This is from the Introduction section of my book, Unraveling the Universe’s Mysteries. Enjoy!

The Twentieth Century stands as the golden age of science, yielding more scientific breakthroughs than any previous century. Yet, in the wake of all the scientific breakthroughs over the last century, profound mysteries emerged. To my eye, there appears a direct correlation between scientific discoveries and scientific mysteries. Often, it appears that every significant scientific breakthrough results in an equally profound mystery. I have termed this irony of scientific discovery the Del Monte Paradox, namely:

Each significant scientific discovery results in at least one profound scientific mystery.

I’ll use two examples to illustrate this paradox. For our first example, consider the discovery of the Big Bang theory. We will discuss the Big Bang theory in later chapters. For this discussion, please view it as a scientific framework of how the universe evolved. While the scientific community generally accepts the Big Bang theory, it is widely acknowledged that it does not explain the origin of the energy that was required to create the universe. Therefore, the discovery of the Big Bang theory left science with a profound mystery. Where did the energy originate to create a Big Bang? This is arguably the greatest mystery in science, and currently an area of high scientific focus. For the second example, consider the discovery we discussed above—the universe’s expansion is accelerating. This leaves us with another profound mystery. What is causing the universe’s expansion to accelerate? Numerous theories float within the scientific community to explain these mysteries. None has scientific consensus.

This book will investigate and provide insight on some of science’s greatest mysteries. Although there are numerous scientific mysteries, we will concentrate on three main “classes” of mysteries by section:

Section I: What Caused the Big Bang?

Section II: What Mysteries Still Baffle Modern Science?

Section III: Are We Alone?

All are highly active areas of scientific research, and bring us to the edge of scientific knowledge. All influence the direction scientific research is taking. One scientific breakthrough on any one of these mysteries could literally change the world of science.

The scientific community is not in complete consensus with numerous theories forwarded to address the mysteries. This is how it should be, since the theories reside on the edge of scientific knowledge. In a way, this is a righteous thing. Science moves forward via rigorous debate, experimentation, and independent validation of scientific findings and theories. All significant scientific theories have gone through this process. This is the scientific method. Remember that Einstein’s special theory of relativity, published in 1905, took about 15 years to gain acceptance by the majority of the scientific community (circa 1920). Here I’ll dispel a commonly held belief about Einstein. Most people have heard of Albert Einstein. They consider him one of the greatest scientists that ever lived. They believe that he jotted down equations, and created new theories, while working separate from the rest of the scientific community. This view of Einstein quietly working at his desk and dreaming up theories and equations is completely erroneous. Nothing could be further from the truth. Einstein let the experiments and observations of the scientific community guide his theoretical work. He cared deeply about the acceptance of his theories. In fact, in 1919, three years after publishing his general theory of relativity, he stated, “By an application of the theory of relativity to the taste of readers, today in Germany I am called a German man of science, and in England I am represented as a Swiss Jew. If I come to be regarded as a bête noire (black beast or a person strongly detested) the descriptions will be reversed, and I shall become a Swiss Jew for the Germans and a German man of science for the English!”

Einstein can rest in peace. Science holds the special theory of relativity as the golden standard, having withstood the rigor of over 100 years of scientific investigation. Elements of the general theory of relativity have also withstood vigorous investigation. To that point, scientists believe that other theories, such as string theory and dark energy, which we discuss in later chapters, needs to meet the same standards of scrutiny before they too can become scientific fact.

Scientific mysteries are intriguing. Almost everyone loves a good mystery. Unlike fiction, these mysteries are real. Their reality is wondrous and sometimes scary. This book will “unravel” each mystery by presenting the currently held scientific theories to explain the observed phenomena. However, in the absence of a viable scientific explanation, when possible I will propose an explanation based on original research. Regardless of the origin of the explanations, please understand, we are on the edge of science where scientific proof is elusive, and scientific consensus is rare. Therefore, consider all such theories with an open, but cautious mind. Nobel Laureate Max Born said, “I am now convinced that theoretical physics is actually philosophy.” Therefore, often the explanation will read like metaphysics or even science fiction. This is how life is on the edge of science, where mysteries abound.