why is the universe a mystery?

Well, you might say that we know so much about it but at its heart is the great mystery of where it all came from. We can start with the big bang theory and end with the mysteries of the nucleus of the atom. The large hadron collider may gives us clues but if this mega billion dollar project doesn’t solve it all, then what will?
Are we just not smart enough to put these pieces together. Is our math too simplistic for such a large problem. Has science got it all wrong from the get go? Do we just need more time?
Why are the deepest mysteries of nature beyond our grasp? Why couldn’t they be simple like F=ma?

Depends which mysteries you’re talking about. The answer is different for different mysteries. The large hadron collider isn’t going to solve it all, it’s just going to provide some specific data.

We don’t know if we’re alone in the universe because we haven’t yet managed to go look properly.

We don’t know if there’s a higgs-boson because we haven’t yet found it, though we’re looking.

We don’t know what the first moments after the Big Bang looked like because the universe was dense and opaque at the time, so no light from it can reach us - thus we can’t look.

We don’t know what dark energy is because… well, we just don’t know. We only discovered it in 1998 when someone got round to studying the expansion rate of the universe by looking at supernovae.

A lot of it is probably just a question of time, effort, and money. Other things are fundamental problems we don’t have any way to solve right now.

The universe is infinite, and human minds are finite. No matter how much we learn, there will always be things outside the sphere of human knowledge.

Part of the problem is that we have to use the universe (that is, devices, brains, tools made out of the stuff of the universe) to observe the universe.

This is like trying to pick up golf balls using tongs made out of golf balls.

At first the world was dark and the horizon was only as far as I could reach.
Then I was born and my horizons broadened into the world of sight and taste and smell and other people appeared.
Soon I could hold things and see clear across a room.
My horizons kept expanding. Crib became room, room became house, house became yard and then neighborhood.
The sounds around me began to make sense. I learned to use the same sounds to make myself understood.
The world outside my personal horizons was always a mystery. Each time my horizons expanded a little of the mystery went away. But my personal horizons will never include everything. There are whole nations that I will never experience. Not to mention worlds, solar systems and galaxies.

The same is true for humanity as a whole. Humanity may go on but each of us has but a few decades to understand and pass knowledge on in our imperfect imprecise way. In this way we progress and beat back our collective horizon. But the universe will be a mystery until the last locked door is open, until the last rock has been turned over to see what crawls beneath, until the final puzzle is solved.

Personally I hope that never happens.

We have only been at this seriously for a couple of hundred years. Were are working out how a universe larger and older than we can imagine came into existence and continues to function.

I think we’re doing rather well actually.

What, specifically, do you have in mind as “the deepest mysteries of nature”? I know you mentioned “the great mystery of where it all came from”, but I’m curious as to exactly what else you’re thinking of.

I’ve often pondered if there will be a point, given enough time, where the stores of human knowledge are so vast that the study time required to reach the forefront of that knowledge exceeds the human lifespan. We’d never be able to learn more as a race because we simply don’t live long enough to know what we don’t know.

At the end of it, all theories should come togther into one grand idea (unified field theory?) to explain the big and the small of it.
Where did the universe come from?
What is an atom made of?
There should be a full understanding of all of natural processes.

The universe is not infinite and what difference would that make anyway.
We have broken it all down to four fundamental forces. Why is the reconcilation of these forces so difficult?
Newton thought he had it all figured out with his simple equations.
Now, its all so freekin’ complicated.

Give us a chance here. We’ve only been around for a few hundred thousand years, most of which time we didn’t have the means or inclination to really look into this stuff. Scrounging for snacks was a higher priority. We’ve only really been studying things for a few thousand, and only had the technology to start to really do some serious exploration for the past few hundred years…and really, REALLY look deeply for the past few decades.

Some of the ‘mystery’ stuff will probably never be completely solved, in that we can’t watch or observe the pre-Big Bang universe, nor observe the events that happened immediately after the Big Bang. But we can observe a lot, and piece together a lot, so I’d say that only the small details will remain a ‘mystery’ in the end, assuming humans are given a few more thousand or 10’s of thousands of years with which to continue exploring the questions.


Yeah, the real mystery is why the universe is so little a mystery. From our vantage point on a tiny speck stuck inside a galaxy 13 billion years after the event we can actually say something about the first microseconds of the universe, and we’ve been able to do it after only a few hundred years of scientific explanation.

The Universe is a mystery…or is it?

It’s already happening, and humanity is responding to it by individuals specializing in their fields. There’s no such thing as a renaissance man like Leonardo Divinci anymore, who knows a whole lot about almost everything. Nowadays people specialize in knowing about particular things. As time goes on and our knowledge goes even deeper, the specializations will just get more narrow.

The question makes no sense, or, rather, the answer is trivial. Like all mysteries, the nature and origin of the universe is a mystery because, and to the extent that, we do not know the (full) explanation for it. (It is also a significant mystery because because the universe - being, like, you know, everything - is pretty significant.)

Are you asking why we are not just born innately knowing everything about the universe? I doubt it.

Maybe you mean: why is the universe so complicated? Well, it is very big, and it is everything, so it is bound to be a lot more complicated than little us, or anything we do or make, or, indeed, anything else in our experience, which are all things in the universe.

We are tiny mammals that live on a rock with an onion skin of gas that we need to live. The fact that we know anything about the universe at all is amazing.

Our technology is teaching us more every day, but it takes time. We know that our knowledge increases with time. Five hundred years ago, the telescopes could barely resolve Jupiter’s moons. Today, we can see the mottled background radiation from the big bang. What can we see five hundred years from now?

I don’t know, but I see no reason to assume that we have all the technical ability right now to solve every problem.

The biggest problem is that we can’t directly observe many of the phenomena we’re studying. So we have to learn about them from very indirect evidence. It’s like trying to figure out what kind of car somebody’s driving by studying a road they drove on last week.

Let me put it another way.
I’ve studied Newton’s equations and they are pretty simple.
I’ve seen some of the equations related to Quantum mechanics and they are challenging.
Other equations that describe multiverses etc. are pretty crazy and are only accessible to a few great minds.
Are our brains too tiny to develop a math that describes the full nature of the universe?
What really gets me here is the black hole. Why should this thing be beyond our comprehension? It is simply compressed matter. We have supercomputers do we not?
It may be more of a religious question after all. I’m not asking why it is so complicated but why it should it be so complicated?
I don’t suppose that is directly answerable but maybe someone can shed a bit of light.

Because we now know the equations aren’t so simple. People build on other’s actionis as well. Right now we have quantum theory which works well for little things but fails when we get into bigger regions. We have General Relativity which works great for big things but is useless for small things.

Eventually your math breaks down like when you divide a calculator by zero.

Things like String Theory seem to tie both GR and QM together but so far it’s not testable. And the LHC is too small to test it, unless we do it indirectly or figure out a way in the future.

And this becomes problematic, when you look at things like string theory. Supposing it’s right, but supposing it’s wrong. All well and good but the sooner you could tell either way, the easier it is to work on other way. String theory is only one of a few theories. It is the most popular now. But if it’s wrong, look at all the time wasted.

Math is all well and good, but you also have to test the math to make sure it’s not a conincidental thing. If the real world is too big or if you haven’t figure out how to test it, you got troubles

The problem is that we need data for our super computers to crunch, and the black hole is such that no data can get out. A set of physical laws in which all of the matter going into a black hole was spit out into a new universe, versus one in which there is a solid object at the center, versus one in which that matter is evenly distributed inside the event horizon will all have the exact same appearance to us on the outside, so there is no way to determine which one is correct. In the future there could be technology that enables us to survive going past the even horizon, and so someone could figure out the answer for themselves, but then they wouldn’t be able to tell anyone so it wouldn’t help much.

The butler did it.