Definition of Science I. For example, the law of gravity says that two objects will exert their gravitational pull on each other. A theory explains not just what happens, but also how it happens. Why Do “Left” And “Right” Mean Liberal And Conservative? A theory, in contrast, is a principle that has been formed as an attempt to explain things that have already been substantiated by data. A few of the best-known scientific theories are the theory of gravity, the theory of evolution, and the theory of relativity. A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can be repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method, using accepted protocols of observation, measurement, and evaluation of results. One example of this is germ theory, developed by scientists in the 1800s. Facts and theories are two different things. Theories typically cannot be proven, but they can become established if they are tested by several different scientific investigators. A scientific law describes a scientific observation but doesn’t attempt to say why or how it happens, whereas a scientific theory explains exactly why or how it happens. In science, an explanation or model that covers a substantial group of occurrences in nature and has been confirmed by a substantial number of experiments and observations. A scientific theory is a well-tested, broad explanation of a natural phenomenon. “Epidemic” vs. “Pandemic” vs. “Endemic”: What Do These Terms Mean? Scientific theories are testable and falsifiable. In everyday life, we often use the word theory to mean a hypothesis or educated guess, but a theory in the context of science is not simply a guess—it is an explanation based on extensive and repeated experimentation. In other words, a scientific theory is an in-depth, wide-sweeping explanation of a natural occurrence that can’t be proven wrong given our current scientific knowledge. The big bang theory describes the development of the universe from the time just after it came into existence up to today. Theory Defined. In science, a theory is an attempt to explain a particular aspect of the universe. [ C ] I have a theory (= an … Scientific theory, systematic ideational structure of broad scope, conceived by the human imagination, that encompasses a family of empirical (experiential) laws regarding regularities existing in objects and events, both observed and posited. But for scientists, a theory has nearly the opposite meaning. As a hypothetical example, Darwin used North American black bears, which were known to catch insects by swimming in the water with their mouths open:\"I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larg… Lexical Definitions of Science IV. theory on something theories on human behaviour A scientific theory is an explanation for why things work or how things happen. Examples of theories include the theory of relativity and the theory of evolution. “Affect” vs. “Effect”: Use The Correct Word Every Time. A theory can be disproven by a single contrary result. It could refer to a speculative guess. Because of the rigors of experimentation and control, its likelihood as truth is much higher than that of a hypothesis. Truth B. Both theories and laws may be used to make predictions about natural behavior. Words like “fact,” “theory,” and “law,” get thrown around a lot. It must be falsifiable. Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020. a coherent group of propositions formulated to explain a group of facts or phenomena in the natural world and repeatedly confirmed through experiment or observation: “Theory” vs. “Hypothesis”: What Is The Difference? Over time, some theories have been shown to be incorrect. It could refer to a speculative guess. They involve different explanations for how acids and bases work (e.g., hydrogen ion transfer, proton transfer, electron transfer). It must be consistent with existing experimental results and able to predict outcomes at least as accurately as any existing theories. Light transmits spatial and temporal information. Scientific theories explain some of the most familiar and complex phenomena. Definition and Design, Definition and Overview of Grounded Theory, Scientific Representation and the Semantic View of Theories, Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College. Some theories may be adapted or changed over time to better explain and predict behavior. Late in 1944, Albert Einstein received a letter from Robert Thornton,a young African-American philosopher of science who had just finishedhis Ph.D. under Herbert Feigl at Minnesota and was beginning a new jobteaching physics at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez. Its equations are much easier to work with, so Newtonian mechanics remains in use for general physics. That’s because a theory is not just a single answer but a consistent system of many, many answers backed by supporting evidence. We Asked, You Answered. Theories are based on ideas that can be tested. For example, if you have big questions about the movement of the planets in our solar system, the theory of heliocentrism has big answers (spoiler alert: they orbit around the sun). In common usage, the word theory means just a hunch, but in science, a theory is a powerful explanation for a broad set of observations. Goals of Science A. a systematic or scientific explanation: [ U ] Adele took a course in modern political theory. A hypothesis, unlike a thoroughly tested scientific theory, is an educated guess that has not yet been fully tested or subjected to research. However, in science, a theory is a well-substantiated explanation or a set of statements that have been confirmed over the course of many independent experiments. | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples Theories are based on experiments, observations and facts that many scientists have confirmed, over and over. In everyday life, we often use the word theory to mean a hypothesis or educated guess, but a theory in the context of science is not simply a guess—it is an explanation based on extensive and repeated experimentation. A theory is more general and better verified than a hypothesis. For example, Darwin 's theory of Evolution is a system of ideas that points to humans and apes having evolved from a common ancestor. The definition of a theory in science is very different from the everyday usage of the word. A crucial aspect of scientific theories is that they can predict phenomena not yet directly observed—things that current technology can’t detect but that the theory nevertheless asserts to exist.