Open Questions

In science the questions are more important than the answers

The open question format aims at publishing scientific ideas, problems, and questions, that have not been adressed yet. On two pages at most you have the chance to inspire the scientific community with questions that you think are important. Your contribution will not be peer reviewed but published asap on our website.

An Open Question can have a length of 2 pages at most in the given template!

We invite you to discuss the open questions by leaving comments, remarks and ideas. Leave a Reply!

Aug 232012

Wolter Seuntjens

Dutch Academy of ’Pataphysics, Amsterdam

JUnQ, 3, 1,Open Questions, 1-4, 2013 (Received 06.06.2012, accepted 27.06.2012, published online 23.08.2012)

In the 1950s five books on sexology — in a broad sense — were published in German under the name of ‘Carl van Bolen’. However, the man and the author ‘Carl van Bolen’ never existed. Who then wrote the books? My preliminary investigation did not yield an answer. In fact, during my research the mystery only deepened.

Read more: [download id=”40″]

Jul 022012

Sascha Henninger, University of Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany

Journal of Unsolved Questions, 2, 2, Open Questions, 10, 2012 (Received 29.05.2012, accepted 22.06.2012, published online 02.07.2012)

The initial research objective was to capture the metabolic heat flux, the heat given off by people’s bodies, in order to determine if it exerts a lasting influence on the air temperature of a space crowded with people comparable to a sold-out stand of a football stadium. …

Read more: [download id=”38″]

Jun 212012

Thorsten Kahl, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe-Universitaet, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Journal of Unsolved Questions, 2, 2, Open Questions, 7, 2012 (Received 21.03.2012, accepted 07.05.2012, published online 21.06.2012)

This open question emerged from a footnote I wrote questioning the Spartan civil and political rights in archaic times. Plutarch’s biography of Lykurgos soon became my main source because he describes details about archaic Sparta which can barely be found in other authors’ works. This makes Plutarch indispensable for me. But it is also a problem in source of criticism because we cannot verify or falsify Plutarch’s Life of Lykurgos by comparing it to contemporary, archaic sources – there are none. …

Read more: [download id=”36″]

Mar 312012

Wolter Seuntjens, Dutch Academy of ‘Pataphysics, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Journal of Unsolved Questions, 2, 2, Open Questions, 4, 2012 (Received 05.02.2012, accepted 27.03.2012, published online 31.03.2012)

In the German language, when referring to an artistic representation of a naked human body, the noun ‘Akt’

is employed. This word was not always used to denote such an artistic representation. The combination of

questions – (1) when, (2) where, (3) by whom, and (4) why was the noun ‘Akt’ first used in this particular

meaning – was the starting point of my quest. This article chronicles the inception of the problem and the

vain attempts to solve it. In short, it is the story of the ‘null result’ of ‘Akt’ research, so far.

Read more: [download id=”35″]

Dec 032011

Christof Troeltzsch, Bliesenrader Weg 5, Born/Darss, Germany

Journal of Unsolved Questions, 2, 1, Open Questions, 3, 2011 (Received November 3rd 2011, accepted November 25th 2011, published December 3rd 2012)

While working on the doctoral thesis about chelates of zirconium and hafnium – cf. [1] for preparation of the ligands and [2] for preparation of the chelates – we made an observation which could not be explained and therefore was only described in the doctoral thesis of Christof Troeltzsch, Leipzig, 1960, in the following way: ….

Read more: [download id=”30″]

Oct 032011

Michael Kurz, Naturkundliche Gesellschaft, Hallein, Austria (e-mail:

Journal of Unsolved Questions, 2, 1, Open Questions,1-2, 2011 (Received August 25th  2011, accepted September 4th 2011, published September 28th 2011)

If one looks at the stars, it seems astonishing that their velocities as well as those of galaxies are negligible compared to light velocity after almost 14 billion years of gravitation and expansion of the universe. In fact, it seems that there is a very fine tuning between these two cosmic phenomena….

Read more: [download id=”28″]

Jul 232011

Lan Cheng

Institute of Physical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Staudinger Weg 9, D-55128 Mainz, Germany
Journal of Unsolved Questions, 1, 2, Open Questions, 12-15, 2011 (Received July 18th  2011, accepted July 20th 2011, published July 23rd 2011)

Go (’weiqi’ in Chinese and ’igo’ in Japanese) [1] is an ancient board game originating from China that has been widely played in east Asia. Nowadays Go is being more and more popular throughout the world. In contrast to many other strategic games including chess that have been con- quered by modern computers many years ago, Go remains a formidable challenge to artificial intelligence [2] due to the enormous branching factors of the game tree and, perhaps more importantly, the lack of proper evaluation criteria…

[download id=”25″]

Keywords: Go, branching factors, artifical intelligence

Jul 232011

Wolter Seuntjens, Karolina Hansen

Dutch Academy of ’Pataphysics, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
Journal of Unsolved Questions, 1, 2, Open Questions, 15-16, 2011 (Received July 19th  2011, accepted July 21st 2011, published July 23rd 2011)

Theory of mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own[1]. There is controversy over the question whether animals other than humans have a ToM. The question is important when assessing the status of humans within the animal kingdom. The social tool of faked orgasm seems to be unique to human beings and thus it is a strong test for the demarcation of human versus animal…

[download id=”26″]

Keywords: Theory of Mind, deception, orgasm, bonobo

Jul 182011

Leonie Anna Mueck and Johannes Heymer

Institute of Physical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Staudinger Weg 9, D-55128 Mainz, Germany
Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen
Journal of Unsolved Questions, 1, 2, Open Questions, 10-12, 2011 (Received June 25th 2011, accepted July 14th 2011, published July 18th 2011)

“That for which nearly a year had been Vrosnky’s sole and exclusive desire , supplanting all his former desire: That for which Anna had been impossible, dreadful, but all the more betwiching dream of happiness, had come to pass. Pale, with trembling lower jaw, he stood over her, entreating her to be calm, himself not knowing how nor why. … `It’s all over?, she said. `I have nothing but you left. Remember that.?”[1]

Anna Karenina is one of the most prominent and at the same time most tragic adulterers in world literature. What begins as passionate but forbidden love between her and Alexey Vronsky leads to years of ostracism and finally reaches its climax in Anna Karenina’s suicide. In the above scene, where the sexual aspect  of their relationship cannot be overlooked, Anna Karenina already foretells her fate:  “It’s all over”.

The novel is a grand example of  how individuals are torn apart between the social imperative of monogamy and their intrinsic passions. Monogamy is indeed a puzzling social construct, since there seem to be two incompatible souls in us: Our wish for intimacy, consistency, and security on the one hand and our adventurous desires on the other. Some scientists interpret these two souls in a way that suggests that our own evolutionary biology is in conflict with norms and imperatives imposed on us by society and culture. […]

[download id=”23″]

Keywords: Epidemiology, History of Sexuality

May 082011

U.B. Lushchyk, V.V. Novytskyy

Clinical Hospital “Feofaniya” and Institutes for Mathematics of NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine

Journal of Unsolved Questions, 1, 2, Open Questions, 8-9, 2011 (Received March 29th 2011, published online May 8th 2011)

The cardiovascular system (CVS) is an essential component in  human health, as the background level of functioning of nearly all organs and systems depends on the blood supply level. It is of a very complicated dynamic mechanism by a type of the closed system of connecting vessels with variable parameters in all its structural segments – heart, vascular walls, as well as intravascular fluid – blood.

Read more: [download id=”20″]

Keywords: cardiovascular system, cardiovascular diseases, hydrohemodynamic laws, Non-Newton liquid