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Scientists Are Struggling to Understand the Universe

University of Oxford professor of astrophysics Pedro Ferreira is puzzled, as most physicists are, about the origins and basic elements of the universe.

In fact, we’re at a complete loss at how to explain some of the most fundamental but baffling observations of how our Universe behaves. There is a tremendous, even cosmic, chasm between the physics we know and love, and some of the phenomena that we observe, but simply can’t make head nor tail of. We have no idea how to bridge this chasm – yet we are proceeding, to construct ever more expensive experiments and observatories in the hope that we will.

I’ve spent most of my adult life staring at the cosmic chasm – the abyss between what we know and what we don’t. And while our knowledge of the Universe has improved dramatically in that time, our ignorance has become only more focused. We’re no closer to answering the big questions about dark matter, dark energy and the origins of the Universe than when I started out. This isn’t for lack of trying, and a titanic effort is now underway to try and figure out all these mysterious aspects of the Universe. But there’s no guarantee we’ll succeed, and we might end up never really grasping how the Universe works.

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