Streams

What Keeps Physicists Awake at Night?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Clara Moskowitz, an associate editor at Scientific American, talks about  the things that particle physicists most want answers to. Her article "5 Unanswered Questions That Will Keep Physicists Awake at Night” appears on Scientific American’s Observation blog.

Guests:

Clara Moskowitz

Comments [10]

Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

@ Amy from Manhattan: Maybe Steve Jobs recommended that we keep our communication software proprietary, so extraterrestrials can't hack in and contact us...

Oct. 30 2013 02:03 PM
Amy from Manhattan

antonio, maybe we & they just don't have the technology to find each other yet. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) hasn't been going on all that long (at least on this planet). If there were an alien civilization whose signals went out 20 million years ago from a planet 50 million light-years away, they wouldn't reach us for another 30 million years, & if there was still intelligent life on Earth then, our answer would take 50 million years to get back to them. And the aliens themselves couldn't travel faster than light to get here.

Oct. 30 2013 02:00 PM
Amy from Manhattan

If there had been more antimatter left after it & matter mostly annihilated each other, maybe everything larger than a subatomic particle, including us, would be made of antimatter. Then we'd probably call it "matter," & we'd be asking the same question!

Oct. 30 2013 01:51 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Leonard: The answer is 42.

Oct. 30 2013 01:50 PM
Michael from East Meadow

The radius of the universe is at least 46 billion light years. The big bang occurred approx. 14 billion years ago. How is this possible if objects cannot move faster than the speed of light?

Oct. 30 2013 01:48 PM
Amy from Manhattan

If the Higgs boson gives particles mass, & it has mass itself, does it give itself mass? If so, is that the physics equivalent of a circular definition?

Oct. 30 2013 01:44 PM
antonio from baySide

Considering the drake equation and the age of the universe, where are the ETs? Are they in another plane?
I shudder if the universe is made up of just us hairless apes!

Oct. 30 2013 01:43 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

It all points to GOD, the General Operational Director who designed this perplexing mess.

Oct. 30 2013 01:43 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Does the life cycle of stars (after their initial creation) depend somehow on their being part of a galaxy? Does it really matter for an existing star & its planetary system if its "neighborhood" becomes dispersed? Will gas clouds that would coalesce into stars become too diffuse to form new stars?

Oct. 30 2013 01:41 PM
Ed from Larchmont

I would imagine that one of them would be the different varieties of string theory. If there is a theory that implies that the physical world has 12 dimensions, I would bet on that one.

Oct. 30 2013 08:24 AM

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