About Unsolved

We know what we know, but we don’t know what we don’t know.
And one reason (among many) is that scientific outreach typically concentrates on the successful discoveries of science, that have had the time to be digested by the community and can now be part of popular knowledge.
This is not surprising given how modern science is vast and fragmented: every classical discipline has split into many highly specialised directions. As a consequence it is difficult to give a simplified global picture of state-of-the-art research.

Surprisingly, however, many lines of research have a goal in common, so that the ultimate targets of scientific research are not so many, after all. For this reason, this project, instead of emphasising unquestionable achievement of science, aims at presenting it from this different perspective, revealing what we don’t know, the things that keep scientists awake at night, their weaknesses. We want to expose unsolved problems, gather the essential and most relevant long-term questions that drive science and present them in a self-contained resource that puts them into global perspective, and that can be readily understood by everybody, but that can also offer something new to those with a specific background.

A prospect on the future of research is necessary for teenagers to chose their careers, for taxpayers and politicians to know what they are investing in, and even for young academics, to appreciate a global picture of topics they are less familiar with. Theoretical physics is representative of a topic whose last 100 years of progress have not made it into general public knowledge, although superstring or quantum field theories are sometimes mentioned in science fiction movies. Yet, theoretical physics is mostly about posing the right questions and, moreover, it encompasses a wide variety of topics, including cosmology, particle physics, superconductors, physics of DNA and many more. For this reason, the UNSOLVeD project focuses at present on the topics addressed by physics, not much as a discipline, but more as a way of systematically approaching Nature.

UNSOLVeD will identify, through a collaboration with the leading researchers in the field, the most important open questions in physics, which will be processed into video-animations that will explain them in more detail. The video will be used to create a dialog with non-scientist, with particular target on high-school students.

UNSOLVeD was founded by Alexander Monin and Francesco Riva, theoretical physicists at the University of Geneva,  and is currently funded by an Agora grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Unsolved Team

Francesco Riva
Université de Genève
Co-Founder / Scientific Narrative

Alexander Monin
Université de Genève/EPFL
Co-Founder / Scientific Narrative


Luca Rechsteiner

Rinaldo Wirz
Realization / Animation


The content of Unsolved is inspired by the research of hundreds, and the perspective of:

Alex Pomarol
Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain

Antonio Riotto
Université de Genève, Switzerland

Brando Bellazzini
CEA, Université Paris Saclay, France

Frederic Mila
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

Gia Dvali
LMU Munich, Germany

Joao Penedones
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

John Marko
Northwestern University, USA

Juan Maldacena
Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies, USA

Julian Sonner
Université de Genève, Switzerland

Jürg Frölich
ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Kfir Blum
Weizmann Institute, Israel

Mikhail Shifman
University of Minnesota, USA

Misha Shaposhnikov
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

Paolo de los Rios
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

Riccardo Rattazzi
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

Slava Rychkov
IHES, France

Vitor Cardoso
Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal

Special Thanks to

Solomon Endlich
for sharing his enthusiasm and vision during the project’s founding.

Davide Gargantini
for web-site maintenance

Smart Cuts Video & Animation
for videos on Gravitational Waves and Black Holes