Talk:List of unsolved problems in physics

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Unsolved problems in : Note: Use the unsolved tag: {{unsolved|F|X}}, where "F" is any field in the sciences: and "X" is a concise "explanation" with or without links. The appropriate category tag will automatically be added.

Indirect Detection of Gravitational Waves[edit]

I have deleted the entry claiming that gravitational waves have been directly detected for the first time, as this is untrue. BICEP2 did not directly detect gravitational waves; it measured their influence on CMB polarization. The only prospect of a direct detection of gravitational waves is through interferometric methods, e.g. LIGO. Journalists this week are really skewering the science, but The Guardian gets it more right than "I Fucking Love Science", which is what was referenced for that claim. See:— Preceding unsigned comment added by 2607:f470:24:2:cc05:415f:b4d7:8728 (talk) 03:33, 23 March 2014

Editing / phrasing (for all categories)[edit]

In Color Confinement: "Why has there never been measured a free quark or gluon" Actually, nowadays top quarks are routinely observed standalone, decaying before having time to hadronize. The problem of confinement still holds but now it is known for a fact that there is not some hidden principle dictating that quarks be bound a priori. If one day I feel eloquent I'll change this appropriately, unless someone who can do that better gets there first :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

Inclusion criteria: should we bar items that aren't "major unsolved problems in physics"?[edit]

The article identifies the scope as "major unsolved problems in physics", but most items aren't sourced as such, and many of them seem dubious matches to that subjective criterion. The newest addition, 750 GeV diphoton excess, fits the scattershot pattern of existing entries. Some possible alternatives to fix it are:

1. Agree on the Talk page that the scope is "Unanswered questions in physics". Anything reported in the mainstream science media is suitable for inclusion.

2. Scope is "Major unanswered questions in physics". If there's disagreement about inclusion of an item, the includer needs to provide a citation that it's considered a major unanswered question in physics. This would be my personal preference because it's easy to determine what's suitable for inclusion.

3. Scope is something like "Major unsolved problems in physics", which is a higher bar than (2). Only robustly-observed phenomena currently considered problematic (that is, has no satisfactory explanation consistent within any mainstream model) are included. "What is the shape of the universe" would be unsuitable for inclusion as there are too many, rather than too few, reasonable models that fit existing observations. The diphoton excess would IMHO probably be unsuitable because, again, there are currently at least two non-problematic explanations, either "the LHC analyzers messed up" or "we will have to add a (possibly otherwise-unremarkable) 18th particle to the Standard Model, but we don't yet have enough information to determine much about it". I'm not sure how this would work in practice. This could make for a really interesting article (especially if each entry briefly touched on *why* the problem is puzzling), but it might be a pain to come to consensus on which items make the cut. Rolf H Nelson (talk) 04:06, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

  • Can you maybe give an example of a citation that would sufficiently satisfy everyone that an unsolved problem or an unanswered question is "major," because, as you said in your third point, your idea might be difficult to make work in practice. I do understand what you are saying, at least in general, but I don't really agree with the "problems" idea because it seems to me that that might narrow the focus of the article too much. JNeutrino (talk) 10:50, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Nothing ever satisifies everyone, but something labeled as 'major' in any mainstream media pop-science list should be sufficient. Rolf H Nelson (talk) 02:29, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
  • We are an encyclopedia, so (1) is the way to go. When the list becomes too big, we can WP:SPLIT along whatever lines are convenient. The topic is certainly notable.[1]
"Problem" and "question" are used pretty much interchangeably, so I'd be ok with either.
(2) "easy to determine what's suitable" I don't see how (2) would be easier than (1). In both cases we rely on the literature as inclusion criterion.
(3) "interesting article" I see no problem in starting with an interesting section, which can be split out when it becomes convenient.
Paradoctor (talk) 16:07, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Calculating Band-gaps[edit]

The reasoning behind accurate calculations of band-gaps and problems associated with this are not necessarily unknown and vary widely from system to system. To pose such a general question is ridiculous and exaggerated. Reasons for inaccuracies between theory and experiment can be multitudinous in scope and include such things as: stronger than anticipated coupling between layers, inconsistencies in lattice constants, low number of k-points in the calculations, possible doping in the experimental material, inconsistent assumptions as compared to the real system and really the list goes on and ultimately depends on the material you're working with. If the question is directed at a specific material and with good reasoning, it'd be much more appropriate. Otherwise, there are many materials where bandgaps can be reasonably calculated and compared with experiment.

Sterile neutrinos and reactor antineutrino anomaly[edit]

Hi all, should the reactor anomaly and sterile neutrinos be included in the list? it can fit after "Neutrino mass" and read:

Sterile Neutrinos 
Are there any neutrinos not carrying a weak charge? Do they participate in the neutrino oscillations?
Reactor Antineutrino Anomaly
How can be the reactor antineutrino anomaly can be explained?  — Preceding unsigned comment added by Troyaner (talkcontribs) 18:39, 14 August 2016 (UTC)