So Much More to Know …   (from Science Journal)


From the nature of the cosmos to the nature of societies, the following100 questions span the sciences. Some are pieces of questions discussedabove; others are big questions in their own right. Some will drivescientific inquiry for the next century; others may soon be answered.Many will undoubtedly spawn new questions.



A number of quantum theorists and cosmologists are trying to figure outwhether our universe is part of a bigger "multiverse." But otherssuspect that this hard-to-test idea may be a question for philosophers.


BL: Antwort in




In the first moments after the big bang, the universe blew up at anincredible rate, so daß es heute viel grösser ist als der für uns sichtbare Teil. But what did the blowing? Measurements of the cosmicmicrowave background and other astrophysical observations are narrowingthe possibilities.


BL: die Antwort könnte durch Tetronen, also meine Idee für die Subkonstituenten von Quarks und Leptonen beeinflusst werden. Insbesondere müßte es gelingen, auf das ziemlich merkwürdige Inflatonfeld zu verzichten. Das Problem aller symmetriebrechenden Skalarfelder: sie sind nur eine Platzhalter für die wahre Ursache.




The broad brush strokes are visible, but the fine details aren't. Datafrom satellites and ground-based telescopes may soon help pinpoint,among other particulars, when the first generation of stars burned offthe hydrogen "fog" that filled the universe.


BL: unwichtig



Above a certain energy, cosmic rays don't travel very far before beingdestroyed. So why are cosmic-ray hunters spotting such rays with noobvious source within our galaxy?


BL: tendiere dazu, es für unwichtig zu halten. Wahrscheinlich ein Effekt von der Qualität Pulsar, die heute als rotierende schwarze Löcher interpretiert werden, nichts Fundamentales



The mightiest energy fountains in the universe probably get their powerfrom matter plunging into whirling supermassive black holes. But thedetails of what drives their jets remain anybody's guess.


BL: nach einer alten Vorstellung von mir entstehen Quasare, wenn an den Rändern des Universums Materie in anderes Vakuum eintritt und zerstrahlt. (im inflationären Modell ist das Universum aber viel grösser als das Sichtbare) Ist vielleicht nicht zu halten, aber wenns supermassive black holes sind, ist die Frage im wesentlichen ja erledigt.



Relativistic mass crammed into a quantum-sized object? It's a recipe fordisaster--and scientists are still trying to figure out the ingredients.


BL: sind blck holes wirklich ungelöst?



To a particle physicist, matter and antimatter are almost the same. Somesubtle difference must explain why matter is common and antimatter rare.


BL: ist eine falsch gestellte Frage; hat sich beim bigbang so eingestellt



In a theory of everything, quarks (which make up protons) should somehowbe convertible to leptons (such as electrons)--so catching a protondecaying into something else might reveal new laws of particle physics.


BL: ebenfalls keine gute Frage, da das proton ‘so gut wie’ stabil ist.



It clashes with quantum theory. It doesn't fit in the Standard Model.Nobody has spotted the particle that is responsible for it. Newton'sapple contained a whole can of worms.


BL: Es gibt kein Graviton. Gravitation stellt nur die Mannigfalitgkeit, in der sich die Teilchen bewegen.



It took millennia for scientists to realize that time is a dimension,like the three spatial dimensions, and that time and space areinextricably linked. The equations make sense, but they don't satisfythose who ask why we perceive a "now" or why time seems to flow the wayit does.


BL: Zeit ist nur ‘effektiv’ eine Koordinate. In Wirklichkeit, wie Boltzmann lehrt, wird sie durch die Zunahme der Entropie definiert



Atoms were "uncuttable." Then scientists discovered protons, neutrons,and other subatomic particles--which were, in turn, shown to be made upof quarks and gluons. Is there something more fundamental still?


BL: die Antwort heisst Tetrons



Nobody knows this basic fact about neutrinos, although a number ofunderground experiments are under way. Answering this question may be acrucial step to understanding the origin of matter in the universe.


BL:Nein, höchstwahrscheinlich nicht. Falls die Experimente was anderes ergeben, kann man anfangen, darüber nachzudenken. Allerdings ist Majorana oder nicht so eine ähnliche Frage wie Grösse der kosm Konstante oder Matter-Antimatter Überschuss, dh evtl ähnlich sinnlos



High-temperature superconductors and materials with giant and colossalmagnetoresistance are all governed by the collective rather thanindividual behavior of electrons. There is currently no common frameworkfor understanding them.


BL: an dem Problem arbeiten zu viele Festkörperphysiker, als dass es für mich interessant sein könnte



Theorists say an intense enough laser field would rip photons intoelectron-positron pairs, dousing the beam. But no one knows whether it'spossible to reach that point.


BL: unwichtig



They've done it with microwaves but never with visible light.





Such devices have been demonstrated at low temperatures but not yet in arange warm enough for spintronics applications.





Electrons in superconductors surf together in pairs. After 2 decades ofintense study, no one knows what holds them together in the complex,high-temperature materials.





So far, such "nonequilibrium systems" defy the tool kit of statisticalmechanics, and the failure leaves a gaping hole in physics.


BL:Frage der nicht-Gleichgewichtssysteme.  Arbeiten zuviele Statistiker dran



A superheavy element with 184 neutrons and 114 protons should berelatively stable, if physicists can create it.


BL:unwichtig, da die WW zwischen Protonen und Neutronen selber nur eine sekundäre ist



Despite hints in solid helium, nobody is sure whether a crystallinematerial can flow without resistance. If new types of experiments showthat such outlandish behavior is possible, theorists would have toexplain how.


BL: unwichtig



Researchers continue to tussle over how many bonds each H2O moleculemakes with its nearest neighbors.


BL: zu spezielle Frage, unwichtig



Molecules in a glass are arranged much like those in liquids but aremore tightly packed. Where and why does liquid end and glass begin?





The larger synthetic molecules get, the harder it is to control theirshapes and make enough copies of them to be useful. Chemists will neednew tools to keep their creations growing.


BL:unwichtig, zu technisch



Conventional solar cells top out at converting 32% of the energy insunlight to electricity. Can researchers break through the barrier?


BL:zu technisch, kann ich nicht lösen



It's been 35 years away for about 50 years, and unless the internationalcommunity gets its act together, it'll be 35 years away for many decadesto come.


BL:zu technisch, kann ich nicht lösen



Scientists believe differing rates of rotation from place to place onthe sun underlie its 22-year sunspot cycle. They just can't make it workin their simulations. Either a detail is askew, or it's back to thedrawing board.





How bits of dust and ice and gobs of gas came together to form theplanets without the sun devouring them all is still unclear. Planetarysystems around other stars should provide clues.


BL: also intuitiv ist das nicht son grosses Problem…



Something about the way the planet tilts, wobbles, and careens aroundthe sun presumably brings on ice ages every 100,000 years or so, butreams of climate records haven't explained exactly how.


BL: eigentlich klar, dass es gewisse Temperaturschwankungen geben muss, eher erstaunlich, dass die nicht viel grösser sind…



Computer models and laboratory experiments are generating new data onhow Earth's magnetic poles might flip-flop. The trick will be matchingsimulations to enough aspects of the magnetic field beyond theinaccessible core to build a convincing case.


BL: unwichtig



Prospects for finding signs of an imminent quake have been waning sincethe 1970s. Understanding faults will progress, but routine predictionwould require an as-yet-unimagined breakthrough.


BL: für mich unlösbar



The search for life--past or present--on other planetary bodies nowdrives NASA's planetary exploration program, which focuses on Mars,where water abounded when life might have first arisen.


BL: 100% nein; in der Milchstrasse: 100% ja



Most biomolecules can be synthesized in mirror-image shapes. Yet inorganisms, amino acids are always left-handed, and sugars are alwaysright-handed. The origins of this preference remain a mystery.


BL Vermutung: Einerseits spontane Symmetriebrechung, andererseits passen nur entgegengesetzte zucker und Proteine zueinander.



Out of a near infinitude of possible ways to fold, a protein picks one in just tens of microseconds. The same task takes 30 years of computertime.


BL: wie wichtig ist das?



It has been hard enough counting genes. Proteins can be spliced indifferent ways and decorated with numerous functional groups, all ofwhich makes counting their numbers impossible for now.


BL: unwichtig



Protein-protein interactions are at the heart of life. To understand howpartners come together in precise orientations in seconds, researchersneed to know more about the cell's biochemistry and structuralorganization.


BL hängt mit dem Foldingproblem zusammen



In the 1970s, apoptosis was finally recognized as distinct from necrosis. Some biologists now argue that the cell death story is evenmore complicated. Identifying new ways cells die could lead to bettertreatments for cancer and degenerative diseases.


BL: warum soll es nicht andere Formen geben? Schwierig und nicht ganz so wichtig



Membranes inside cells transport key nutrients around, and through,various cell compartments without sticking to each other or losing theirway. Insights into how membranes stay on track could help conquerdiseases, such as cystic fibrosis.


BL: die Frage ist: wie arbeiten Zellmembranen. Zu speziell für mich.



Centrosomes, which help pull apart paired chromosomes, and otherorganelles replicate on their own time, without DNA's guidance. Thisindependence still defies explanation.


BL: randständige Frage. Und: Was sind überhaupt Centrosomen?



RNA is turning out to play a dizzying assortment of roles, frompotentially passing genetic information to offspring to muting geneexpression. Scientists are scrambling to decipher this versatilemolecule.


BL: was heisst: offspring to muting geneexpression? Versatilemolecule? Wie sollte ich rauskriegen, wofür RNA dient?



These chromosome features will remain mysteries until new technologies can sequence them.


BL: was sind telomeres and centromeres? Für mich wohl unlösbar



The puffer fish genome is 400 million bases; one lungfish's is 133billion bases long. Repetitive and duplicated DNA don't explain why thisand other size differences exist.


BL: hängt wohl mit dem Junk Problem zusammen



DNA between genes is proving important for genome function and theevolution of new species. Comparative sequencing, microarray studies,and lab work are helping genomicists find a multitude of genetic gemsamid the junk.


BL: entwicklungsgeschichtlich bedingt



New tools and conceptual breakthroughs are driving the cost of DNAsequencing down by orders of magnitude. The reductions are enablingresearch from personalized medicine to evolutionary biology to thrive.


BL: unwichtig



A person's right and left legs almost always end up the same length, andthe hearts of mice and elephants each fit the proper rib cage. How genesset limits on cell size and number continues to mystify.


BL: interessiert mich nicht so, hängt auch mit Alterung usw zusammen, alles komplizierte Steuerungsprozesse komplexer Systeme



Researchers are finding ever more examples of this process, called epigenetics, but they can't explain what causes and preserves thechanges.


BL: weiss nicht, was das ist



Whirling cilia help an embryo tell its left from its right, butscientists are still looking for the first factors that give arelatively uniform ball of cells a head, tail, front, and back.


BL: für mich nicht interessant



The genes that determine the length of a nose or the breadth of a wingare subject to natural and sexual selection. Understanding how selectionworks could lead to new ideas about the mechanics of evolution withrespect to development.


BL: für mich nicht interessant



Nutrition--including that received in utero--seems to help set thismysterious biological clock, but no one knows exactly what forceschildhood to end.


BL: für mich nicht interessant



The most aggressive cancer cells look a lot like stem cells. If cancersare caused by stem cells gone awry, studies of a cell's "stemness" maylead to tools that could catch tumors sooner and destroy them moreeffectively.


BL: weiss ich nicht genug drüber



Although our immune responses can suppress tumor growth, tumor cells cancombat those responses with counter-measures. This defense can stymieresearchers hoping to develop immune therapies against cancer.


BL: zu wischi-waschi Problem



Drugs that cut off a tumor's fuel supplies--say, by stoppingblood-vessel growth--can safely check or even reverse tumor growth. Buthow long the drugs remain effective is still unknown.


BL: eine mehr ingenieursmässige Frage



It's a driver of arthritis, but cancer and heart disease? More and more,the answer seems to be yes, and the question remains why and how.


BL: Bakterien als Ursache und schlechte Antwort des Immunsystems



Even if one accepts that prions are just misfolded proteins, manymysteries remain. How can they go from the gut (Darm) to the brain, and how dothey kill cells once there, for example.


BL: das Faltungsproblem der Proteine



This system predates the vertebrate adaptive immune response. Itsrelative importance is unclear, but immunologists are working to findout.


BL: für mich nicht interessant



Yes, say a few prominent thinkers, but experiments with mice nowchallenge the theory. Putting the debate to rest would require provingthat something is not there, so the question likely will not go away.


BL: keine gut gestellte sondern eine larifari Frage  





Recent evidence suggests that the mother's immune system doesn't"realize" that the fetus is foreign even though it gets half its genesfrom the father. Yet just as Nobelist Peter Medawar said when he firstraised this question in 1952, "the verdict has yet to be returned."


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



Circadian clock genes have popped up in all types of creatures and inmany parts of the body. Now the challenge is figuring out how all thegears fit together and what keeps the clocks set to the same time.


BL: was ist Circadian clock?



Birds, butterflies, and whales make annual journeys of thousands ofkilometers. They rely on cues such as stars and magnetic fields, but thedetails remain unclear.


BL: für mich nicht interessant



A sound slumber may refresh muscles and organs or keep animals safe fromdangers lurking in the dark. But the real secret of sleep probablyresides in the brain, which is anything but still while we're snoringaway.


BL: für mich nicht interessant



Freud thought dreaming provides an outlet for our unconscious desires.Now, neuroscientists suspect that brain activity during REM sleep--whendreams occur--is crucial for learning. Is the experience of dreamingjust a side effect?


BL: für mich nicht interessant; wahrscheinlich kann das Gehirn gar nicht anders, als Eindrücken einen Weg zu geben



Monitoring brain activity in young children--including infants--may shedlight on why children pick up languages with ease while adults oftenstruggle to learn train station basics in a foreign tongue.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, hängt mit Entwicklung des Gehirns zusammen



Many animals use airborne chemicals to communicate, particularly whenmating. Controversial studies have hinted that humans too usepheromones. Identifying them will be key to assessing their sway on oursocial lives.


BL: für mich nicht interessant



Scientists are chipping away at the drugs' effects on individualneurons, but understanding how they render us unconscious will be atougher nut to crack.


BL: für mich nicht interessant



Researchers are trying to track down genes involved in this disorder.Clues may also come from research on traits schizophrenics share withnormal people.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



Many genes probably contribute to this baffling disorder, as well as unknown environmental factors. A biomarker for early diagnosis wouldhelp improve existing therapy, but a cure is a distant hope.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



A 5- to 10-year delay in this late-onset disease would improve old age for millions. Researchers are determining whether treatments withhormones or antioxidants, or mental and physical exercise, will help.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



Addiction involves the disruption of the brain's reward circuitry. Butpersonality traits such as impulsivity and sensation-seeking also play apart in this complex behavior.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



That question has long puzzled philosophers; now some neuroscientiststhink brain imaging will reveal circuits involved in reasoning.


BL: wahrscheinlich ja, wie viele andere Sachen, Mut, Schüchternheit usw, ob jemand eher ein Arbeitstier oder ein Anführer ist, besonders auch alles, was mit Kommunikation und Sprache zusammenhängt. Einer der aus dem Stegreif eine Rede halten (andere vollblubbern kann)



Computers can already beat the world's best chess players, and they havea wealth of information on the Web to draw on. But abstract reasoning isstill beyond any machine.


BL: no limits, jedenfalls keine unterhalb des menschlichen Niveaus. Vorteil des Menschen: er steuert die Richtung seiner Gedanken über seine Emotionen. Die Frage ist also her: können Computer Emotionen haben?



Aspects of personality are influenced by genes; environment modifies thegenetic effects. The relative contributions remain under debate.


BL: siehe meine Kommentare zur Moralfrage 2 Punkte weiter oben



Much of the "environmental" contribution to homosexuality may occurbefore birth in the form of prenatal hormones, so answering thisquestion will require more than just the hunt for "gay genes."


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



Despite better morphological, molecular, and statistical methods,researchers' trees don't agree. Expect greater, but not complete,consensus.


BL: weil die Frage der Arten durch die Vielfalt der Gene eher ein Kontinuum ausmacht als einen Baum mit diskreten Knoten



Count all the stars in the sky? Impossible. Count all the species onEarth? Ditto. But the biodiversity crisis demands that we try.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



A "simple" concept that's been muddied by evolutionary data; a cleardefinition may be a long time in coming.


BL: 2 aus einer Art können nichtsterile Kinder bekommen, ansonsten siehe 2 Fragen weiter oben



Once considered rare, gene swapping, particularly among microbes, isproving quite common. But why and how genes are so mobile--and theeffect on fitness--remains to be determined.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



Ideas about the origin of the 1.5-billion-year-old "mother" of allcomplex organisms abound. The continued discovery of primitive microbes,along with comparative genomics, should help resolve life's deep past.


BL: eine Idealisierung, wie die urmutter des Menschen



Darwin called this question an "abominable mystery." Flowers arose inthe cycads and conifers, but the details of their evolution remainobscure.


BL: keine wirklich gut gestellte Frage



Cellulose and pectin walls surround cells, keeping water in andsupporting tall trees. The biochemistry holds the secrets to turning itsbiomass into fuel.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



Redwoods grow to be hundreds of meters tall, Arctic willows barely 10centimeters. Understanding the difference could lead to higher-yieldingcrops.


BL: Gegenfrage, warum Tierarten so unterschiedlich alt werden



Plants can mount a general immune response, but they also maintainmolecular snipers that take out specific pathogens. Plant pathologistsare asking why different species, even closely related ones, havedifferent sets of defenders. The answer could result in hardier crops.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



We need crops that better withstand drought, cold, and other stresses.But there are so many genes involved, in complex interactions, that noone has yet figured out which ones work how.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



A huge impact did in the dinosaurs, but the search for othercatastrophic triggers of extinction has had no luck so far. If moresubtle or stealthy culprits are to blame, they will take considerablylonger to find.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



Finding cost-effective and politically feasible ways to save manyendangered species requires creative thinking.


BL: keine naturwissenschaftliche Frage, sondern eine politische



Dinosaurs reached almost unimaginable sizes, some in less than 20 years.But how did the long-necked sauropods, for instance, eat enough to packon up to 100 tons without denuding their world?


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



To anticipate the effects of the intensifying greenhouse, climatemodelers will have to focus on regional changes and ecologists on theright combination of environmental changes.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage  



The new dwarf human species fossil from Indonesia suggests that at leastfour kinds of humans thrived in the past 100,000 years. Better dates andadditional material will help confirm or revise this picture.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



Did Homo sapiens acquire abstract thought, language, and art graduallyor in a cultural "big bang," which in Europe occurred about 40,000 yearsago? Data from Africa, where our species arose, may hold the key to theanswer.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



No animal comes close to having humans' ability to build on previousdiscoveries and pass the improvements on. What determines thosedifferences could help us understand how human culture evolved.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



Neuroscientists exploring how we speak and make music are just beginningto find clues as to how these prized abilities arose.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur  



Anthropologists have long argued that race lacks biological reality. Butour genetic makeup does vary with geographic origin and as such raisespolitical and ethical as well as scientific questions.


BL: für mich nicht interessant, keine fundamentale Frage der Natur



From Norway to Nigeria, living standards across countries varyenormously, and they're not becoming more equal.


BL: siehe Frage über saharanAfrica



The United States could provide a test case.


BL: es könnte eines Tages eine harte Landung geben. Bei guter Steuerung können Staatsschulden aber auch über eine moderate Inflation abgebaut werden.



China may provide one answer.


BL: total falsch gestellte Frage



Almost all efforts to reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa have failed.Figuring out what will work is crucial to alleviating massive humansuffering.


BL: sie haben keine etablierten Zivilsysteme, die als gute Rahmenbedingungen für den Kapitalismus dienen könnten. Warum nicht?  






The following six mathematics questions are drawn from a list of sevenoutstanding problems selected by the Clay Mathematics Institute.For more details, go to



Equations of the form y2 = x3 ax b are powerful mathematical tools. TheBirch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture tells how to determine how manysolutions they have in the realm of rational numbers--information thatcould solve a host of problems, if the conjecture is true.


BL: zu speziell für mich



Two useful mathematical structures arose independently in geometry andin abstract algebra. The Hodge conjecture posits a surprising linkbetween them, but the bridge remains to be built.


BL:mir ist nicht klar, ob das wichtige Konsequenzen hätte



First written down in the 1840s, the equations hold the keys tounderstanding both smooth and turbulent flow. To harness them, though,theorists must find out exactly when they work and under what conditionsthey break down.


BL: Flüsse sind kein fundamentales Thema



You can tie a string around a doughnut, but it will slide right off asphere. The mathematical principle behind that observation can reliablyspot every spherelike object in 3D space. Henri Poincaré conjecturedthat it should also work in the next dimension up, but no one has provedit yet.


BL: unwichtig



Don't sweat the details. Since the mid-19th century, the "Riemannhypothesis" has been the monster catfish in mathematicians' pond. Iftrue, it will give them a wealth of information about the distributionof prime numbers and other long-standing mysteries.

BL: davon habe ich leider keine Ahnung



For almost 50 years, the model has rested on "quantum Yang-Millstheory," which links the behavior of particles to structures found ingeometry. The theory is breathtakingly elegant and useful--but no onehas proved that it's sound.


BL: keine wichtige Frage, da Yang-Mills wahrscheinlich selber nur eine effektive Theorie