Scientific theories and scientific laws are both essential components of the scientific method. These concepts may seem interchangeable at first glance, but they are actually quite distinct from one another. In this article, we will explore the relationship between scientific theories and scientific laws, and understand how they work together to help us understand the world around us.

What is a Scientific Theory?

A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world. It is typically based on empirical observations and experiments, and is used to make predictions about future events or phenomena. A theory must be supported by evidence that has been repeatedly tested and verified by multiple scientists over time.

Scientific theories are never considered to be absolutely true, as new evidence may emerge that contradicts them or requires their modification. However, they are still considered to be extremely useful in helping us understand complex phenomena.

What is a Scientific Law?

A scientific law is a statement that describes an observed phenomenon without attempting to explain it. Unlike a theory, which seeks to explain why something happens, a law simply describes what happens.

For example, Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that every point mass in the universe attracts every other point mass with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

This law does not explain why gravity exists or how it works; it simply describes its effects on objects in space.

The Relationship Between Scientific Theories and Scientific Laws

Scientific theories and scientific laws are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they often work together to help us understand complex phenomena.

For example, Einstein’s theory of general relativity explains why gravity exists and how it works at a fundamental level. This theory builds upon Newton’s law of universal gravitation by providing a more detailed explanation for why objects are attracted to each other.

Similarly, the theory of evolution explains how species change over time, while the laws of genetics describe the mechanisms by which these changes occur.


In conclusion, scientific theories and scientific laws are both important concepts that help us understand the natural world. While they may seem similar at first glance, they actually serve different purposes.

Scientific theories seek to explain why something happens and are supported by empirical evidence, while scientific laws simply describe what happens without attempting to explain it. However, these two concepts often work together to provide a more complete understanding of complex phenomena. By using both theories and laws, scientists can continue to advance our knowledge of the world around us.