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QotD: Scientific Unknowns

Question: Which scientific unknown would you most like to see solved? Why?

My Answer: This one's easy. Cold fusion. Goodbye $100 electric bill and reliance on oil, hello personal nuclear reactor.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

8 Responses to "QotD: Scientific Unknowns"

  1. Hm, on the matter of energy I think I'd personally would more like to see energy through antimatter. What, a few nanograms could power New York City a full day or something?

    Though it's a bit scary advocating such a powerful energy source, it being so volatile and dangerous - compared to water/solar/wind-power at least...

  2. I'd like to see a detailed proof of M-Theory.

  3. For me it has to be anti-gravity travel. Say goodbye to concrete roads, damage to the environment, bad air quality and reliance on petrol and diesel, and say hello to a better environment and clean air in our towns & cities.

  4. I'm with Bill Gates on this.

    The obvious mathematical breakthrough would be development of an easy way to factor large prime numbers.

    Bill Gates, The Road Ahead, pg. 265

    It is impossible to factor prime numbers because they are, well, prime.

  5. Why do men have nipples?

  6. I'd like to see unification (aka the world formula). Goodbye to nearly every scientific problem 🙂

  7. re: Cold Fusion

    Simply having cold fusion won't eliminate our need for oil. Don't forget that oil is used for more than just fuel. We use it in plastics, fertilizers, numerous lubricants (Some of which simply have not found water-based replacements yet, e.g. rolling compounds), engine lubrication, and no doubt a myriad of other things I'm forgetting here. It remains to be seen if all of these can be done with vegetable oils as most vegetable oils aren't that viscous or degrade rapidly at higher temperatures.

    The single greatest thing that could happen to reduce our consumption of oils would be engines with no moving parts (Thus a reduced need for engine lubricants -- Albeit many are made with recycled oil now), or successful and cheap bio-plastics (I don't have a link with me at the moment for this -- I'll try to come back with one later).

  8. James, I think cars go through a helluva lot more gasoline than they do engine lubricant.