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January 27, 2005


Paolo Palazzi

About to write up a summary of the colloquium by David Gross for the benefit of a colleague who could not attend, through physcomments.org I found this blog entry with the full list of the 25 questions and I decided to post my remarks here;

I found the talk stimulating and the speaker very pleasant, and I particularly enjoyed his terse humor; before the talk I noticed that he was running the same beautiful MacOSX astronomy screen saver as I do, at the end I was convinced that we are running a very different crystalball software, as I had already guessed;

-- important questions that were not in the list:

a- geophysics:
the center of the earth, origin of magnetic field and internal heat; is the earth expanding?;

b- nuclear physics:
the current situation with several incompatible models of limited applicability is not satisfactory; a convincing bridge from nuclear forces to particle models is lacking;

-- questions in the list that I consider important:

1- Big Bang or not Big Bang:
if the answer is no, points 2 and 3 can be dropped from the list; the recent multipole analysis of the WMAP data finds surprising evidence that the largest-scale features of the microwave sky seem to be correlated with both the motion and the orientation of the solar system; are we really looking at the edge of the universe? this looks like yet another problem for the BB;


4- formation of stars, planets, comets: so many open questions;

7- particle masses, quark-lepton relationship, baryons, proton stability:
the strong sector of the SM is neither complete nor satisfactory; depending on how this goes, questions 8, 9 and 10 could be relevant or not;

12- are laws and/or constants of physics accidental/historical?

20- the physical basis for memory and consciousness;
about these problems I am less pessimistic than the speaker was, and my favorite hypotheses are:

memory: http://www.cesaremarchetti.org/abstract.php?id=3

consciousness: http://www.klab.caltech.edu/~koch/crick-koch-cc-97.html

22- is physics balkanized or about to be?
24- the role of theory

David Gross answered NO to question 22; I believe that questions 22 and 24 are related, and that particle physics and to some extent cosmology are not really balkanizing, rather at the onset of a religious involution, with the emergence of a clergy officiating ceremonies, enforcing dogmas and belief systems, and occasionally acting as a "behavior police", but this would be a long story;

-- Q&A session

two questions from the audience were asked at the end of the talk, here is a summary:

Q1: why not the Higgs among the 25 points? (G. Altarelli);
A1: I only had 25 points, I chose supersymmetry instead of the Higgs;

Q2: (in reference to point 24) OK with elegance, if possible, but we still do not know how to calculate the spectrum of the particles, is this satisfactory? (W. Blum);
A2: we compute the masses of low-lying hadrons within 1% on the lattice;
--: this is not good enough;
--: you are spoiled by electro-weak interactions, 1% is very good for a controlled estimate based on first principles; two problems though: (a) being this approach based on evaluating integrals on the computing it is opaque, and (b) limited to masses energy and form factors, no scattering; back to question 24, it is an important one, and a source of tension .. [omissis];

Q2 was a tough question to a QCD Nobel laureate, the answer was, to me, not convincing; watch the video and make up your mind;

Paolo Palazzi


Hi John-- Thanks for transcribing the list. I've commented a little at my blog:


Carl-G. Källman

A short comment on issue 14 "are there new states of condensed matter?" . Although not being an expert, it is hard not to see the growing evidence for some kind of "low energy nuclear thing", sometimes called LENR, some of them almost weird, like the Iwamura transmutations in Ba etc. I don't know, but it seems that this is a "challenge" for nuclear physics. Maybe not on the top 25 list, but still not far from?

Thanks for a fine page


Carl-G. Källman

Paolo Palazzi

(in reply to Carl-G. Källman)

interesting; nuclear physics should definitely be on the list; I had a look at the papers by Iwamura and also at some other relevant material at this address:


with a new name cold fusion might become politically correct again; see the links about Brian Josephson at the URL above; he was blacklisted by arXiv when attempting to post a review paper on the subject; funny story:


Paolo Palazzi


The Big Bang is undoubtly WRONG, because one of its fundation, the CMB radiation, has a totally different, more natural, and more accurate explanation. CMS is none other than star radiations!!!

See this web page to see how a completely accurate CMB temperature, 2.7243K, is obtained from the star radiation calculation:


Please note, it is not a postulation, but a scientific fact that stars radiate energy, and that energy accounts exactly for the CMB energy. Any one who wants to explain CMB as any thing else MUST explain where does the star radiation energy go! Because out in the sky CMB constitutes 99.9% of the total radiation energy.

I have also calculated the exact neutron mass, ased on measured neutron mean lifetime, up to 10 decimal places accuracy.

Harish Alagappa

In my miniscule and worthless opinion, Question 1 is the most relevant. The Big Bang theory sounds too unreal for some reason(probably because I dont know its mathematical proof) but I think that it was not a single "BANG" but rather a 'progressive bang', a chain reaction of heavy elements being produced, breaking up being annihilated and a larger amount of lighter elements being created later on. I dont know, this is just a 16yr old's view. Whatever, Nevermind!


A glipse of the future

1+m_mu/m_Z+m_e/m_W+ 1/2 (m_mu/m_W)^2=

To be compared with experimental

Bibhas De

On 2004 Nobels for Physics:


Suresh Sharma

commenting on Q-4, I would say the space and time(travel) is still a reality which we have not yet discovered not even excepted.
Can anything exist without having a duration. OK it has Length, breadth, height....and IT has DURATION. If duration = 0 , the object cant exist. So, now we can travel in three dimensions.. and we may in the FOURTH-- THE TIME. Travelling in time creates a World which is parallel to the existing world and that creats.....

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