Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries in Physics

Unsolved Mysteries in Physics

If it exists then it can certainly be measured and explained. Physics finds facts, or as near to facts as possible. One of the most interesting facts, however, is that physics is imperfect, as there are several unsolved problems that keep us stumped – 10 to be exact.

  1. Not everything can be measured, especially the aspects of the dawn of time and the universe

Einstein pondered this issue carefully and posed some thought-provoking questions to himself. “If there is a God”, he wondered, “How did he decide the measurements of the speed of light or decide how much charge was needed by an electron?” Einstein also wanted to know, “What is the significance of Planck’s Constant, a parameter determining size of quanta?

He wondered if measurements came into existence by chance. If there was more to this than chance, maybe the measurements were part of a divine and logical plan.

Alpha is the reason for these ponderings. Alpha is a pure number, slightly lower than 1/137 and calculated using Planck’s constant. Physicists have yet to understand why “alpha” is not an exact number. This remains a mystery.

  1. Mysteries of the proton elude the best of us

Are protons immortal? Some think they are, but during numerous experiments, scientists have never managed to get certain results. Under special circumstances, protons break down, but this is rare.

Does this mean that protons never die? Maybe it does or maybe the lifespan is just unimaginable. We have yet to discover the truth.

  1. Why is time singular and dimensions numerous?

Scientists think there are at least 6 notable dimensions while the string theory suggests there are 10 dimensions to note. The argument says that the dimensions cannot be detected because they are too small – just small enough to curl in on themselves, virtually invisible. Time, on the other hand, is singular and we are accustomed to only living in 3 known dimensions. Although we are used to this theory, we just cannot stop thinking about the other dimensions and wondering how we live up and down, side to side and all around in multiple planes of existence.

  1. Here is the origin of the universe, brought to you by Quantum Gravity

Okay, the original idea was this: The Big Bang theory was part of the standard model of Quantum Mechanics. This is one idea. Another theory involved The Theory of Gravity. Two distinct theories, each with a possibility of being the true theory of existence, are equipped with enough viable ideas to turn anyone into a believer. What if these theories could be combined?

This is exactly what scientists think we need to know the truth. Quantum Mechanics and the Law of Gravity combined create Quantum Gravity which paves the way for the Superstring Theory, the mother of all theories. We need more evidence.

  1. We need to understand quark and gluon confinement in chromodynamics

Quarks, like protons and neutrons, are bound together. Within Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory that explains nuclear energy, it is believed that sub-particles are permanently confined. This may sound straightforward, but it is not conclusive. Scientists have yet to prove that these sub-particles can never escape. This is derived from the fact that as force grows stronger, the further the particle is pulled outward. These ideas also give credibility to the particles containing mass. As mass is needed to create such a strong resistance.

  1. Is gravity a contender to electromagnetism?

At first you may think that gravity is weaker than electromagnetism – proof with magnets versus the force of gravity. This may sound conclusive, but second thought proves otherwise.

Suppose we are living in a world with at least 10 dimensions. This means that some of the gravity is trapped in dimensions we cannot see. If all gravity resided in one dimension, we could create those tiny black holes. I am sure you have heard of mini black holes, right? Gravity still reigns champion it seems.

  1. We want to understand the M-theory and its superstring components

There are 5 versions of the superstring theory. Why is this a problem? The problem is that one of these theories describes the universe, or at least that is the consensus. Instead of trying to figure out which version is the true one, scientists theorize that the rivals are part of the 11-dimensional M-Theory. This idea adds strange and new objects like “branes”, or nine-dimensional membranes. With this being said, are superstrings part of branes or the other way round?

Should we break it down further? Are there smaller objects within the structure of the M-theory?

  1. Black holes and basic information — a paradox

black hole solar systemCan you make information disappear into a black hole? There are many ways to make information — words, codes or digits disappear. The thing is, information is usually stored elsewhere in an identical format. Physicists Stephen Hawking, John Preskill, and Kip Thorne bet that the information is indeed completely swallowed by a black hole. It doesn’t vanish, however; it is projected engraved into the surface of the black hole, displayed as a picture.

  1. Accelerated expansion detected with the cosmological constant

The expansion adds more mystery to the laws of physics. It seems that our universe is not growing consistently, but faster and faster. We are also unsure of the cosmological constant. It was basic zero in the recent past, now it is surmised that the number could be tiny. Calculations suggest that the number should be much larger than zero, and the universe should be growing in huge proportions. Something is suppressing the universe. Instead of the universe being supersymmetric with no number, it is symmetric — a large number is expected — but calculations say it is small. If the number varied, it would be an even stranger mystery.

  1. How is supersymmetry broken? Is nature supersymmetric?

A  supersymmetric universe means bringing unity to all forces — gravity is one. This theory suggests that every particle has a twin. The building blocks of existence are fermions like neutrons, protons, and electrons. Other particles, responsible for force, for example, the Boson particle, are also light carriers. Physicists name some of these particle twins: the electron-selectron, the photon-photino and so on. These “sparticles” are considered super partners. Since these “sparticles” have not been seen in nature, the symmetry is broken.

In conclusion, some things remain unsolved mysteries in physics and they should. As with all things, we don’t have to understand to appreciate the complexity and beauty of existence. This doesn’t mean we will stop looking and striving toward our destination. It just means we shall enjoy the journey as much as the answer.

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Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.

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Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries in Physics