An Hypothesis?

Recently, a wordsmith friend of mine objected to my saying “an hypothesis”.  He said it sounded funny, we don’t say “an hotel”, or “an hypodermic needle”, so why am I saying “an hypothesis”?

After extensive research (OK, I googled it), I found that there is a somewhat spirited debate about “a” versus “an” when used with hypothesis, with about 70% saying that “a” is correct, and about 30% saying that “an” is correct.

There was also a pdf document I found from Duke’s biology department that listed the elements of a scientific hypothesis.

I asked my physics colleagues what they thought, and while there was a mixed response, the small sampled preponderance was towards “an”.  This leads me to conclude that science professionals use “an” and everyone else (who cares) uses “a”.

Anyways, here’s my physics based definition of  “an hypothesis”:

An hypothesis is a scientifically vetted tentative explanation of a physical phenomenon.  An hypothesis must be proven by experiment in order to become a scientific theory, law or principle.  An hypothesis must be falsifiable, if in fact it is false.

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I Luv Veritasium

I have a STEM student who is doing research on robotic prostheses, a fascinating new area of research.  He first looked at nerve reinervation, because this is a focus at Chicago’s Rehabilitation Institute.  Later we investigated “mind over matter” methods, whereby brainwaves could be used to teach robots, attached to the subject or not, to do various tasks.

To my surprise, yet another development is taking place in Europe, spinal cord damage repair, which combines an injection of cellular matter and operational conditioning therapy.  This I learned from the European equivalent of V Sauce, a Youtube channel called Veritasium.