After 350 years the Royal Society ponders the next big questions
Martin Rees introduces a selection of scientists’ suggestions for big questions which science must answer. They range from the self-described “esoteric” such as whether there is a deeper pattern to prime numbers, to BHA Distinguished Supporter Brian Cox’s question, “Can we make a scientific way of thinking all pervasive?”
This would be the greatest achievement for science over the coming centuries. I say this because I do not believe that we currently run our world according to evidence-based principles. If we did, we would be investing in an energy Manhattan project to quickly develop and deploy clean energy technologies. We would be investing far larger amounts of our GDP in the eradication of diseases such as malaria, and we would be learning to live and work in space – not as an interesting and extravagant sideline, but as an essential part of our long-term survival strategy.
John Sulston’s big question is “How do we ensure humanity survives and flourishes?” and Kathy Sykes asks “What is consciousness?”
Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/nov/30/10-big-questions-science-must-answer