Topic 2: Introduction to Nuclear Energy – Step 3

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English Idiom: “Scratch the Surface”

In Chapter 1, we are going to “scratch the surface” of nuclear energy.

This is an informal phrase meaning “to discover or deal with a very small part of something” or “to investigate or treat something superficially” (usually used with of).


“Scholars have only begun to scratch the surface of the ancient history of Mesoamerica.”

Jorge Pérez de Lara, Temple of the Sun, Archaeology, Vol. 58 Issue 6 (Nov/Dec2005)

“A lecturer, of course, could onlyscratch the surface of the Russian Revolution or the Chinese history in a one or two hour talk.”

Russell L. Johnson, “Dancing Mothers” The Chautauqua Movement in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture, American Studies International, Vol. 39 Issue 2 (June, 2001)