For what purposes do scientists make questions and prove them? What questions are allowed in sciences? If a person proves a question and they want to publish it, what are the criteria for the acceptance of their work from the journal? Personally, I think I have a wrong view of what is and what is not allowed to ask as a question in the sciences and what is accepted from scientific journals.

What are the criteria for evaluating the value of each scientific work, perhaps in comparison with other scientific works? If a person's scientific work is rejected from scientific journals, could they keep it at their house somewhere, so that it will not go to waste?

If it is allowed you could add some links at your answer to help me read the answers to these questions.

I am an undergraduate math student, I do not have any scientific research experience but I read some papers sometimes that are more advanced than what is at the undergraduate courses. I also read some pdfs from the internet or other scientific books.

  • 2
    "If a person proves a question" A question cannot be proven. Do you mean "if a person proves a statement"?
    – JRN
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 13:33
  • @JRN, I mean answering a question by proving or proving a statement or a conjecture.Otherwise in sciences if you don't prove or at least have evidence for your answer how can it be accepted?
    – plants
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 13:36
  • Some rough ideas about what you are asking can be obtained over time by attending some of your department's social activities (afternoon "teas", Friday afternoon gatherings -- 2 of the 4 graduate math programs I've attended had this, etc.) and attending some of your department's seminars, and in doing so you may also begin "getting to know" some of the graduate students and the more approachable faculty. Also by reading various autobiographies/biographies such as "Adventures of a Mathematician" by Ulam, "Genius" by Gleick, "Random Curves" by Koblitz, "Birth of a Theorem" by Villani, etc. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 16:46
  • Thank you Dave L. Renfro for your comment and help.
    – plants
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


First, you say you study math, but you are asking about science. They are not the same. In math we seek proof, but in science it is evidence that we are after.

One consistent view of math is that it is a completely human creation and works with well defined assumptions (axioms) and methods of proof (logic). That makes it a closed system, where "proof" means provably consistent with the axioms using agreed upon proof rules.

Science is very different, since it attempts to answer questions about the observable universe, which doesn't have an agreed upon definition. It just is. We observe gravity. We attempt to measure it. We make hypotheses about it and search for evidence that our hypothesis is correct. But that isn't proof. Einstein comes along and changes the game, with new hypotheses and new evidence which is "hopefully" more accurate than that which Newton supplied.

At one time the universe was (thought to be) composed of atoms (indivisible units). Now we have quarks and such. How do we explain those. We can't actually prove our hypotheses, but we can supply evidence of various sorts. But a scientist will always admit the possibility that someday someone will supply a more accurate (closely measurable) understanding of "stuff".

But that isn't like the Pythagorean Theorem, which, once proved, stands for all time, unless we change the underlying axioms, in which case we are studying something fundamentally different.

There are no questions that are "off limits" in either math or science. But there are questions that are more valuable when asked and proof (math) or evidence (science) is provided.

The valuable questions are those that provide insight into their domains. Special Relativity did that. The Derivative did that. They help us ask the next question in both math and science.

To build a math or scientific career, however, you need to value "answerable" questions so that you don't get stuck. For that, a novice, perhaps an undergraduate, normally needs a guide to lead them to the edge of what is "known" in either field. But the meaning of "known" also differs. In math, it is something provable from the axioms. In science it is something with sufficient evidence that it becomes generally accepted (for the moment) by experts. Note that Special Relativity wasn't immediately accepted in the scientific world. It took time to gather the evidence.

In both math and science we seek a kind of "truth" though it is different in the two domains and approached in different ways.

Journals seek to publish novel work. That is, work that is new in some way and beyond the ordinary. They have no interest in publishing proofs of student exercises, for example, as the techniques are well known and the results unlikely to provide new insights to experts. Similar, in physics, a new theory might seem "interesting" and the methodology of providing evidence might provide insight into other problems of the day. In science, even something new but as yet unexplainable, might be interesting enough for publication. If something unexpected pops up at CERN, for example, folks want to know about it even before a coherent explanation is found.

  • so, in my case how could I make answerable questions that are accepted from scientific journals if they are provided with evidence or proof?Should I try to answer questions or problems that are already stated from others? Is insight the only criterion that makes a question valuable or are there other criteria? Should i wait until I get my degree, then get a master's degree and then a doctorate degree or try and start from now to make questions and answer them?
    – plants
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 13:58
  • 1
    That isn't something to be answered in general. Find an advisor/guide with more experience and background and ask them for a problem to attack. If a question is open (stated by others) it is probably very hard. Take small steps at the start to build up your own insight. I got some insight into math (especially calculus) by solving hundreds of standard problems by hand (no computer or calculator) at one point so I began to see the relationships in real functions. But, true insight into the very nature of math didn't come until I already had a doctorate.
    – Buffy
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 14:03

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