How do Scientists Know Answers?
Name: M. F.
How do scientists know answers to questions?
Answer: Scientists answer questions using observation and/or experimentation
and/or reasoned thought.
Michael Loop, Ph.D
Anyone can be a scientist-it just involves careful observation of the
natural world, and/or designing controlled experiments to test
those observations. Once a scientists has a question, he/she develops a
hypothesis, or possible explanation, and sets up an experiment to test that
hypothesis. It involves collecting and analyzing data and then
the data support or reject the hypothesis. There are many factors that can
cause an experiment to appear to be supported though, so usually many
experiments must be done to rule out other possible
explanations. If your idea is
still standing when the other ideas have been ruled out, that lends
to that hypothesis. Once a scientist feels that there is
good support for an
idea, the very most important part of the scientific process is sharing that
knowledge with others. This allows other scientists to come up with their
own ideas that you might not have thought of, or to repeat the experiment to
see if they get the same answers. This also allows other questions to be
asked and new experiments to be thought of. This process is known as peer
review. If your idea is STILL the best explanation after it has
been tested many
different times and by many others, it may become the accepted "knowledge"
about that idea. Scientists don't use the word "proof" very often
know that new knowledge and technologies come along all the time and very
often a better explanation comes along with them. So, scientific
"knowledge" is always subject to revision over time.
That is a very good question. We find answers to questions by studying the
thing we need an answer to and by doing experiments. We use the "scientific
method" where we start with a question, make a study or experiment and try
to predict what will happen, do the study or experiment, collect all our
information, and finally we can hopefully find the answer to that question.
Sometimes answers come quickly, and sometimes it takes years to figure out
I suppose you are considering the scientific people that answers
to NEWTON. They are volunteering professionals that are
specialists in a determined field. So usually they
know the answers and like the task of answering
questions and helping
youngsters and other people around the world.
Sometimes the questions can be tricky or very
specialized in a specified limited field. Then they
know well the sources to look for a correct answer
within the level asked.
There are as NEWTON volunteers several different
scientists so almost always one of then will be
willing to answer the questions.
Now if you are asking about the scientists that work
doing research their goal is to study and hopefully
find answers for questions about problems not yet
Many of the NEWTON scientists are (or were) proficient
in their research professional field.
Thanks for asking at NEWTON!
(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)
The answer is we do not know all the answers. Science is all about finding
answers, and that is what we do best. Each scientist has his or her
specialty in which they have extensive knowledge. For other questions we are
not sure of, we ask someone who is an expert or we do research like anybody
else, (libraries, encyclopedias, whatever we need)
The cool part about since is FINDING out the answers to questions we are
Thanks for asking.
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Update: June 2012