Which question in science answers itself

Big questions of science: You asked, we answered

What was before the big bang? What is the shape of the universe? Does evolution still affect humans? Is there a soul For the tenth anniversary of the SciLogs, Germany's most important platform for blogging scientists, bloggers selected by Spektrum.de and ZEIT ONLINE have spent a week thinking about their most pressing questions.

It started on October 16

There are questions that generations of thinkers have gripped their teeth on. Or they have been arguing about plausible answers for centuries. We asked our readers: Which unanswered, big questions are you most worried about? Around 1,500 people took part. Here is an overview of the five most frequently mentioned questions and on which day they were discussed live:

16.10. - Why does the universe exist?

What was before the Big Bang, why did the Big Bang exist? How can something arise from nothing and expand into nothing - and if it is infinite, where does all the space for it come from? Why is there something at all and not nothing? Two astrophysicists and an astronomer discussed this on Monday. Read the live blog here. A finding from Markus Pössel: "I wouldn't be surprised if there were parallel universes."

17.10 - Where does all life come from?

How does evolution get its "motivation" that plants, animals and ultimately such complex living beings as humans have developed from the simplest single-cell organisms over millions of years? Why is there life at all? Could it have turned out differently? Will other human species than Homo sapiens emerge in the future? A planetary researcher, a zoologist and a biologist gave answers to these questions in the live blog on Tuesday. An essential finding that can certainly be discussed: "Man as such will inevitably disappear", as you can read in the summary.

18.10 - What is consciousness?

What is that me What makes the individual person? When does it start - do babies already have something like that and do animals know that they are "themselves"? What determines "who" we are and is there a soul? How does consciousness arise? Four researchers discussed this in the live blog. The summary "Forget free will!" you'll find here.

19.10. - Will there ever be world peace?

On the small scale people fight, on the large scale they wage wars. Why? People practice violence, kill and injure others. They accumulate weapons and ignore or at least accept the suffering of others. Are humans naturally evil? Or could humanity also live in peace? If so, how do we get there? Three scientists discussed these big questions in the live blog, you can read the entire conversation here. Here is the summary "Nationalism Is Clearly Harmful".

20.10 - Could we be immortal?

In many parts of the world people are getting older, but no medical development has made us immortal. Why is it that we age? Is there a natural limit to how old a person can get? And where do we stand today when it comes to the fight against cancer, AIDS, epidemics such as malaria or tuberculosis or old-age diseases such as dementia? Will gene therapies one day be able to cure congenital diseases and will everyone have a cultured store of spare parts from which organs can be transplanted and stem cells used? A biologist and three doctors have provided answers in the live blog, as you can read here.



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