Have We Reached the End of Science?

Regis Nicoll
Regis Nicoll

In a rare, unguarded moment, physicist Lawrence Krauss confided, "I worry whether we've come to the limits of empirical science.”

That was over four years ago. Since then, experiments at the Large Hadron Collider have confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, an elusive particle thought to give rise to the most fundamental property of our universe: mass.

Commonly associated with weight, mass is the measure of an object’s resistance to an applied force. But what gives an object its mass, and why is it that some particles, like electrons, have it and others, like photons, don’t?

In 1964, physicist Peter Higgs conjectured that mass was caused by an invisible field that pervades the entire universe. Composed of what were later dubbed “Higgs particles,” this field can be thought of as a kind of cosmic molasses that preferentially inhibits the motion of certain particle types. Because of its importance in understanding the nature of the universe, the Higgs has been referred to as the “God Particle.”

But now that the Higgs has been verified, questions have turned to where it comes from, why it has the properties it has, and why it acts on different particles differently. Such questions signal that materialistic science has approached the edge of an ever-receding black hole of inquiry.

Betraying their lingering angst about the future of science, physicists at a recent conference identified a number of other unsolved mysteries they suggest are keeping them up at nights, including... Continue reading here.

Originally published November 16, 2013.

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