In this article we are going to list the 20 biggest questions in science. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 10 biggest questions in science. If your ancestor from a few centuries ago was to pop up in a time machine and spend a few days in our world today, it is safe to say that he/she would be flabbergasted. Things that were hard to even imagine back then are what we barely pay a mind to. From a simple alarm clock to a car, we are surrounded by so much technology that it has become easy for us to forget how far we’ve come from what we were a few centuries ago.
A common question asked by young children is how does science affect us? When one thinks about the technological advancements that science has enabled, the mind goes to rockets and tesla and robots. But what most of us fail to realize, or pay much mind to is that we are surrounded by the miracles of science. In fact, it won’t be an overstatement to say that we are very much at the mercy of science to get by in our daily lives. From the asphalt we drive on, the social media we log on to every day to a simple decision to heat up food in the microwave, all our decisions rest on modern technology. Scientific research has also showed how the simple acts we perform in our day to day life contribute in our general health. Head on over to our article on 25 easiest trivia questions for seniors with dementia to read on how simple inquisitiveness can aid in the fight against mental diseases.
It can be argued that if Edison hadn’t invented the light bulb, we would be living in a drastically different world. The same can be said about plastic. Although creating pollution due to ill usage, life without plastic will be very difficult. It was first invented by a chemist in the 1900’s and since then has seen many transformations and applications in the modern world. One of the biggest manufacturer of plastic is Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM).
Science has also helped modern agriculture as we know it today. In the mid of 20th century, scientists began experimenting with crops to develop high yield varieties of rice, wheat, grain and corn which when combined with new pesticides and fertilizers, also products of science, revolutionized the world of food. These advancements meant more amount of food would be generated and harvested from a single field, which lead to what we now call the Green Revolution. This shifted the economic landscape of agriculture as more and more companies took hold of the process and started production for the growing market. Today the agricultural sector is on the rise. One of these hugely successful companies is the Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) which is an American multinational food processing corporation.
Another extremely important application of science is modern medicine. Almost no one in the entire world can argue that medicine is maybe the most useful product of science. In the late 1700’s an English physicist and scientist by the name of Edward Jenner pioneered the use of vaccines. He was the one who created the world’s first vaccine, the smallpox vaccine. It was also with the help of science that scientists in the 1800’s theorized that diseases are cause by germs and in the early 1900’s the first antibiotic was discovered. Fast forward to today and we have a big industry dedicated to medicine and research. And we need the whole might of this industry especially now more than ever to fight the global pandemic of the coronavirus. The world of medicine is putting its all in to come up with a vaccine which would finally bring an end to the pandemic which has brought the world to its knees. Some of the companies who have put forward test vaccines, as of January, 2021, are BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), and Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) though it is yet to be seen if the vaccinations conquer the virus.
Although science has progressed leaps and bounds in just the last century, there are still a few big questions that remain unanswered and it is unclear when, if ever, these anomalies will be solved. Here we have compiled a list for the 20 biggest questions in science. The entries were compiled from information provided by the Guardian, NBC, Yahoo, Quora and Reddit. We start from number 20:
20. What is matter made of?
We all know that protons, neutrons and electrons make up an atom but is there more underneath? Scientists use something called the Standard Model to predict the existence of particles and the last particles found this way is the Higgs Boson in 2012. But what baffled scientists is that the particle turned out to be extremely lighter than what it was predicted to be.
19. Is time travel possible?
Time travel has been the focus of fiction for as far as the entertainment industry goes back. But is it possible to actually travel in time? A few scientist claim that it is possible to warp time and space so that one could travel in the other direction but the how to that hasn’t yet been discovered.
18. How do we solve the population problem?
This is a fairly important question that we’ve been struggling with for a century now. It has been theorized that by the end of 2050 there will be 9 billion people on the planet. This is extremely concerning taking in consideration the already depleting resources. A solution to this problem is maybe one of the most sought after in this time.
17. Can we live forever?
Ageing is something which has been researched upon extensively and we find something new every day. But the question is if the complex nature of ageing can be understood fully, will man then be able to reverse the process to an extent and defy the mortality expectations we have today.
16. What’s at the bottom of a black hole?
According to Einstein, when a black hole is created by a dying star, it continues to cave in until it forms an infinitely small point called a singularity. The nature of the center of the black hole is still unknown but a recent idea called M-Theory may soon have the answers we need.
15. What’s at the bottom of the ocean?
About 71% of the earth is water of which 96% is ocean. And we have only explored about 5% of it. It’s extremely hard to getting to anywhere close to the bottom of the ocean so much so that we have resorted to send unmanned machines to explore but even then we’ve barely made a dent in the knowledge of the sea world.
14. Will we ever cure cancer?
One of the worst diseases to plague human life still has no cure. Many of its types are preventable though by following a healthy lifestyle and getting regular diagnosis so that even if you are inflicted, then it can be captured at an early stage where the chances of recovery are significantly higher. The issue is, cancer isn't just one disease. Each type of cancer is different, and affects the body differently which means that we need to take care of each type separately and there isn't just one cure for all types of cancer. This is a common misconception which many people have, especially when raising conspiracy theories such as big pharma trying to hide the cure for cancer when these companies would earn tens of billions easily if they gave out such a cure.
13. Can computers keep getting faster?
Has the limit to how fast our machines can function been reached? Scientist around the world continue to test the boundaries of the speed of computation with life changing results.
12. How do we beat bacteria?
Although we have made considerable progress in this war against bacteria but it’s far from over. Antibiotics have proved a useful tool but bacteria keeps evolving. We continue to find a new face of our senior by 3 billion years in the shape of new diseases.
11. What’s so weird about prime numbers?
It is due to the mysterious nature of prime numbers that we can shop safely. The fact that they can only be divided themselves and one keep encryptions safe from hackers and other threats. Despite their usefulness, the number set is still very much an enigma. A thorough study into their nation may very well break the internet.
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Disclosure: No position. 20 biggest questions in science is originally published at Insider Monkey.