It’s Not Rocket Science


The phrase it’s not rocket science means that something is easy to do; not difficult.

Example: Graham needed to put air in his car’s tires, but he had no idea how to do it himself. “No need to worry, I’ll show you show it’s done. It’s not rocket science,” his friend said.

Note: The word “exactly” is sometimes inserted into this phrase (e.g., Installing a ceiling fan is not exactly rocket science).

1. A piece of cake
2. A walk in the park
3. As easy as pie
4. It’s not brain surgery

The idiom it's not exactly rocket science.

The Origin Of – It’s Not Rocket Science

Have you ever been working on something, only to have someone tell you that “it’s not rocket science”? Or they might use a similar expression that goes “it’s not brain surgery.” Where did these phrases come from?

They likely derive from the idea that certain jobs are harder to do than others. For example, designing rocket ships that can fly into space (a …rocket scientist?) or performing surgery on a human brain (brain surgeon), these jobs would be considered a lot more complicated than others. Hence, with these phrases, the more complex jobs are being used as a comparison. The person using the phrase is suggesting that what you’re doing is simple in comparison to “rocket science” or “brain surgery.”

Anyways, let’s now go over how old these two sayings are. The phrase “it’s not brain surgery” looks like it came before the “it’s not rocket science” version. I say this because the former appears as in the newspaper Ames Daily Tribute, 1971:

“‘After all,’ he added, ‘it’s not like brain surgery.'”

Whereas the latter version (the one with rocket science) dates back only to 1990 from what I’ve seen. For example, it appears in a book called Jane Brody’s Good Food Gourmet: Recipes and Menus for Delicious and Healthful Entertaining, 1990.

Example Sentences

  • I’m installing a new sink in my kitchen. It’s not exactly rocket science, but I am having some difficulty with it.

Similar Examples:

  • There is no challenge in this racing game, it’s a walk in the park.
  • Learning how to ride a bike is a piece of cake, it just takes a little practice.