11 questions about the Universe

From: scerir (scerir@libero.it)
Date: Fri Jan 19 2001 - 01:11:31 MST

A panel of US physicists and astronomers
has identified a list of eleven fundamental questions about the
nature of the universe that will require the combined skills of
particle physicists and astrophysicists to answer.
The questions are in "From quarks to the cosmos", the first report
from the committee on the physics of the universe set up by the
National Academy of Sciences.
The eleven questions are:
* What is dark matter?
* What are the masses of the neutrinos
and how have they shaped the evolution of the universe?
* Are there additional spacetime dimensions?
* What is the nature of the dark energy?
* Are protons unstable?
* How did the Universe begin?
* Did Einstein have the last word on gravity?
* How do cosmic accelerators work and what are they accelerating?
* Are there new states of matter at exceedingly high density and
* Is a new theory of matter and light needed at the highest energies?
* How were the elements from iron and uranium made?
The committee is keen to bring physicists and astronomers together
to tackle these questions, and is optimistic that the enormous leaps
in technology - including the exponential growth of computing speed -
and our understanding of the universe that have occurred over the last
twenty years will bring fresh insights to the debate. A second report,
due in late 2001, will prioritize the questions and make
recommendations about funding.

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