According to NewScientist, physicists -– those crumple-jacketed folks on the cutting edge of knowledge –- are being afflicted with a serious case of insomnia. It seems they have been losing sleep over seven vexing questions…
1. Why this universe? (As opposed to the one in which apples fall up.)
2. What is everything made of? (Hint: it is not what you learned in earth science class.)
3. How does complexity happen? (Or, how did matter “go live”?)
5. What is the singularity? (That is, what “banged” in the Big Bang?)
6. What is realityreally? (I recall that Parmenides and Heraclitus were asking the same thing over 2500 years ago. Funny, today’s thinkers are no closer to an answer.)
7. How far can physics take us? (Hmm, I suspect this is the real sleep snatcher!)
Notice that nearly every question hinges on the ultimate question of what is Prime Reality -– the thing that is self-existent and non-contingent, preceding all that exists. Prime Reality is the starting point from which all knowledge originates but which itself cannot be deductively proven or empirically verified. As such, it is beyond the reach of experimental science, whether that involves the light spectra of supernovae, the exotic particles from the Large Hadron Collider, or the chemical sequences of DNA.
No wonder the mandarins of science are having trouble sleeping. So the next time you see a physicist roaming the halls with bloodshot eyes, have some compassion and offer him some Nytol.