospace engineers and 72 neurosurgeons to complete tests designed to assess six different areas of cognition. The researchers compared their data with those from 18,257 respondents who had previously taken the tests. The researchers said: "Only two differences were significant: the neurosurgeons' problem-solving speed was quicker and their memory recall speed was slower."
The research questions the validity of using English phrases such as "this isn't rocket science" or "that isn't brain surgery". We use these expressions to suggest something is actually quite easy to understand. Are aeronautics and neuroscience so mindboggling? The researchers shed some light on this. They said: "In situations that do not require rapid problem solving, it might be more correct to use 'It's not brain surgery', but in situations where rapid information recall is needed this phrase should be avoided." This gives hope to all of us that we can embark on careers we once disregarded because of "genius-level" requirements. However, this could lead to a glut of brain surgeons and rocket designers.