What Are Two Major Characteristics of a Successful Scientific Theory?


Vincent White

Scientific theories are essential in explaining the natural phenomena around us. A scientific theory is a well-supported explanation of natural events that can be tested and verified through experiments.

But, what are the characteristics of a successful scientific theory? In this article, we will discuss two major characteristics of a successful scientific theory.

1. Ability to Explain and Predict

A successful scientific theory should have the ability to explain and predict natural phenomena accurately. The theory should provide a clear and concise explanation of the observed phenomenon and be able to predict future outcomes under different conditions.

For instance, in physics, Isaac Newton’s Law of Gravitation explains the force of gravity between two masses accurately and predicts how objects move around each other in space. Similarly, Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity explains gravity as a curvature of space-time caused by massive objects like planets or stars.


  • Newtons Law: F = G(m1*m2)/r^2
  • Einstein’s Theory: E=mc^2

2. Testable and Falsifiable

Another crucial characteristic of a successful scientific theory is that it must be testable and falsifiable. This means that the theory can be tested through experiments or observations, and its predictions can be proven wrong if they don’t match with experimental results.

In science, we use the process of experimentation to test theories’ validity by setting up controlled experiments with independent variables that can affect the dependent variables being measured. If the predicted outcomes match with experimental results consistently, then scientists can be confident that their theory is valid.

For example, Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is testable since it predicts that living organisms evolve over time through natural selection based on genetic variation. This prediction has been tested extensively through experiments, observations, and fossil records, providing overwhelming evidence that supports the theory.


  • Darwin’s Theory: Natural Selection
  • Albert Einstein’s Theory: E=mc^2

In conclusion, a successful scientific theory should have the ability to explain and predict natural phenomena accurately and be testable and falsifiable. These two major characteristics ensure that the theory is valid and can withstand critical examination by other scientists in the field. By incorporating these characteristics into their work, scientists can create theories that provide accurate explanations of natural events around us.