The Scientific Approach in Chemistry
(Observation, Hypothesis, Theory and Law)

Over the years science has developed through a series of discoveries which started off as observed natural phenomenon which had to be explained. This was done by using scientific method in a systematic manner.

  1. Observation: Different people observe a phenomenon in different ways. Some of us observe something very critically to extract from it a new point. Observation is a basic tool to go forth for elaborating a phenomenon but it may vary from person to person according to his own skill o elaboration. Observation of a thing is one of the scientific approaches in chemistry.
  2. Hypothesis: When a phenomenon is observed; a scientist ponders over carries out relevant experiments. He sieves through the data and arrives at a possible explanation for the nature of the phenomenon, explanation; which is still only a trial idea is called hypothesis. It may or may not undergo a change as a result further investigations and accumulation of more knowledge or facts.
  3. Theory: The scientist conveys his hypothesis to other workers of the same field for the discussion and for further experimentation. When the hypothesis is supported by a large amount of different types observations and experiments, then it becomes a theory i.e. scientific acceptable idea or principle to explain a phenomenon. A good theory-predicts new facts and unravels new relationship between naturally occurring phenomenon.
  4. Scientific Law: A theory which is tested again and again and found to fit the facts and from which valid predictions may be made is then known as scientific law or principle. However, not all hypothesis and theories pass successfully to become scientific laws. Some may sound very convincing and be supported by mathematical calculations but are very difficult to prove experimentally. This is invariably due to the material under investigation or the lack of suitable working equipments. A typical example is Avogadro's hypothesis which has not been proved conclusively and yet it is accepted as Avogadro's law.
    Science cherishes all forms of ideas and proposals. Even obsolete ideas are kept as reference. It is said that there is no end to knowledge, so development in science too may have no limits.
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