Friday, July 23, 2010

Big questions in science

To mark its 125th anniversary in 2005, the journal Science highlighted 125 big questions. The ones in the top 25 that relate most to this blog are:

In the following 100 there is:

Is there a unified theory explaining all correlated electron systems?

Is it possible to create magnetic semiconductors that work at room temperature?

What is the pairing mechanism behind high-temperature superconductivity?

Can we develop a general theory of the dynamics of turbulent flows and the motion of granular materials?

Is superfluidity possible in a solid? If so, how?

What is the structure of water?

What is the nature of the glassy state?

Are there limits to rational chemical synthesis?

What is the ultimate efficiency of photovoltaic cells?

Can we predict how proteins will fold?

Please scan the lists and let me know what should and should not be there.

1 comment:

  1. What a fun list. Physics dominated (in my subjective opinion), and the maths (as always) seem so solvable!

    I was sad that low dimensions were absent. Surely my field is the most important in physics... What about non-Abelian quasiparticles! Come on!

    Also - from those 25 essays, it looks like those working at Science are heavily weighted toward biological fields, no?