Manual The Five Biggest Unsolved Problems in Science

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Table of contents

I n a special collection of articles published beginning 1 July , Science Magazine and its online companion sites celebrate the journal's th anniversary with a look forward -- at the most compelling puzzles and questions facing scientists today. A special, free news feature in Science explores big questions that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter-century; accompanying the feature are several online extras including a reader's forum on the big questions. The Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment highlights some classic Science papers that have influenced the study of cell signaling.

The Science of Aging Knowledge Environment looks at several important questions confronting researchers on aging. And Science 's Next Wave introduces us to four young scientists building their careers grappling with some of the very questions that Science has identified.

List of unsolved problems in mathematics - Wikipedia

Kennedy and C. Siegfried Online Extras Be sure to check out these online extras related to our th Anniversary Issue: Your Turn Did we miss your favorite scientific conundrum?


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Ray, E. Adler, N. Gough STKE editors provide a small taste of the cell signaling articles published during Science 's years.

Dugan and K. Quick How do ROS contribute to aging in higher organisms? Kristal and Y. Today, no physicist would dare assert that our physical knowledge of the universe is near completion. To the contrary, each new discovery seems to unlock a Pandora's box of even bigger, even deeper physics questions. These are our picks for the most profound open questions of all. It was updated on Feb.

2 How did life begin?

No matter how astrophysicists crunch the numbers, the universe simply doesn't add up. Even though gravity is pulling inward on space-time — the "fabric" of the cosmos — it keeps expanding outward faster and faster. To account for this, astrophysicists have proposed an invisible agent that counteracts gravity by pushing space-time apart. They call it dark energy. As space expands, more space is created, and with it, more dark energy. Based on the observed rate of expansion, scientists know that the sum of all the dark energy must make up more than 70 percent of the total contents of the universe.

But no one knows how to look for it.

Five Great Problems in Theoretical Physics

The best researchers have been able to do in recent years is narrow in a bit on where dark energy might be hiding, which was the topic of a study released in August Evidently, about 84 percent of the matter in the universe does not absorb or emit light. Instead, dark matter's existence and properties are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation and the structure of the universe. This shadowy substance is thought to pervade the outskirts of galaxies, and may be composed of "weakly interacting massive particles," or WIMPs.

Worldwide, there are several detectors on the lookout for WIMPs, but so far, not one has been found.

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One recent study suggests dark mater might form long, fine-grained streams throughout the universe, and that such streams might radiate out from Earth like hairs. Time moves forward because a property of the universe called "entropy," roughly defined as the level of disorder, only increases, and so there is no way to reverse a rise in entropy after it has occurred. The fact that entropy increases is a matter of logic: There are more disordered arrangements of particles than there are ordered arrangements, and so as things change, they tend to fall into disarray.

But the underlying question here is, why was entropy so low in the past? Put differently, why was the universe so ordered at its beginning, when a huge amount of energy was crammed together in a small amount of space? Astrophysical data suggests space-time might be "flat," rather than curved, and thus that it goes on forever. If so, then the region we can see which we think of as "the universe" is just one patch in an infinitely large "quilted multiverse.


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This means there are infinitely many parallel universes: cosmic patches exactly the same as ours containing someone exactly like you , as well as patches that differ by just one particle's position, patches that differ by two particles' positions, and so on down to patches that are totally different from ours.

Is there something wrong with that logic, or is its bizarre outcome true? Radiative Processes in Astrophysics.

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