Chemistry / The Scientific Method
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Solution: Explain the differences between a hypothesis, a law, and a t...


Explain the differences between a hypothesis, a law, and a theory.

Video Transcript

Hey guys, in this question here we're asked to figure out the difference between a hypothesis, a theory and a law. So, if we're going to talk about the differences between a hypothesis, a theory and a law let's just first define what they each are, so a hypothesis is basically an educated guess but we can't just make an educated guess without backing it up with research so more specifically it's an educated guess based on observation multiple observations and/or experimentation, OK? Here's the thing that's important about hypotheses, they can be disproven so they can be made to be found false but they can't be proven to be true, OK? So, what do you mean by that? So, let's think of a hypothesis I can say based on its texture and sweet taste everyone loves chocolate, right? So, we can think of this as a hypothesis so how do I test this hypothesis? Well I go to tons and tons of people all over the place and give them all chocolate and all of them may come back and say we love chocolate and tastes great which helps to continue my hypothesis but it doesn't prove a true because there might be that one lone person somewhere out there that taste chocolate and hates it so I have the possibility of proving this to be false but I can never absolutely be sure if it's true because there's someone out there that I haven't tested yet they may hate Chocolate so that would be a good example of a hypothesis. Now here law this is just a brief statement that summarizes past observations and predicts future ones so that's the difference between a law and hypothesis, a hypothesis is a guess based on research but here this is coming up with a statement based on observation that helps us to predict all other things in the future, OK? So here we can say law of conservation of mass would be a good example so matter is neither created nor destroyed it just changes forms within a reaction so basically, we can have a reaction where we have H2 gas + O2 gas together combining to form H2O liquid, OK? And here I would balance this out and let's say that on this side I start out with 100 grams total we're going to see on this side I'm supposed to end what 100 grams total, now all those 100 grams may not make this product I might have some byproduct being formed as well that's been lost or formed somehow but adding up that water and that byproduct should give me 100 as well, this is the conservation of mass I start with 100 I end with 100 and then finally a theory. Now a theory and a law are very similar so here this summarizes just like in a law it summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypothesis hypotheses, OK? So, this is kind of like a law it just summarizes a bunch of observation but what's the difference between a law and a theory? Here this explains how something occurs like a law but it also works to explain why and that's the major difference between a theory and a law, a theory goes even further and tries to explain why something is the way that it is and here a good example of a theory we may not have heard before oxygen theory of combustion so you guys may not know this yet but in the combustion reaction we have some compound A well actually let's say the compound is CH4 methane gas, in combustion this compound reacts with O2 gas and it will produce carbon dioxide as a gas plus water, OK? So here this came up was basically formulated by Levassor in the 1770s, he theorized basically that for combustion to work some gas had to be involved he theorized that the gas involved had to be oxygen gas, OK? So, from this theory he was able to explain how something was occurring but more importantly why it was occurring? Combustion was occurring because oxygen gas was present and here you could prove this to be true or not by introducing oxygen to the system and trying to do combustion and then removing oxygen from the system and see if it doesn't occur so these are the differences between what we have here a hypothesis, a law and a theory. Now these are very conceptual types of ideas so just understand the basics in terms of them remember what they stand for definition wise but also remember the differences between them that we've talked about so remember here a hypothesis is just an as educated guess a law is a statement based on these educated guess and past observations but the difference here it predicts the future or future events that are similar and the difference between a law and theory is that the theory goes even further and tries to explain why something is the way that it is, OK? So, these are three major topics when it comes to this chapter.