Science begins with questions, and if science is done well, the answers to those questions, once discovered, lead to even more questions. Where would we be if scientific thinkers from ancient times to today had not looked around and asked questions? From the Ancient Greek Democritus asking what everything is made of, to Stephen Hawking asking what creates black holes, science is an infinite feedback loop of human curiosity.
Sept. 28 is Ask a Stupid Question Day, but we at High Touch High Tech believe the same as your third grade teacher when we say… there are no stupid questions! So instead, to celebrate the humble question and all it does for us, please accept this fascinating list some of science’s greatest unanswered questions, written entirely as questions.
WHERE IS EVERYBODY?
Why, in all the vastness of space and its infinite possibilities for life, have we not yet been contacted by any alien species? Are they all just very tiny? Are they trapped under Ice, as on Jupiter’s moon Europa? Is there a “great filter,” a crucial point of survival that most Alien Civilizations do not pass? Could Fermi’s paradox be true, and we ARE alone in this universe?
WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS?
Is consciousness something that happens as a biochemical process, or is it something living organisms are built to receive? Why is consciousness so incredibly difficult to explain? What explains the “placebo effect,” where people experience powerful physical healing just through belief? Could the placebo effect indicate that consciousness is not a quality of the brain but a fundamental universal quality, like mass or gravity?
HOW WILL THE UNIVERSE END?
Will it be “The Big Crunch,” where everything collapses in on itself? Will it be the “Big Chill” where everything freezes? Perhaps it will burn up in the “Heat Death of the Universe?” If none of those sound appealing, how about the “Big Rip” where everything tears apart?
HOW DID LIFE ARISE?
Did it arise out of natural conditions on earth, and if so, how? Was it perhaps delivered from space, and if it was, where did that life originate? And while we’re at it, what is up with RNA and how it acts as both a catalyst and a mini hard drive of bio-information? Was RNA truly the precursor to DNA?
HOW DID A RECTANGULAR GALAXY OCCUR?
Isn’t it incredible that out there in the aforementioned vastness of space, there is a galaxy called LEDA (pictured above) that is shaped like a perfect rectangle? Perhaps it was the result of two perfectly triangular galaxies colliding?
WHAT IS GRAVITY?
We know a lot about how it acts, and its obvious role in the universe, but what IS this force? Why is it so weak in comparison to say, nuclear force or magnetism? If other known forces have opposites, than what is the opposite of gravity, and why does gravity only pull?
WHAT ARE TARDIGRADES?
How can they live so long without water? How do they survive temperatures from -328 to 304 F? Even with our most elaborate gene sequencing, how is it that we still don’t know which phylum they belong to? What’s your guess – are they insects, worms, or crustaceans? Or did they come from the vastness of space? Could THEY be the aliens we’ve been missing all along, trying to contact us?
And with that question, we’re back where we began. Science begins with questions, and if science is done well, the answers to those questions, once discovered, lead to even more questions.