Even if your theory or model has been proven by experimentation and accepted for publication... is it normal to still doubt oneself and have uncertainty in their proposed theory/model?

Or does this mean there's really something wrong in the theory?

EDIT: And what happens if one day you discover that your theory can be broken.. but, after you had already published it?

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    It's healthy to doubt. Only crackpots don't. Be sceptical, seek for ways to "fail" your theory. If it survives these attacks, you have something nice on your hands. If it survives some, but not others, you can formulate conditions under which your theory works. Oct 26, 2017 at 13:06
  • @CaptainEmacs Very wise answer. Thank you. If you don't mind, read my edit in question.
    – Rain
    Oct 26, 2017 at 13:32
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    Well, if it is broken after 20 years, say, you had contributed to progress. Or look at Sommerfeld who created a relativistic version of Bohr's model, and could explain a lot of phenomena which Bohr couldn't. The theory was soon made obsolete by the much more general Quantum Theory, but what if they hadn't found it so early? Also, who knows whether it did not provide additional insights? It was a good piece of science, even if it was soon made obsolete. That's totally fine. Not everyone is granted with putting their hands on a General Relativity Theory, more insightful than even its originator. Oct 26, 2017 at 13:42
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    Is it normal as a [person] [doing a thing] to keep having uncertainties and doubts?Yes!
    – JeffE
    Oct 26, 2017 at 19:07
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    @Rain Don't mention it - we all have been there (at least, if we are lucky, we may believe we have something new that lasts at least a few years). This is part of the fun. Continue enjoying science! Oct 27, 2017 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


This means that you are proud about your work, and know that it is really a breakthrough.

I too had these uncertainties when I was publishing a new model. This was the first time I felt that way even though this was my fifth paper. What I realised is that the previous work I published was not revolutionary in a way that would attract negative discussions and critics. I was simply confirming the theories of others. These were "safe" publications, the kind that would easily be accepted and cited, and could not affect my career. I believe science was build by "bold" contributions, and that the "safe" ones will eventually be forgotten.

Any theory will be broken, sooner or later. Do not worry about that. Insist on logic and rigour when writing your manuscript.


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