20 biggest science questions answered (2023)

1 What is the universe made of?

Astronomers don’t know what 95 per cent of the universe is made of. Atoms, which form everything we see around us, only account for a measly 5 per cent. Over the past 80 years it has become clear that the substantial remainder is comprised of two shadowy entities – dark matter and dark energy. The former acts as an invisible glue, binding galaxies and galaxy clusters together. The latter is pushing the universe’s expansion to ever greater speeds.

2 How did life begin?

Four billion years ago, something started stirring in the primordial soup. A few simple chemicals got together and made biology – the first molecules capable of replicating themselves appeared. We humans are linked by evolution to those early biological molecules..

3 Are we alone in the universe?

Perhaps not. Astronomers have been scouring the universe for places where water worlds might have given rise to life, from Europa and Mars in our solar system to planets many light years away. Radio telescopes have been eavesdropping on the heavens and astronomers are now able to scan the atmospheres of alien worlds for oxygen and water.

4 What makes us human?

Just looking at your DNA won’t tell you – the human genome is 99 per cent identical to a chimpanzee’s and, for that matter, 50 per cent to a banana’s. We do, however, have bigger brains than most animals – not the biggest, but packed with three times as many neurons as a gorilla (86 billion to be exact). A lot of the things we once thought distinguishing about us – language, tool-use, recognising yourself in the mirror – are seen in other animals.

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5 What is consciousness?

We’re still not really sure. We do know that it’s to do with different brain regions networked together rather than a single part of the brain. The thinking goes that if we figure out which bits of the brain are involved and how the neural circuitry works, we’ll figure out how consciousness emerges, something that artificial intelligence and attempts to build a brain neuron by neuron may help with.

6 Why do we dream?

We spend around a third of our lives sleeping. Considering how much time we spend doing it, you might think we’d know everything about it. But scientists are still searching for a complete explanation of why we sleep and dream. Subscribers to Sigmund Freud’s views believed dreams were expressions of unfulfilled wishes while others wonder whether dreams are anything but the random firings of a sleeping brain.

7 Why is there stuff?

You really shouldn’t be here. The “stuff” you’re made of is matter, which has a counterpart called antimatter differing only in electrical charge. When they meet, both disappear in a flash of energy. Our best theories suggest that the big bang created equal amounts of the two, meaning all matter should have since encountered its antimatter counterpart, scuppering them both and leaving the universe awash with only energy.

8 Are there other universes?

Our universe is a very unlikely place. Alter some of its settings even slightly and life as we know it becomes impossible. In an attempt to unravel this “fine-tuning” problem, physicists are increasingly turning to the notion of other universes. If there is an infinite number of them in a “multiverse” then every combination of settings would be played out somewhere and, of course, you find yourself in the universe where you are able to exist.

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9 Where do we put all the carbon?

For the past couple of hundred years, we’ve been filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide – unleashing it by burning fossil fuels that once locked away carbon below the Earth’s surface. Now we have to put all that carbon back, or risk the consequences of a warming climate. But how do we do it? One idea is to bury it in old oil and gas fields. Another is to hide it away at the bottom of the sea.

10 How do we get more energy from the sun?

Dwindling supplies of fossil fuels mean we’re in need of a new way to power our planet. Our nearest star offers more than one possible solution. We’re already harnessing the sun’s energy to produce solar power. Another idea is to use the energy in sunlight to split water into its component parts: oxygen, and hydrogen, which could provide a clean fuel for cars of the future.

11 What’s so weird about prime numbers?

The fact you can shop safely on the internet is thanks to prime numbers – those digits that can only be divided by themselves and one. Public key encryption – the heartbeat of internet commerce – uses prime numbers to fashion keys capable of locking away your sensitive information from prying eyes. And yet, despite their fundamental importance to our everyday lives, the primes remain an enigma.

12 How do we beat bacteria?

Antibiotics are one of the miracles of modern medicine. Sir Alexander Fleming’s Nobel prize-winning discovery led to medicines that fought some of the deadliest diseases and made surgery, transplants and chemotherapy possible. Yet this legacy is in danger – in Europe around 25,000 people die each year of multidrug-resistant bacteria.

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13 Can computers keep getting faster?

Our tablets and smartphones are mini-computers that contain more computing power than astronauts took to the moon in 1969. There are only so many components you can cram on to a computer chip. Scientists are considering new materials, such as atomically thin carbon – graphene – as well as new systems, such as quantum computing.

14 Will we ever cure cancer?

The short answer is no. Not a single disease, but a loose group of many hundreds of diseases, cancer has been around since the dinosaurs and, being caused by haywire genes, the risk is hardwired into all of us. The longer we live, the more likely something might go wrong, in any number of ways. For cancer is a living thing – ever-evolving to survive.

15 When can I have a robot butler?

Robots can already serve drinks and carry suitcases. Modern robotics can offer us a “staff” of individually specialised robots: they ready your Amazon orders for delivery, milk your cows, sort your email and ferry you between airport terminals.

16 What’s at the bottom of the ocean?

Ninety-five per cent of the ocean is unexplored. What’s down there? In 1960, Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard travelled seven miles down, to the deepest part of the ocean, in search of answers. The discoveries we’ve made so far – from bizarre fish such as the barreleye, with its transparent head, to a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s made by crustaceans – are a tiny fraction of the strange world hidden below the waves.

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17 What’s at the bottom of a black hole?

It’s a question we don’t yet have the tools to answer. Einstein’s general relativity says that when a black hole is created by a dying, collapsing massive star, it continues caving in until it forms an infinitely small, infinitely dense point called a singularity.

18 Can we live for ever?

We live in an amazing time: we’re starting to think of “ageing” not as a fact of life, but a disease that can be treated and possibly prevented, or at least put off for a very long time. Our knowledge of what causes us to age – and what allows some animals to live longer than others – is expanding rapidly.

19 How do we solve the population problem?

The number of people on our planet has doubled to more than 7 billion since the 1960s and it is expected that by 2050 there will be at least 9 billion of us.

20 Is time travel possible?

Time travellers already walk among us. Thanks to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, astronauts orbiting on the International Space Station experience time ticking more slowly. At that speed the effect is minuscule, but ramp up the velocity and the effect means that one day humans might travel thousands of years into the future.

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FAQs

What are the 10 questions science can t answer? ›

What happens to us after we die? How did so much life appear on our planet when others seem devoid of any species at all? Who, if anyone, pulls the strings of our universe? Is it some all-powerful god in control or are there physical and mathematical principles driving the engine of our existence?

What is a super deep question? ›

Deep Hypothetical Questions

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Do you think flying or mind reading is a more functional power? If you could have one human talent that you don't currently have, what would it be? If you had three wishes, what would you wish for? ( excluding more wishes)

What are the 7 biggest unanswered questions in physics? ›

plications” with a brief explanation/justification.
  • 1 Quantum Gravity. The biggest unsolved problem in fundamental physics is how gravity and the. ...
  • 2 Particle Masses. ...
  • 3 The “Measurement” Problem. ...
  • 4 Turbulence. ...
  • 5 Dark Energy. ...
  • 6 Dark Matter. ...
  • 7 Complexity. ...
  • 8 The Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry.

What is a good scientific question? ›

A good scientific question should be objective and testable. It may be a verification question, theory question, or experimental question. A scientific question should be narrow enough to answer with data gathered by observation or testing. It should not be a question about opinion.

What is the biggest question in the world? ›

Why is there something instead of nothing?” has been sometimes labeled as the “biggest question of all.”

What are the biggest unanswered questions? ›

Science's Greatest Unanswered Questions Revealed
  • Are we alone in the universe? - ...
  • Will there ever be a cure for cancer? - ...
  • Does God exist? - ...
  • How big is space? -

What's the hardest question on earth? ›

So, what is truth? Philosophers have struggled with this question since the dawn of time, perhaps because it's the hardest question ever asked. The field of epistemology is the subdiscipline of philosophy that grapples it, along with the nature of knowledge itself.

What are the 7 questions you should ask about any scientific claim? ›

Can You Believe It? Seven Questions to Ask About Any Scientific Claim
  • What's the claim?
  • Who says?
  • What's the evidence?
  • How did they get the evidence?
  • Is there anything (or anyone) to back up this claim?
  • Could there be another explanation?
  • Who cares?
15 Dec 2016

What is the easiest science question? ›

These simple answers are easy to understand, but tackle real science concepts to answer the how and why of our world.
  • Why is the sky blue? ...
  • How much does the earth weigh? ...
  • How far away is the sun? ...
  • What is a black hole? ...
  • How do airplanes fly? ...
  • How do flies walk on the ceiling? ...
  • How are rainbows made? ...
  • Are sharks mammals?

What are the 10 hardest questions in the world? ›

Here are the hardest questions in the world:
  • Does true love exist? This is one of the most controversial and frequently asked life questions. ...
  • Is there life after death? ...
  • Should abortion be allowed? ...
  • What is the purpose of life? ...
  • Why is there hatred in the world? ...
  • Does he or she love me?
10 Aug 2022

What can science not do? ›

Science has limits: A few things that science does not do
  • Science doesn't make moral judgments.
  • Science doesn't make aesthetic judgments.
  • Science doesn't tell you how to use scientific knowledge.
  • Science doesn't draw conclusions about supernatural explanations.

What are some weird science questions? ›

The top ten most bizarre science based questions revealed
  • Can a coin falling from the top of the Empire State Building kill you? ? ...
  • How can you survive a lightning strike? ? ...
  • Could a person survive in a falling lift if they jumped as it hits the ground? ? ...
  • Could 'poo power' help heat the country? ?

What are 21 questions to ask? ›

21 Questions List
  • What's the weirdest dream you've ever had?
  • If you could travel to any year in a time machine, what year would you choose and why?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  • What's one of the most fun childhood memories you have?
5 May 2021

What are the top 5 powerful questions? ›

Powerful questions are eye-opening, supportive, and even provocative.
...
The Top 5 Most Powerful Leadership Questions
  • What life experience has most shaped who you are? ...
  • What makes it all worthwhile to you? ...
  • Where do you have the most impact? ...
  • What stands between you and where you want to go? ...
  • How are you?
1 Feb 2021

What are 5 random questions? ›

Random questions to ask your friends
  • What song was or do you want to be the your first dance at your wedding?
  • What song would make the best theme music for you?
  • What is the most irrational superstition you have?
  • What is the weirdest food combination you enjoy?
  • What is the stupidest thing you ever did on a dare?
3 Jun 2022

What is the hardest object in the universe? ›

Summary: A team of scientists has calculated the strength of the material deep inside the crust of neutron stars and found it to be the strongest known material in the universe.

What was Einstein's famous question? ›

One more bit of Einstein/questioning lore: From my understanding, Einstein's theory of relativity began with an early “beautiful question” he posed, along the lines of “What if I rode a beam of light across the universe?” and then set out to answer.

What is the best example of a testable question? ›

(E.g., How does changing the type of soil affect the height of tomato plants?; How does changing the temperature of soil affect the number of tomato seeds that germinate?) Testable question.

What are the 3 big questions of life? ›

For as long as human beings have inhabited the planet Earth, we have been searching for answers to the same three big questions: (1) Where did we come from? (2) Is there life after death? (3) What is the meaning of life?

What are the 4 questions of life? ›

The Four Great Questions of Life: Who Am I? Where Do I Come From? What Is My Purpose? Where Am I Going?

What are the big 6 questions? ›

The Big6 is a process model of how people of all ages solve an information problem. o What is my current task? o What are some topics or questions I need to answer? o What information will I need? o What are all the possible sources to check? o What are the best sources of information for this task?

What is a never ending question? ›

“What is it?” This is a fundamental question that appears obviously simple to ask, but quite often is painstakingly difficult to answer. How do we know what something is?

What is a unanswerable question? ›

If you describe a question as unanswerable, you mean that it has no possible answer or that a particular person cannot possibly answer it. They would ask their mother unanswerable questions. Synonyms: insoluble, unexplainable, unresolvable, unascertainable More Synonyms of unanswerable. adjective.

What is a question no one can answer? ›

Which came first: the sun or the earth? Is the opposite of opposite the same or opposite? Why is there a fridge light but no freezer light? Does a staircase go up or down?

What is the most powerful question? ›

John-Paul told us that the three most powerful questions he knows are: “What do you want?” “What are you most afraid of?” “And how do I know that you will do it?” (i.e. what does success literally look like?)

What is the hardest question in space? ›

We exist. It doesn't matter why, we just do.
...
Here's what Duncan told us when we asked him 10 of the most difficult space questions we could think of.
  • How old is the universe? ...
  • Why is the universe expanding? ...
  • Why did the Big Bang take place? ...
  • How and when will the universe end?
15 Mar 2016

What is the hardest question in chemistry? ›

Answer: which has more calories : table sugar or aspartame ? what does synthetic gas (water gas) consist of ?

Did you know facts in science? ›

Some Amazing Science Facts
  • The oceans produce the majority of the oxygen on Earth. ...
  • Soil is full of life. ...
  • Bananas are radioactive. ...
  • Water can exist in three states at the same time. ...
  • Helium has the ability to work against gravity. ...
  • Humans have inherited genes from other species. ...
  • Human Body. ...
  • Animals and Insects.

What is the hardest science ever? ›

Physics. Generally, physics is often deemed to be the hardest of all the sciences, especially as an A level qualification. Physics involves a lot of complex maths content – an aspect that most students struggle with.

What is the hardest question in physics? ›

The biggest unsolved problem in fundamental physics is how gravity and the quantum will be made to coexist within the same theory. Quantum Gravity [1] is required to make the whole of physics logically consistent.

What's the answer to 52 on impossible quiz? ›

The answer in this case is "Hello Score", since Splapp-Me-Do is greeting the Score, so you should be polite as well and greet it by saying "Hello"!

Is life a science? ›

The life sciences comprise fields of science involving the study of living organisms such as plants, animals and humans. While biology remains the centerpiece of the life sciences, technological advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of specializations and new interdisciplinary fields.

Can science solve all? ›

Science can not solve all of our problems. While scientific understanding can help battle things like disease, hunger, and poverty when applied properly, it does not do so completely and automatically.

Does science explain love? ›

High levels of dopamine and a related hormone, norepinephrine, are released during attraction. These chemicals make us giddy, energetic, and euphoric, even leading to decreased appetite and insomnia – which means you actually can be so “in love” that you can't eat and can't sleep.

What is the craziest science fact? ›

Hot water freezes faster than cold water

This may seem counterintuitive, but it's called the Mpemba effect. Scientists now believe this is because the velocities of water particles have a specific disposition while they're hot that allows them to freeze more readily.

What is the hardest question to ask? ›

Answered! Life's 25 Toughest Questions
  1. Can love really last a lifetime? ...
  2. Why do married folks begin to look like one another? ...
  3. Can a marriage survive betrayal? ...
  4. Why does summer zoom by and winter drag on forever? ...
  5. Do animals really have a sixth sense? ...
  6. Why does the line you're in always move the slowest?
23 Nov 2010

What is the biggest challenge in science? ›

All research requires financial support, and the struggle to find and maintain funding has long been the central obstacle most scientists face in their careers.

What is a good question for science? ›

A good scientific question should be objective and testable. It may be a verification question, theory question, or experimental question. A scientific question should be narrow enough to answer with data gathered by observation or testing. It should not be a question about opinion.

What are the world's biggest questions? ›

Clearly some questions are more crucial than others. These are the big five!
...
  • Origin – Where did I come from? ...
  • Identity – Who am I? ...
  • Purpose – Why am I here? ...
  • Morality – How should we live? ...
  • Destiny – Where are we going?
8 Nov 2018

What problems Cannot be solved by science? ›

Love, hate, relationships, poetry, art, music, literature, and spirituality are all outside the realm of science. Any problems that arise in these areas cannot be completely solved by science.

What are 3 challenges lot is currently facing? ›

The Internet Of Things has been facing many areas like Information Technology, Healthcare, Data Analytics and Agriculture. The main focus is on protecting privacy as it is the primary reason for other challenges including government participation.

What are the 6 questions of biology? ›

These two huge questions have been subdivided into six general questions scrutinized by developmental biologists:
  • The question of differentiation. ...
  • The question of morphogenesis. ...
  • The question of growth. ...
  • The question of reproduction. ...
  • The question of evolution. ...
  • The question of environmental integration.

What is science very easy answer? ›

Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence. Scientific methodology includes the following: Objective observation: Measurement and data (possibly although not necessarily using mathematics as a tool)

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