The age of scientific discovery may be nearing its end as the limits of the human mind make further breakthroughs impossible, leading scientists have said.
Russell Stannard, professor emeritus of physics at the Open University, argues that although existing scientific knowledge will continue to be applied in news ways, "the gaining of knowledge about fundamental laws of nature and the constituents of the world, that must come to an end”.
He said: “We live in a scientific age and that’s a period that’s going to come to an end at some stage. Not when we’ve discovered everything about the world but when we’ve discovered everything that’s open to us to understand.”
Not all experts agree that the sun is setting on the age of scientific discovery. Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society, believes that there are still big questions to be asked about the content of the universe, human genetics and how life began on earth.
“All these things depend on more data and they are also helped a lot by computers,” he told the programme. “But I think there may be some aspects of reality we can’t understand or some questions we can’t pose.
“Just as a monkey doesn’t worry about how it evolved whereas we understand Darwinism, there may be a problem which we haven’t been able to conceive.
“So I agree with Russell to the extent that there may be some aspects of reality that are beyond human brains, but maybe computers can help”.
Has science reached it's limits of ability at this time?
Although, most fundamental laws of nature have been discovered, there is still much to learn about the universe. The only fundamentals left to understand surround gravity.
I think a lot of understanding has been gained through the scientific inquiry and still think they are scratching the surface. Are they talking about science or technology?
Oh know, I think science is only now coming into its own. Look at how far science progress just in the last 100 hundred years. E=mc2 will be a 100 years old in 1920 I think, or was that his relativity formula? But make no matter about it- science is still in its youthful, blossoming stage. We are only beginning to understand the vastness of the universe, and that of our own oceans as well as sea beds on Mars and Jupiter. So much is not known, and still remaining to be discovered. I find that to be exciting!
I truly cannot see new scientific discovery ending. I suppose if one of our discoveries is applied overzealous-ly and we accidentally destroy ourselves then yup, its over. The thing is, many of our ultimate goals and reasons for perusing science have not been met. We cannot travel to other worlds and know that while its a long way off, one day our sun will go nova and if we are still here we are goners. We have not eliminated disease yet, we have not learned how to slow or stop aging. Heck we don't have replicators yet or androids to do the yucky and messy jobs for us yet. We peruse science for reasons, often to improve life over all, and we have not run out of reasons yet. I for one would like to see more value given to scientific pursuits and a refreshed age of discovery into better energy sources (get us off fossil fuels!), take people to Mars and cure more illnesses! We are so far off what could be if we are willing to put the work into discovery and innovation.
But we're touching some walls with few areas of science that i will not deny. For example, there is no possible innovation in the speed of single core processors, take example of pentium 4 series -we are stagnated and are using multi-cores. So we're yet to achieve full potential of single core or maybe that is the limit.
Yes, but I read the other day that we have now worked out how to do quantum processors!
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ … uture.html
Ok, we are some time off having one on our desk, but considering that WW2 was run on something less powerful than an iPod....
To be honest, i don't know how putting them into commercial manufacturing is going to solve the problem. I mean some areas are yet to addressed - heat dissipation, GPU, cost etc etc. Besides quantum computers are not the solution of what we're looking for.
There would be relatively few new discoveries. But what would be significant and in a way could be considered as new, (though it's not) is the discovery of the simplicity of the thread of life as it weaves it way through all things. Then we are able to make car that do not need servicing or computers that will never crash etc.
But at the same time we would also realise that we need them not.
For presently most of what is considered as high tech science, is actually a pile of junk and will be discarded in due course.
Look and see, those who are not caught up in following the trends, most of which is undergirded by so call scientific research, have a tendency to live a more satisfying and fulfilling lives.
While those who sees it as something just crave more of the same while achieving very little.
I broadly agree with kess. except that new discoveries, genuinely new rather than just a souped up better version of anything, are quite rare. Most of the Industrial Revolution was because of the invention of steam power, then electricity made possible all the current toys.
Given that the mechanisation available with steam and electicity made it possible to devestate Europe twice, I am not so sure we really want to rush to the next big discovery.
When a particular scientific field reaches its limitations it fails to survive over time. From that point of view, parts of science already have reached its limitations. However there are plenty more aspects opening to us each & everyday which has unlimited potential & sky touching promises. Look at AI, nuclear science, optical science, nanotechnology, animal clonning - human clonning & plenty others. Such fields are opening new doors for science & science is bringing such new fields to us each & everyday. I dont think we are ready to define the boundaries & limitations of science yet.
alternate poet wrote
I broadly agree with kess
- - - - - - - - - -
I also agree with alternate poet on that issue.
Scientific discoveries have advancing so fast that it just might have passed over a couple of avenues that when they examine the trail on which they have been, new questions to be answered might arise.
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