The Other 10 Most Important Questions in Science (NPR)


What’s at the bottom of the oceans? Can we travel in time? In his NPR commentary, Dartmouth’s Marcelo Gleiser, the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy, answers these and eight more of science’s most important questions. The questions, explains Gleiser, come from the new book The Big Questions in Science: The Quest to Solve the Great Unknowns.

So what is at the bottom of the ocean? According to Gleiser, “In the depths, bizarre life forms endure under extreme conditions: no light, no oxygen, freezing temperatures, and pressures 1,000 times more than at the surface. … Oceans, and the innards of Earth itself, are the final frontiers of our planet. Expect amazing discoveries as explorers descend more and more often into the great watery unknown.”

And what about time travel? “Anyone who travels gains a bit of time with respect to those staying behind,” writes Gleiser. “Unfortunately, the gains are pretty negligible unless we travel at speeds close to the speed of light. If spaceships will travel close to that speed one day—and there is no essential reason why they can’t—we will be able to travel to the future, for all that’s worth. Too bad we won’t be able to come back to the past to tell others what we saw.”

Read the full story, published 9/18/13 by NPR.

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