My kid told me recently, she "likes to do science" at school. Though happy about her interests developing into the right direction, I was irked by the phrase itself. I don't think, science can be done, but her teacher, apparently, uses the expression regularly.
This was not the first time I saw and heard it. There were, for example, excited reports about Hubble telescope "doing amazing science".
Similarly irksome to me was the moment in "Martian", in which the protagonist says at some point, that he shall "science the shit out it" – as if "science" were a verb. (The movie contains multiple other annoying moments, but those are all off-topic here.)
It seems wrong even for a colloquialism... Am I right, or is this all perfectly normal English?
Thanks, everyone, for the helpful answers, insightful comments, and commendations. I'll use the asker's privilege to reply here instead of individually.
- The little educatee was referring to her love of doing scientific experiments at school (melting chocolate in your palm can, apparently, be quite fascinating in the 1st grade).
- After some contemplation, I'll try to explain my dislike with something better than "sounds wrong":
- The only times I've encountered the expression, it was used by slines – people undereducated for some reason or another. Never by an actual scientist, nor anyone, whose command of English I would accept as authoritative. Also, I've never seen it in an actual English-language book – only online or spoken.
- Since my first reason is a barely-veiled appeal to authority, here is another one: Science is not something that can ever be completed. So it seems wrong to refer to the practicing of (or participating in or partaking of) it as doing – because it can never be done. An earlier movie-heroine once did an entire city, but, because it was, at least in theory, possible to eventually accomplish the challenge, that was an acceptable use of the verb.
- @peter-shor, for the second of the above reasons, the expression is meaningless, in my opinion.
- @edwin-ashworth, the dictionary may be right in the 13th and 14th usage cited. But what about my first reason – why haven't I encountered the expression in a decent book or speech?
- @joetaxpayer, yeah, me got wot she ment, know what'cham saying? I'd like her speech to be proper (grammatically correct) – not merely understandable. She can always slide into vernacular after growing up.
- And, yes, "doing Math" seems just as irksome – for the same reasons listed above. Unless it is short for something like "doing Math homework", which in this case it was not.