Two Grand Questions of Science

Science is mainly for the improvement of the human life. Every discovery made, every advancement done, hold a promise in being used in a due time for the improvement of life, life preservation or the preservation of beliefs of certain lifeforms. But there are two questions that have much greater and intellectually superior importance for us.
Actually, many hardcore physicists believe that the question is only one - how and why the Universe has formed - and this can be answered by physics only. Some more radical brains go even further stating that the unified theory, if finalized, is the key to everything. It will literally explain everything that existed, exists or yet to exist in our Universe. With all my respect to the importance of the theory of everything, I would argue that there is another question, which will never be answered by the theory of everything. That is the question of life.
No theory operating from the level of elementary particles will ever be practically capable of getting to the point of explaining life formation and complexity emergence in lifeforms’ information processing workflow. That is because the purely bottom-to-top approach in solving such a question requires a computational power that is simply impossible to ever exist and a computational time comparable to the lifetime of the Universe. Suppose we create a supercomputer that can do as much operations in a second as to simulate one-second existence of the Universe. This actually means that the number of operations the computer should do within that second must still be substantially greater than the unimaginably great number of particles in the whole Universe. The resulting computer will still require a time equal to the age of the Universe to simulate its present state with all its content. In a way, that computer will be just another Universe, only perhaps much bigger in size. This reminds me “The Last Question” of Asimov, where the humanity answers the question of questions only after merging with each other and with the whole materia, thus becoming the Universe itself. In fact, we can consider the current original Universe as the simplest possible device of simulating the unified theory of everything in full detail. So why to build one if we already have the “portable” version?
And here is where life sciences, coupled with the techniques of biophysics and mathematical modeling, shine. Here the approach is to look at the ongoing “simulation” of the Universe, that is to look at the existing Universe, more specifically to its triumph - life - and, not knowing what was the very initial cause or the underlying core-theory, to decipher the secrets of life by top-to-bottom approach, occasionally iterating the research with bottom-to-top simulations but starting from much higher levels. Such research, besides bringing us closer to the answer of the question of life, provides humanity with myriads of practical benefits along its journey. Disease cures, life extension, better quality of life, extra abilities to match the environment to our needs, survival in the space, all these are from a small subset of benefits life sciences provide that we either enjoy or will soon do.
Hence, the grand questions that load the intelligent minds are two, the question of existence and the question of life. One is about the Universe/materia and the origin of their properties in general, the second is about our biological units and complex minds. Only with the leap-advancement in targeting both questions one can possibly make the rendezvous point and answer the underlying real Question of Questions, that is “What the hell am I doing here!

This is a blog entry in my personal blog page where I try to gather my notes, thoughts and tutorials on science, IT etc., after making them more readable. All the PDF versions of the notes deposited here can be downloaded through my home page ( | Blog). In case the blog entry is of general interest and you would like to include that in your medium (journal, blog, web-page etc...), feel free to do so, given that you notify me and do not alter the content and authorship.

The picture descriptions:
Hoag’s object (ring galaxy), from Wikipedia
A model of a cell magnified 5000 times, a picture taken by me from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.


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