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Greatest Unsolved Mysteries Of Science

By Edited Jul 21, 2016 8 25


Over the past few centuries , the giant strides that we have taken in the realm of science and technology have been phenomenal- we have managed to split the atoms, slice up the genome to decode DNA sequencing, actually managed to put a man on the moon and so on. To satiate mankind’s unquenching thirst for knowledge, science is increasingly blurring the lines between fiction and reality.

Such mind boggling achievements  notwithstanding, there  remain mysteries of life and nature aplenty,that continue to baffle and elude us.  From the inner workings of our bodies , to the intrinsic mechanics of the universe – the article ponders on the great scientific challenges that mankind faces this century.


Cure For Cancer

With nearly two million Americans being diagnosed with different forms of cancer every year and nearly one third of them eventually succumbing to it – the cure for cancer remains the Holy Grail in the field of medical science. Despite numerous attempts cancer remains as deadly and potent as it was fifty years ago. Every other day we hear about some miraculous cure, ranging from gene therapies to drugs that have the wondrous ability to shrink tumors or even a vaccine, all to stem the scourge of cancer. Yet the death toll keeps rising every year , raising a serious question mark on the efficacy of all these “groundbreaking” therapies.

Even though some significant advancements have been made in this field in the last decade or so and the incidences of cancer have contracted to a certain extent – an actual cure for cancer remains an enigma to the medical fraternity. As we all know cancer is not a single disease, but an entire gamut of diseases assembled under a single umbrella. And there lies the crux of the predicament. Searching for a cure to cancer is akin to searching for a cure to say infection – there are so many different and mutated forms that are present.

While an entire spectrum of pathogens can act as carcinogenic agents , most scientists feel that the viruses stand out as the most virulent of all known carcinogens. This is primarily because viruses have greatly evolved over time to target cells which are responsible for cell division, hijack them and then precipitate random mutations that causes the host cells to proliferate out of control.

In this light , one new avenue of targeting cancer that is increasingly being adopted , is to pinpoint its cause of origin and the exact mechanism and then subsequently develop therapies to contain it before onset.The HPV vaccines Gradasil as well as Cervarix , produced to stem cervical cancer, are steps in that direction.

Even though measures like proper diet , improvement in sanitation and hyegiene as well as absitenence from tobacco and alcohol can negate the effect of this disease to a certain extent – the medical fraternity is nearly unanimous in their opinion that “The best hope for safely curing and preventing cancers arises from the identification and targeting of their infectious causes,"


The Quest To Live Forever

Common sense and pragmatism dictate everything that has a beginning must come to an inevitable  end. It is one of the most irrefutable laws of nature , that no one can possibly elude. You cannot possibly escape the icy grip of death. Yet mankind continues to subscribe to the hubris notion of infinite life, stemming from various mythological sources. Consequently the quest for the fabled Fountain Of Youth has created great hype throughout history and numerous quixotic and ultimately futile expeditions. Ditto has been the case for the search of the mythical elixir or the magical potion that could extend one’s life to near infinity.

Yet despite these giant stumbling blocks, anti ageing enthusiasts continue to do serious research, undeterred in the realm of  life extension. One such scientist a Cambridge University geneticist Aubrey de Grey has famously stated, “The first person to live to be 1,000 years old is certainly alive today -whether they realize it or not, barring accidents and suicide, most people now 40 years or younger can expect to live for centuries.”

Grey ‘s statements may come across to be way too optimistic, but a growing number of scientists, doctors, geneticist and nanotech experts are of the opinion that because of the rapid advancement of science and technology , a definitive solution to the anti ageing problem can be found sooner rather than later. They are working on the life extension properties of a host of compounds that inhibits the formation of anti ageing proteins in cell or other substances that results in cell decay and death.

However , most experts are billing the field of nanotechnology , as the ultimate panacea to all our ageing problems. A future where technology halts our aging process, with tiny robots zipping through our body, repairing tissues and organs may actually come to pass. So ultimately the Fountain Of Youth against all conventional logic may prove to be technological , instead of being chemical or biological.



Are We Alone

The quest for extraterrestrial life outside our galaxy is the "raison d'e etre"  of NASA’s existence , a quest which so far has proved to be tedious and fraught with disappointing results. In spite of the glaring lack of any credible proof, scientists and astronomers all over the world remain unshakeable in their faith that there is life beyond our galaxy. Because in an infinite universe which is expanding everyday and made up of 100 billion galaxies, it is inconceivable that life in an evolved state will remain confined to a solitary planet of a tiny solar system. So statistically speaking, the existence of aliens appears quite rational, however despite numerous scientific attempts and space explorations, we have not been able to trace the existence of higher form of life anywhere else.

However last year only, researchers discovered that there are three times as many stars in the universe than previously reckoned . More stars automatically mean more planets and which mean greater chances of life.

One such star among the bewildering array of solar systems that researchers discovered last year,which keep on hogging the headlines is Glies 581. It has its own solar system, comprising of six exoplanets , having telltale signs of habitable zones that can act as a suitable abode of life in the future. Moreover , with Kepler satellite’s search mission is expected to be wrapped by late 2012, more positive news is expected on this front before the year’s old.

However a leading group of eminent scientists and astronomers , most notably Stephen Hawking , have expressed their apprehensions about coming in contact with alien life forms . Hawkins in one of his interviews said that extraterrestrial life could either be present in the rudimentary form like bacteria or microbes or as an entirely different  highly evolved species, contact with whom can potentially spell disaster or the entire human race.

We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet," Hawking said.

"I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."

"If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the American Indians."



Jun 21, 2012 9:20am
I addressed the issue you raised in the "Are We Alone" section myself with a similar conclusion -- no, I absolutely DO NOT want alien life forms ot visit this planet. We would be toast!
Jun 21, 2012 10:35am
If people could live forever or even to the age of 150 it would be problematic. I believe the world is overpopulated as it is. Sure we have the space for more people, but we do not have the resources to support more people. Earthlings would definitely need to be the aliens and colonize other planets.
Jun 21, 2012 10:47am
Jun 21, 2012 11:01am
Definitely no need for extreme longevity (too many people by the age of 40 have worn out their welcomes on this planet in my book -- don't need them hanging around being a ocnstant source of annoyance for another 110 years!)
Jun 21, 2012 12:20pm
Vic who do you have in mind?
Jun 21, 2012 12:59pm
I'm pretty sure Paris Hilton, for example, wouldn't contribute much in the next 110 years or so.
Jun 21, 2012 1:25pm
Vic you can add the entire bunch of Kardashians also to that list....
Jul 17, 2012 5:18am
So what you guys are saying is Paris and the Kardashians can go and colonize another planet? Only if they take Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber with them.
Jun 21, 2012 3:35pm
Interesting article. Cancer seems to involve many different pathways being turned on (like akt kinase), but the result is similar to a metabolic disease.As to longevity, that will only be possible when mitochondrial decay and malfunction can be circumvented, or repair can take place.
Jun 21, 2012 4:56pm
In the ealriest days of AIDS research some greater lights suggested -- becuse of its auto-immune component -- that whoever discovered the cure for AIDS would have also inadvertently discovered the cure fro cancer as well.
Jun 23, 2012 9:08am
Hi--Wow, very impressive, informative and intelligent article--thanks for all your hard work. 5 stars from me and you can bet I'll be back to read more of your material.
Jun 23, 2012 10:14am
Thank you so much marlando for the like and generous feedback
Jul 16, 2012 12:08am
Interesting article, thumb from me.
Jul 16, 2012 1:07am
You may want to add Jersey Shore people to the list of no-you-can-not-live-long-in-this-planet list. :)
Jul 16, 2012 6:51am
You need to watch the sci-fi movie "Logan's Run" from the mid 1970's, WebAddict -- those people weren't allowed to live past the age of 30!
Jul 16, 2012 6:47pm
Woah! I don't ever want to be a part of such a place! :)
Jul 16, 2012 1:27am
Thanks for the insights! Ill add the banking families to that list...
Jul 16, 2012 6:50am
Good job getting featured, buddy!
Jul 16, 2012 11:43pm
The quote from the guy saying the person who will live to 1,000 years is alive today gave me chills...perhaps there are mysteries that shouldn't be solved.
Jul 17, 2012 5:19am
Great article, and really makes you think about how far we've come scientifically just in the last 100 years and how far we still have yet to go. Good read!
Jul 17, 2012 6:40am
Great article!
I wish that there would be a cure for cancer or AIDS by now - still hoping.
I'm not so sure if I want Aliens stop by for a visit either. I remember watching "Logan's Run"
a very long time ago it scared the sh*** out of me back then.

Thumbs Up!
Jul 17, 2012 6:40am
Great article!
I wish that there would be a cure for cancer or AIDS by now - still hoping.
I'm not so sure if I want Aliens stop by for a visit either. I remember watching "Logan's Run"
a very long time ago it scared the sh*** out of me back then.

Thumbs Up!
Jul 17, 2012 6:44am
Sorry, it wasn't supposed to be posted twice. Please remove.
Jul 18, 2012 4:50am
It was a interesting read. Thanks for the article.
Sep 16, 2012 3:13pm
Great article Saruman. A few notes :
For as long as there are tons of money to be made from cancer and AIDS "treatment" there will never be a cure. The bulk of the cancer & AIDS research is funded by the pharma companies themselves, who are naturally the last entities on earth to desire a cure. Cancer and AIDS mean huge business to them and their link to the "medical community" and universities that do independent research grows closer every day.

If we do achieve immortality before we start colonizing other planets/stars there will have to be an outbreak of an AIDS 2 or something. Either that or we will annihilate each other for resources.

Although it is illogical, a huge waste of space and statistically almost impossible, I believe that we are the only intelligent lifeform in the universe. I am non religious, I just think that the universe waits for us to "awaken" and colonize it, that is our purpose, our fate. We are the future aliens of the universe, the seeds that will plant it with life. The reply to Enrico Fermi's paradox ("Where are all the aliens?") is simple : here we are.
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