25 Unsolved Scientific Mysteries That Will Leave You Scratching Your Head

From the composition of the universe to why giraffes have such long necks these are 25 unsolved scientific mysteries that will leave you scratching your head.

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25

What is the universe made of?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Atoms, the building blocks of everything around us, only account for 5% of the total matter in the universe. The other 95% has come to be called dark matter and dark energy. Apart from giving the mystery matter a name, though, not much is known about it.

24

Why do we dream?

unsolved scientific mysteries

In spite of spending nearly 1/3 of our lives doing it, we still don’t really have any clue as to why. Some possible explanations may be that it helps with memory and learning.

23

Why do we even sleep?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Taking things back a bit further, scientists aren’t even clear on why we we actually need to sleep.

22

Where do we put all the carbon?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Ever since the industrial revolution, we’ve been sending most of the carbon that was hidden beneath the surface of the Earth up into the atmosphere. The question is…how do we put it back?

21

How do we get more energy from the sun?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Since fossil fuels are a finite source of energy, we will eventually need more and the sun seems to be the most likely candidate. The only question is, how?

20

What’s up with prime numbers?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Prominently used in cryptography to keep your Amazon shopping cart secure, there is a weirdness to prime numbers that mathematicians over the centuries have yet to figure out. The Riemann hypothesis, an apparent pattern within the primes, has baffled minds for hundreds of years.

19

How do we beat bacteria?

unsolved scientific mysteries

With the overuse and misues of antibiotics gradually making most forms of bacteria resistant, science needs to come up with an answer. Among the top contenders is DNA sequencing and deep sea searches for new strains.

18

Can computers keep getting faster?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Your iPhone is more powerful than the computer that took NASA to the moon. Will this sort of advancement in computer power continue? In large part it depends on things such as quantum computing.

17

Will we ever cure cancer?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Unfortunately cancer seems to be built into our genes and the longer you live the higher your chances of acquiring some form of it. On the flip side, however, up to 50% of cancers are preventable. Just don’t smoke, drink and eat moderately, stay active, and avoid over exposing yourself to the sun’s radiation.

16

When can I talk to my robot?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Yea, we know Siri has jokes, but we mean actually talk. Like man to man. Although AI is always improving, whether SkyNet will ever become self aware is still unclear.

15

What’s at the bottom of the ocean?

unsolved scientific mysteries

This one seems a bit dumb. But seriously, 95% of the ocean is unexplored. In fact, it has been said that is easier to get man to the moon than to the deepest parts of the ocean.

14

What’s at the bottom of a black hole?

unsolved scientific mysteries

With general relativity and quantum mechanics in an apparent standoff, science has yet to unify the two and come to some conclusive understanding of how the weirdest parts of our universe actually work.

13

How long can we live?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Only in recent times has medicine started to view aging as a disease rather than a fact of life. The question, however, isn’t really how to live longer. It’s how to live longer well.

12

How do we solve the population problem?

unsolved scientific mysteries

By 2050 the population of Earth is estimate to be near 10 billion. There is just no way the current infrastructure could support that.

11

Is time travel possible?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Although time travel into the future is technically possible (as your velocity increases your experience of passing time decreases), time travel into the past is still beyond the horizon.

10

Why do we yawn?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Although humans (along with most vertebrate animals) yawn scientists are still fairly clueless as to why.

9

Why does the placebo effect work?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Not only is the process by which it works disputable, the actual use of placebos by physicians has also been a source of controversy.

8

Why are 9 out of 10 people right handed?

unsolved scientific mysteries

In the 160 years in which “handedness” has been studied we have learned quite a lot, but we still cannot precisely describe why human populations are biased toward right-hand use rather than left-hand use.

7

What causes rocks to sail across the desert floor?

unsolved scientific mysteries

In several locations around the world, rocks have been shown to scoot along the desert floor, sometimes turning or reversing direction with no good reason.

6

How do birds migrate to the same area every year?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Short of hiding a GPS beneath their wings, the best explanation thus far has to do with Earth’s magnetic poles.

5

Even crazier, how do Monarch Butterflies know where to migrate?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Like birds, monarch butterflies take part in an annual migration of thousands of miles. The only weird things is that they only live 6 months and no butterfly ever makes the migration twice. So how do they know where to go?

4

Why do giraffes have such long necks?

unsolved scientific mysteries

Although there are theories as to the reason, it has long been known that they do not use them for feeding.

3

How do cats purr?

unsolved scientific mysteries

You’d think someone would just grab a stray cat and take a look right? Well, apparently it’s more complex than that. With theories ranging from blood surging through the vena cava to the laryngeal muscles.

2

Is light a wave or a particle?

unsolved scientific mysteries

The consensus is that light is both…at the same time. No one is really sure how that works though.

1

What causes gravity?

unsolved scientific mysteries

This one has stumped scientists perhaps more than any other mystery on our list. Once again, classical physics and quantum mechanics butt heads.



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