Glossary term: Hypothesis

Description: In science, hypothesis refers to an idea, or prediction a scientist may have. It may have some evidence, but it has not been proven. It is only through experimentation, observations, data, and models, that a hypothesis is gradually refined or completely discounted. Contrary to popular belief a hypothesis is not always the first stage in the development of scientific knowledge. For example, scientists make observations of phenomena or objects, analyze the data, and then propose an explanation or make a prediction of what could be going on: that is their hypothesis. It is only through additional data and observations that the hypothesis is validated, or not. A hypothesis can have a mathematical basis or start with a mathematical formulation that makes a prediction.

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The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".