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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Big Science Questions

Talking about the science questions, here they are:

• Why is there a Universe?
• How did galaxies form?
• Was there ever life on Mars?
• How do planetary systems evolve?
• How are the chemical elements created?
• How does our climate work?
• How can we create new materials to store energy?
• How can we meet mankind’s need for abundant clean energy?
• How can we design smart materials?
• How do cells work?
• How do degenerative diseases develop?
• How can we design better treatments for cancer?

There is no obvious questions that include the Sun or STP, effectively pushing both solar and STP out into the cold. But perhaps even more importantly than that where did these questions come from?

This is a point raised by another colleague via email; the process seems to be opaque. He comments that in the past PPARC (STFC forerunner) had town meetings and hard effort by advisory panels, including the now defunct solar system advisory panel). I cannot recall heaing about the formulation of these questions and it seems I am not alone. Something to find out, I think.


RJS said...

Given that STFC inherits the science previously within the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, you might also expect to see at least *one* question about particle physics...?

Kav said...

The latest that I have heard about the 'big questions' is that they are written retrospectively once STFC has decided what facilities and science it will support.