View Full Version : 13 Unsolved scientific puzzles

03-01-09, 07:26 PM
Author Michael Books has investigated some of the most puzzling anomalies of modern science, those intractrable problems that refuse to conform to the theories. Here he counts down the 13 strangest.

We can only account for 4 per cent of the cosmos
If you’re wondering what the LHC might do for you, how’s this: it might just find a whole quarter of the universe. The collider is hoping to create some particles of what physicists call “dark matter”, an enigma that is thought to make up roughly 25 per cent of the universe. Then there is the “dark energy”, a mysterious force that seems to be ripping space and time apart. In total, a whopping 96 per cent of the universe has gone AWOL. Unless, that is, we’ve got our maths all wrong. Watch this space.

2. THE PIONEER ANOMALY (http://www.planetary.org/programs/projects/pioneer_anomaly/%3E)
<!--#include file="m63-article-related-attachements.html"--><!-- BEGIN: Module - M63 - Article Related Attachements --><SCRIPT type=text/javascript><!--function pictureGalleryPopup(pubUrl,articleId) {var newWin = window.open(pubUrl+'template/2.0-0/element/pictureGalleryPopup.jsp?id='+articleId+'&&offset=0&&sectionName=Books','mywindow','menubar=0,resizable =0,width=1000,height=711');}//--></SCRIPT><!-- BEGIN: Comment Teaser Module --><!-- END: Comment Teaser Module --><!-- BEGIN: Module - M63 - Article Related Package --><!-- END: Module - M63 - Article Related Package -->Two spacecraft are flouting the laws of physics

In the 1970s NASA launched two space probes that have caused no end of headaches. About 10 years into the missions of Pioneer 10 and 11, the mission head admitted that they had drifted off course. In every year of travel, the probes veer 8000 miles further away from their intended trajectory. It is not much when you consider that they cover 219 million miles a year; the drift is around 10 billion times weaker than the Earth’s pull on your feet. Nonetheless, it is there, and decades of analysis have failed to find a straightforward reason for it. Times Archive: Pioneer 11 arrival at Saturn, 1974 (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/viewArticle.arc?articleId=ARCHIVE-The_Times-1974-04-11-10-001&pageId=ARCHIVE-The_Times-1974-04-11-10)

3. VARYING CONSTANTS (http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~mmurphy/res.html#basics)
Destabilising our view of the universe
A decade ago, we discovered that the fundamental constants of physics might not be so constant after all. These are the numbers that describe just how strong the forces of nature are, and make the laws of physics work when we use them to describe the processes of nature. Light that has travelled across the universe from distant stars tells us those laws might have been different in the past. Though the physical laws and constants have helped us define and tame the natural world, they might be an illusion.

4. COLD FUSION (http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2007/April/ColdFusionOnMenu.asp)
Nuclear energy without the drama
In 1989, the world was rocked by claims that you could release nuclear energy without a catastrophic explosion. Various failures to replicate or explain these results soon ended the careers of the scientists involved. But, despite what you might have heard, “cold fusion” never really went away. Over a 10-year period from 1989, US navy labs ran more than 200 experiments to investigate whether nuclear reactions generating more energy than they consume - supposedly only possible inside stars - can occur at room temperature. Numerous researchers have since pronounced themselves believers. With controllable cold fusion, many of the world's energy problems would melt away: no wonder the US Department of Energy is interested again.



03-01-09, 07:39 PM
#2. I never heard of.

That's pretty interesting, thanks!