10 Unanswered Puzzles about Science: Will They Ever Reach Consensus?

Even though we have made tremendous progress in science, yet there remains a mystery when it comes to give reasons to some everyday activities. These mundane stuffs generate the same kind of awestruck curiosity to scientists as it does to a toddler. Some of these bewildering questions are:

1)  Slipperiness of Ice


The unusual & unique properties of water have given numerous explanations about ice being slippery. Experts have dispensed most of the theories propagated so far and there could be more variations in the future discoveries envision majority of researchers.

Some might argue that putting pressure of ice sheet causes it reiterate back to water, which might be making it slippery. But trials have confirmed that body weight is not enough to re-instate an ice sheet back to its previous form. Dynamics of ice-surfaces are still one of the most unsettled topics so far.

2) Self-stability of Bicycle


Although there is no verified claim of bicycle’s inception yet, its first sketch is said to be around 1493 by Gian Giacomo Caprotti, a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci. This however, is still debatable. Since then there have been improvements in functionality and overall design of the bicycle but question that still haunts experts is the reason for its stableness. They still have no digestible explanation, which could answer how a bicycle can be self-stable.

Gyroscopic effect was accepted belief but it was re-butted in the 70s by physicist David Jones. This was replaced by caster effect however, this too was slashed down by researchers from Cornell university in 2011. Hence, the physics of bicycle’s stability is one amongst the other scientific mysteries that is yet to be answered.

3) Feebleness of Gravity


Gravity is the force that binds the entire universe together. Its omnipresent effect pervades all things in and around universe except the black holes of course. Yet it falls weak in front of small bar magnets that can pick up paper clips from a desk. This feebleness accounts for the profound challenge for physics. Gravity’s absence at quantum level makes the scenario trickier researchers are still looking for the answers.

4) Dreaming phenomenon


So far, various theories have been propounding as to why we spend a third of our life in sleeping but till date there is no clear cut support for any of them. And same is the case with dreaming.

Some of the theories claim that sleeping helps in repair and restoration of mental functions, while some say sleep is essential for removing toxins from the body. While others feel, that sleep helps in revitalizing the body. Another set of researchers asserted that sleep helps in brain development especially of infants and that is one of the reasons, why they sleep more relatively. Dreaming helps in the workings of the mentioned process. Researchers are still trying to figure out the reasons as to what could be the reason behind this involuntary activity but they haven’t reached any consensus yet.

5) Innumerable planets in Solar System

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In the grand scheme of the Solar System we haven’t conquered much rather we have to tilt a bit of our cup to jerk Pluto down from the vault we were initially holding onto. Mike Brown in 2005 discovered Eris, a dwarf planet.

Unlike Earth, Pluto is merely a fraction of the icy objects in its orbit hence it was demoted from being a planet to dwarf planet. This further accounted for the reduction of the preconceived total number of planets, which currently is eight. Hence, there is a possibility of increasing or decreasing the total count of the planets in the near future. After all, universe is too vast too study each and every elements in it, till date research is going on to understand the intricacies of the cosmos.

6) No coming back from Black Holes


Experts at the space fraternity have reached a consensus regarding the stellar life that is, how upon reaching the threshold of death, gravitational collapse begins to take place and thus morphing into the black holes.

These black holes disappear over the time and with it, the matter that has been sucked from its surroundings too gets evaporated. That means, if a person gets caught into the gyres of black holes, his existence will get vanish along with it. Does that imply, black holes are doorways to other universes? o-O

7) Magnetic monopole cannot exist


Magnetic poles always come paired as north and south and never alone. Although we do have a mathematical description in form of Gauss’s law of magnetism, which talks about the phenomenon in terms of observational point of view but scientists are still baffled by it and they do not have any explanation of “why this is so”.

8) Coastline paradox


Length of any coastline is never near to proximity as it is reflected by the method that is being employed for measuring. The phenomenon is similar to calculating the circumference of a circle with diameter one, in where the result would be pi.

Under any scenario circumference of a circle cannot be measured by a ruler instead it could be calculated by short & straight lines. Shorter the straight lines, nearer to the value of pi, however the case is different with coastlines. Shorter the measuring lines, bigger would be the number, so the problem converges to infinity.

9) Hot water freezes faster than cold


The Mpemba effect is an assertion, which holds that warm water can freeze quickly than cold water. Aristotle first observed the effect in 4th century BC and since then scientists have been working behind it to understand the intricacies behind the phenomenon.

It violates the heat and laws of thermodynamics, especially the Zeroth law which states that if two physical systems are in connection with each other in such a way that there is no transfer of matter and energy (in from of work) between them but there is transfer of energy in from of heat – which is also called a state of thermal equilibrium- with a third then both are in the state of thermal equilibrium with each other.

Although many solutions have been proposed so far however, the researchers haven’t reached any set consensus yet.

10) Time travel


Einstein’s famous theory of relativity claims that age depends upon time. So if one conquers time, one conquers his age. This video beautifully depicts Einstein’s big idea about the time travel by moving through space-time. But the question that looms before us is, is it possible to travel time as is the case in the video. On a practical level, we do travel time, which is 1 hour per hour but in the same scenario we cannot travel 3 hours per hour. Although scientists are working on the advanced technology where they claim one could travel into the future but currently, there is no hard evidence to prove any concept that might lead to time distortions.

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About Pooja Kashyap

A CPD certified Fitness Trainer, Pooja also likes to spend time reading and blogging the latest research and discoveries in science and how technology is shaping the world. Besides writing, she enjoys reviewing books and taking interviews of creative/innovative people. Currently, she is located in Noida, India, where she actively participates in marathons as well. She is also on Quora l Twitter and LinkedIn.