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What does the verb 'do' mean in this sentence? I select it in bold.

The brain is an amazing and complex organ. And while many people are fascinated by the brain, they can't really tell you that much about the properties about how the brain works because we don't teach neuroscience in schools. And one of the reasons why is that the equipment is so complex and so expensive that it's really only done at major universities and large institutions. And so in order to be able to access the brain, you really need to dedicate your life and spend six and a half years as a graduate student just to become a neuroscientist to get access to these tools.

  • Welcome! Please edit your question to include more context... you have a sentence starting with "And", which means that it's continuing the though of the previous sentence, so we can't possibly tell you what is "done" without knowing the subject of the previous sentence. – Catija Aug 23 '15 at 17:33
  • @Catija I added more context. – Sergey Aug 23 '15 at 17:39
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    done refers to teach neuroscience – Jim Aug 23 '15 at 17:55
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    Well, probly just neuroscience, since that can be a passivized subject for be done: Neuroscience is really only done at major universities and large institutions. And "doing" it involves doing research on neuroscience at least as much as teaching about it; that's one of the reasons why it takes a major institution -- research is very expensive. – John Lawler Aug 23 '15 at 20:20
  • Interesting that the author contrasts "schools" with "major universities", as if major universities are not considered "schools"! – Brian Hitchcock Aug 24 '15 at 6:05
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The real issue here is not what done means, but what itrefers to. It's important to be careful with pronouns in writing. Often, the noun to which the pronoun refers is more obvious to the writer than to the reader.

In this case, I suspect your confusion comes from the feeling that it refers to "the equipment." It doesn't; it refers to "teaching neuroscience" as others have already said in the comments. This passage could be improved, and I might edit it so:

The brain is an amazing and complex organ. While many people are fascinated by the brain, they can't really tell you much about how it works, because we don't teach neuroscience in schools. One of the reasons we don't is that the equipment required to teach it is so expensive that only major universities and large institutions can afford it.

Perhaps that clarifies what the writer is trying to say.

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