Do you consider yourself to be a science buff? If you do, then you’ll know that science doesn’t involve proving what works. It involves proving what doesn’t work. Known as the scientific method, we use it everyday. You start with a question like, “Will drinking milk make me sick?” Well, there’s only one way to find out. We create a hypothesis and test it. Did it make you sick? Let’s test another kind of milk. Scientists do this all the time. Some questions, however, are still elusive. Either they can’t be tested (metaphysical), or more testing needs to be done. These are 25 Simple Questions Science Still Can’t Answer.
What is consciousness?
It is surprisingly hard to figure out the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness. From a macroscopic perspective it seems easy…one is awake, the other isn’t. But on a microscopic level, scientists are still trying to figure out what the difference is.
Why do we sleep?
We used to think it was to rest and regenerate. However, our brains are actually just as active when we sleep, if not more so. Also, we wouldn’t need 8 hours of minimal movement to recover from the activity of a day’s work. In fact, we wouldn’t really need to sleep at all. Our muscles and cells can recover while we are awake.
Are we alone?
By pure statistical modeling, it seems unlikely (maybe even impossible), for us to be alone in the universe. The question is, how do we find these other life forms, and if we did find them…would we even recognize them as life? What if they were massive inter-stellar clouds?
Where is all the matter in the universe?
If you take all the stars and galaxies in the night sky, they only account for less than 5% of the mass-energy density of the universe. Dark matter and dark energy account for more than 95% of the universe. That’s right, we can’t see most of what’s out there. So how do we know it exists? Because of its affect on the visible matter.
Will we ever be able to predict the weather?
The weather is notoriously hard to predict. It depends on local geography, humidity, air pressure, etc. Just a bit of humidity over one patch of forest can completely change today’s weather, which will completely change tomorrow’s weather, etc.
Note: if you’re wondering how scientists can predict climate change but not weather, consider that climate is the average condition, while weather is the actual condition. This pattern is quite common in everyday life. While we can predict that your life expectancy (average condition) will be longer than your grandparents, we cannot predict exactly when you will die (actual condition). Similarly, we cannot predict the exact temperature in New York City on January 1, 2030 (actual condition), but we can say that it will probably be colder than it is on July 1, 2030 (average condition).