Seven unsolved mysteries that have been haunting us

  Can we find the center of the universe?
   The three-dimensional concept of the universe leads us to believe that everything that exists today began with the Big Bang that occurred 13.8 billion years ago. Observing from where we are, we can always see that various galaxies are far away from the earth, as if where we are is the center of the universe, but if we are in other parts of the galaxy, we can observe the same scenes. . Therefore, it is futile to find the center of the universe, because the explosion center where the universe was born is everywhere.
   In order to understand this concept, we must first imagine that the universe is flat, and each galaxy is constantly expanding at its own point, which makes the universe always expanding. But if we imagine the universe in a three-dimensional perspective, it is easy to think of it as a sphere and think that it exploded from a certain center point inside, thus believing that the universe has a center. However, in fact, every point in the universe is expanding, and any place can become a center, so the universe has no center.
  Can we clone a dinosaur?
   Since watching the movie “Jurassic Park”, we have dreamed of building a dinosaur theme park one day, but is this really possible? To clone a dinosaur or any other animal (whether extinct or not), you must have its complete genome, which means that the DNA of the species must be in good condition. Unfortunately, according to geneticists’ calculations, the average life span of DNA is only 521 years, and the existence of dinosaurs dates back to 65 million years ago.
   What if we get dinosaur blood in the mosquitoes preserved in amber? Although this is the premise for the scientists in Jurassic Park to restore dinosaurs, there is no scientific basis for this idea. Even if dinosaur blood is obtained in this way, the blood has been contaminated in the resin. Even if the blood is not contaminated and the DNA of the dinosaur is successfully obtained, the complete genome of the dinosaur cannot be obtained because we still need the genetic material of its close relatives, and dinosaurs have no close relatives. In the movie, scientists used frog DNA to restore Tyrannosaurus rex, but its practical bird DNA may be more suitable, because the true direct descendants of dinosaurs are birds.
   Taking a step back, if we really get the complete genome of a dinosaur, how can we make it born? Dinosaurs, like birds, are oviparous and hatched from eggs, so unless scientists can first find an animal similar to dinosaurs, we cannot clone dinosaurs. Just like in the movie, paleontologist Jack Horner intends to use reverse genetic engineering to transform chicken embryos to give them certain characteristics of dinosaurs. He also gave this chicken embryo an interesting name-“Dinosaur Chicken “.
  Can we find the origin of life on earth?
   We don’t know when, where, and how life started. In 1827, Darwin wrote in a letter to his good friend the botanist Joseph Hooker: “Life may first begin in a small hot pool.” Until now, it is still common in the scientific community. Suppose that life originated from the “primitive soup” of organic molecules in the earth’s oceans 4.5 billion years ago.
   French scientist Las Baer proposed in 1825 that every cell comes from another cell. Assuming this is true, scientific estimates indicate that the first cell came from 4 billion years ago. On the one hand, we cannot be sure whether it really exists. On the other hand, there are other assumptions that life on Earth may have come from outer space and reached the earth through meteorites or comets.
   Another problem with the inability to find the origin of life is that we cannot even give a unique definition of life. For example, biologists can think that a thing that can move, eat, excrete, reproduce, and respond to external stimuli is life, because this is how life works as we know and think. But from this definition alone, it is difficult for us to answer whether the virus is life or not? Is the computer life? What about robots?
   Gerald Joyce of the Salk Institute for Biological Research in the United States defined life as “a chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution and self-sustaining.” Under this interpretation, even if robots become smarter than humans one day, they cannot be regarded as life.
  Which gene or environment has a greater impact on people?
   It is generally believed that a person’s personality is determined by his own genetic material, as well as his environment and education. But which factor has more influence? Voltaire said in the 18th century: “Nature is stronger than education.” On the contrary, Rousseau believed that if people are not corrupted by society, they will maintain their inherent goodness.
   According to the research of evolutionary psychology, human beings have survived as hunters and gatherers for a long time, and until now, this gene is affecting us. For example, the reason why modern people are susceptible to obesity is that our genes contain memories of the era of food scarcity. Although we are in an era of material richness, genes still make us love high-fat and high-calorie foods.
   However, according to epigenetic research, human genes have great flexibility and can adapt to new environments in a short time. The most famous example is the Dutch famine during World War II-the “Hungry Winter”, when 20,000 people starved to death, and the children born to the surviving women were generally short and lighter. Not only that, although the next generation of these children is adequately fed, they are still short and light. This shows that the famine environment suffered by grandparents has affected the genes of grandchildren.
   Therefore, in real life, it is meaningless to study whether the environment or genes have a greater impact on us, because the two overlap and influence each other, and it is impossible to draw a clear dividing line between them.
  Can we find the smallest unit?
   In the 5th century BC, the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus proposed that matter is composed of very small “atomic” particles, and matter can only be divided up to atoms. More than 2000 years later, scientists found indirect evidence that he was right. Later, scientists discovered that atoms are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons. And now we know that there are particles smaller than atoms, such as leptons and quarks.
   In 2012, in the Large Hadron Collider built by the European Nuclear Research Center in Geneva, scientists discovered another particle-the Higgs boson. This is a boson with zero spin predicted by the Standard Model of Particle Physics. It is also the last particle to be discovered among the 62 elementary particles predicted by the theory. It is called the “source of all things”.
   If we continue to study, can we find the smallest unit? Some physicists believe that there are subatomic particles that make up quarks and leptons, called “pre-sons.” Some physicists also believe that the basic unit of nature is not point particles such as electrons, photons, and quarks, but small linear “strings.” All in all, we have not yet reached the end of this path to find the smallest particle in the universe.
  What is “me”?
   Humans always call themselves “spirits of all things” because we have consciousness and intelligence, which makes us consider ourselves superior to other species, but more and more studies show that animals also have self-awareness. Being able to recognize oneself in the mirror is the best proof of self-awareness. So far, in addition to humans, chimpanzees, dolphins, and elephants can recognize themselves in mirrors, while pigeons and gorillas can also do it in some cases, but cats, dogs, and children under two years old can’t.
   What is “I” is also a complicated issue in philosophy. It is easy to fall into the trap of subjective idealism. I think that all reality can only be explained by “I”. I feel that the surrounding things and other people are only Exists in our hearts.
   From the concept of existence, there is no point in studying what “I” is. Because at the molecular and atomic level, we are not even the selves we were 1 minute ago. Our bodies are constantly exchanging atoms, and today’s atoms, after 40 years, may only be 10% still in this body, and the same is true in the brain.
  Can we predict the future?
   If all things in the universe follow the unchanging laws, then in theory, any event can be calculated and predicted, but we will never have enough computing power to do this. In this sense, our universe is deterministic, but not calculable.
   In fact, our understanding of the future is very limited because we have ignored countless variables. Even the smallest variable will affect the results we try to predict. To predict the future, we must understand the entire universe, and we ourselves are part of this universe. We have to ignore our own variable unless we can jump out of the universe to measure it, but this is impossible.