Six unsolvable scientific puzzles

Over the past century, people have made tremendous progress in scientific and technological progress. We created technologies that changed our society. Scientific advances have helped us to answer fundamental questions about the world, but insoluble secrets still remain.

The journal Science Alert named six scientific riddles, which scientists could not resolve until the coming of 2018.

Why do we need a dream?

The answer seems very simple: because sleep helps us regain strength, recover and rest. However, countless attempts to find the main cause of human dependence on sleep produced no results.

Scientific research sheds some light on the stage of sleep and brain activity during sleep, but all these answers simply divide the main question into parts, complicating the puzzle.

Jerry Siegel, professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Neurobiology and Human Behavior at the University of Los Angeles, is studying sleeping animals to understand people. According to him, animals understand the need for sleep otherwise, because most people would not want to waste time on Morpheus’ arms. However, inaction is highly valued in nature. Bears, for example, and marmots, and lemurs, hibernating, can not live without sleeping: sleep for them is like a power saving mode for computers, explains Sigel.

Of course, there are other examples. African elephants sleep only two or three hours a day, because the rest of the time they need to provide their giant bodies with food and energy.

The theory of energy conservation is one of several that scientists operate on to explain why we sleep. Giulio Tononi, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, is convinced that sleep is the price we pay for tuition.

Experiments in mice showed that after sleep, the synapses in the brains of rodents were reduced. Tononi concluded that the reduction of connections indicates the consolidation of information absorbed during the wakefulness: during the day the brain is bombarded with various data, so it enhances the reception of information by the expansion of synapses. To assimilate all knowledge, these connections must be weakened. Sleep just allows it to happen.

There are other puzzles: why do some people know how to sleep soundly when someone makes a noise and others wake up from the slightest rustle? How exactly does consciousness generate dreams? Only one thing is quite clear: without sleep, we feel much worse.

What is dark matter and why can not we see it?

We do not know what it looks like, but it occupies more than 26% of the space of the known Universe. Dutch astronomer Jacobus Kaptein suggested the presence of dark matter in 1922 and since then science has not figured out what it is dealing with.

Most of the visible matter consists of neutrons, protons and electrons. Dark matter does not contain these elements, but consists of different types of particles that have not yet been classified. They interact with matter and light in a completely different way. Dark matter does not absorb and does not reflect light. Scientists determine its presence along the gravitational track.

The experiments of scientists from CERN brought us closer to an understanding of this phenomenon, at least nominally: the researchers are working to identify the material invisible to the eye by accelerating particles and studying the energy and momentum in the collision of particles at ultrahigh speeds.

Recent research shows that gravitational wave detectors can allow us to “see” dark matter. But this has not happened yet.

Why do we need a dream?

The answer seems very simple: because sleep helps us regain strength, recover and rest. However, countless attempts to find the main cause of human dependence on sleep produced no results.

Scientific research sheds some light on the stage of sleep and brain activity during sleep, but all these answers simply divide the main question into parts, complicating the puzzle.

Jerry Siegel, professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Neurobiology and Human Behavior at the University of Los Angeles, is studying sleeping animals to understand people. According to him, animals understand the need for sleep otherwise, because most people would not want to waste time on Morpheus’ arms. However, inaction is highly valued in nature. Bears, for example, and marmots, and lemurs, hibernating, can not live without sleeping: sleep for them is like a power saving mode for computers, explains Sigel.

Of course, there are other examples. African elephants sleep only two or three hours a day, because the rest of the time they need to provide their giant bodies with food and energy.

The theory of energy conservation is one of several that scientists operate on to explain why we sleep. Giulio Tononi, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, is convinced that sleep is the price we pay for tuition.

Experiments in mice showed that after sleep, the synapses in the brains of rodents were reduced. Tononi concluded that the reduction of connections indicates the consolidation of information absorbed during the wakefulness: during the day the brain is bombarded with various data, so it enhances the reception of information by the expansion of synapses. To assimilate all knowledge, these connections must be weakened. Sleep just allows it to happen.

There are other puzzles: why do some people know how to sleep soundly when someone makes a noise and others wake up from the slightest rustle? How exactly does consciousness generate dreams? Only one thing is quite clear: without sleep, we feel much worse.

What is dark matter and why can not we see it?

We do not know what it looks like, but it occupies more than 26% of the space of the known Universe. Dutch astronomer Jacobus Kaptein suggested the presence of dark matter in 1922 and since then science has not figured out what it is dealing with.

Most of the visible matter consists of neutrons, protons and electrons. Dark matter does not contain these elements, but consists of different types of particles that have not yet been classified. They interact with matter and light in a completely different way. Dark matter does not absorb and does not reflect light. Scientists determine its presence along the gravitational track.

The experiments of scientists from CERN brought us closer to an understanding of this phenomenon, at least nominally: the researchers are working to identify the material invisible to the eye by accelerating particles and studying the energy and momentum in the collision of particles at ultrahigh speeds.

Recent research shows that gravitational wave detectors can allow us to “see” dark matter. But this has not happened yet.

How did the universe come about?

We are closer to the earliest hours of life of the newborn universe, but the moment of her birth is still hidden from our eyes. “Any theory or model at the moment is incredibly speculative,” says an astrophysicist at Ohio State University, Paul Sutter.

The most common version is the Big Bang theory, according to which the universe expands over 13.8 billion years from an extremely hot and dense singularity.

But people think wrong if they think that in those distant times matter appeared just out of nowhere, says Sutter: “A big explosion is not an explosion in space. This is an explosion of space. What was the catalyst, is still unknown. ”

The paradox is that the deeper we look into the history of the universe, the less we understand it. We do not fully understand the quantum aspects of gravity, and the laws of physics sometimes pose scientists at a dead end when colliding with relic radiation or dark matter.

CERN experts recently confirmed that the standard model of particle physics can turn upside down, since it does not take into account most of the matter created by the Big Bang. Only realizing the nature of antimatter, we get an approximate picture of the birth of the universe.

Where is Planet 9?

Behind the Kuiper belt is a mysterious cluster of cosmic objects, formally belonging to the solar system, but not completely studied. Most of them wander around Neptune, attracted by the strong gravitational field of the gas giant, crossing the ecliptic plane from south to north at perihelion. This movement can be the result of the fact that there is a massive planet in the Oort cloud.

Konstantin Batygin from the California Institute of Technology believes that these features are at least partially caused by the existence of the Planet 9.

Think of the solar system as a giant disk. The orbits of the mysterious Trans-Neptunian objects intersect the disk up the edge.


 
Planet 9 should be massive (much larger than the Earth) to have such an effect. Despite all the theories, in fact it is impossible to prove the existence of the planet. Even infrared analysis does not allow us to discover a mysterious wanderer. The planet moves very slowly (the orbital period can be from 10 000 to 20 000 years) and is far from the Earth.

According to the researchers, the planet is an essentially reduced copy of the icy giants of Uranus and Neptune and is surrounded by an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. The radius of the Ninth Planet at ten earth masses is only 3.66 times more terrestrial and is about 23 000 km, and its temperature is about -226 ° C.

Why does the brain “tremble” from certain sounds?

Thousands of videos on YouTube where people say something in a half-whisper, accompanying the speech by creating soft sounds like tapping fingers on a sheet of paper or scratching a foam rubber sponge. A special microphone creates the feeling that sounds do not arise from the speakers of the computer, but right next to you. The results of such videos are a relaxing effect with the appearance of “tingling” sensations in the brain in 90% of the audience.

To explain this acoustic experience has so far failed, although the name gave him: an autonomous sensory meridional reaction (ACMR).


 
Where is intelligent alien life?

The age of the universe is billions of years old. Its space is so huge that it is impossible not to believe in the existence of aliens, but all their search is rested on the Fermi paradox.

Astronomers and physicists have put forward many theories to explain such a lonely position of mankind. One of them says that there is a kind of catastrophic event that stops any civilization from extraterrestrial contact. Another claims that aliens exist, but they are locked under kilometers of ice on their planets.

Since intelligent life outside the Earth could not be found, scientists focused on the search for protozoa. NASA, for example, is preparing to study the surface of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter. However, if we manage to find a “living” world, will we be able to recognize life?

Familiar to us carbon forms can significantly limit the capacity of our brains before the greatest discovery. In addition, scientists need to distinguish separate passages, presumably, from alien aliens from other cosmic noises – but this is not at all easy. Suddenly their “negotiations” are indistinguishable from the “sounds” of comets and asteroids? What can we do if the aliens just do not want us to find them?

In any case, and without specific answers, but with hope, the search for other forms of life is just beginning. As in the year 2018.