# law help: What’s the difference between a hypothesis, theory, theorem, conjecture, postulate, axiom and law? - Help.com

Lawn Ornament

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## What’s the difference between a hypothesis, theory, theorem, conjecture, postulate, axiom and law?

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Lawn Ornament edited this post 9 months, 1 week ago. Read the previous text »

What’s the difference between a hypothesis, theory, theorem, postulate, axiom, law, corollary and conjecture?

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Aren’t hypothesis and conjecture both guesses made from incomplete information that try to explain something? I think a postulate is sort of an assumption, like a theory, but is more used as a stepping stone to figure out something further than a theory is. A postulate is assumed to be true in order to make sense of something else while a theory is sort of an end in itself? Axioms are things that are obviously true, just observations, while laws are the things that uphold all of the axioms and make them true? Laws have to be dug up instead of just seen I think. Lol that’s the best I could do. I doubt it helped you much, but I learned something today. Huh, unless you wanted the more geometric definitions.

Alright, from what I can tell it goes like this…

HYPOTHESIS - proposed explanation, must be testable, must make falsifiable predictions

SCIENTIFIC THEORY - well-substantiated explanation for some natural phenomena, must have predictive power, must make falsifiable predictions

SCIENTIFIC LAW - statement that is true, does not provide an explanation, must have predictive power, must make falsifiable predictions

AXIOM/POSTULATE/FIRST PRINCIPLE - proposition assumed to be true, it cannot be deduced from other assumptions

CONJECTURE - proposition that is unproven, unlike hypothesis it is not testable (i could be wrong about this), if proven it becomes a theorem

THEOREM/PROOF - mathematical statement that is true based on other theorems and axioms

You see? You can!

String theory is a scientific theory though which doesn’t make falsifiable predictions, right?

Zirbel wrote:
You see? You can!

Yes, after skimming through some Wikipedia articles, dictionary entries and Googling things like “hypothesis vs theory” “hypothesis vs conjecture” “law vs theorem” “axiom vs postulate” etc etc

verge wrote:
String theory is a scientific theory though which doesn’t make falsifiable predictions, right?

Lawn wrote:

Zirbel wrote:
You see? You can!

Yes, after skimming through some Wikipedia articles, dictionary entries and Googling things like “hypothesis vs theory” “hypothesis vs conjecture” “law vs theorem” “axiom vs postulate” etc etc

Of course.
But you know: First of all knowledge is work! ;-)

verge wrote:
String theory is a scientific theory though which doesn’t make falsifiable predictions, right?

Apparently that is one of the difficulties. Maybe they should name it something else…

It looks like some of string theories’ predictions have the potential to be tested in the future via the Large Hadron Collider.

Amazing. Any chance you know of anywhere that could explain it to an imbecile?

Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking and supposedly Briane Greene are pretty good at explaining things like this.

I haven’t even watched this video, but I’m posting it assuming that it is probably decent.

Ok, that wasn’t really an explanation of string theory at all.

Maybe this one:

Hahaha that’s crazy and amazing, thanks for posting that :)
I’ve seen the second one on TV before, he is good at explaining. I guess it is impossible of course to really understand unless you do the work, all well.

In this second video, he addresses “how to test” the theory at around 16:30.

verge wrote:
Amazing. Any chance you know of anywhere that could explain it to an imbecile?

I told you!

Zirbel wrote:

verge wrote:
String theory is a scientific theory though which doesn’t make falsifiable predictions, right?

http://www.superstringtheory.com/

It’s not that strange!

Lawn wrote:
In this second video, he addresses “how to test” the theory at around 16:30.

Thanks, that was exactly what I wanted.

Zirbel wrote:
I told you!
It’s not that strange!

Sorry to exasperate you, I checked your link, but its explanations were not what I was hoping for at all.

verge wrote:

Zirbel wrote:
I told you!
It’s not that strange!

Sorry to exasperate you, I checked your link, but its explanations were not what I was hoping for at all.

You didn’t, but have you seen there the BASIC explanation? Which is really easy to understand, even for a math fool like me!
—> http://www.superstringtheory.com/basi…

Thank you for trying to help. I was curious about how string theory could be tested. The website you considerately provided did indeed have a section on that, but not one that I found overly helpful. Thanks anyways :)

verge wrote:
Thank you for trying to help. I was curious about how string theory could be tested. The website you considerately provided did indeed have a section on that, but not one that I found overly helpful. Thanks anyways :)

See this “for dummies”-pages:
• “String Theory For Dummies”: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content…
• “Obstacles to Testing String Theory”: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content…
• “Can Physicists Prove String Theory?”: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content…
:-)

If you’re interested, at 14:50 into this video Lee Smolin gives reason to be skeptical about the ability of the LHC experiments to adequately test string theory predictions.

Wow, 11:40 to 12:40 blew my mind, so did the end, and pretty much all the rest. Thanks for putting that here. Amazing.

Post a reply hii, help me to differenciate between a law and a theorem using chemisry terms

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