Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I think it was Feynman that suggested that you should always carry ten big problems around in your head, and when you encounter a new method, see whether this new method allows you to make progress on any of your problems. To prevent the answers becoming to unwieldy, I'll restrict the question here to condensed matter physics (if it proves useful, the same question can be asked for every branch of physics, or even physics in general).

So, what should be considered amongst the biggest outstanding problems in condensed matter physics today?

If possible, please accompany any answer with a short up-to-date technical review of the field.

share|cite|improve this question

closed as not constructive by dmckee May 11 '12 at 15:30

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I see this as a "lets make a list" question and am close it as such. The floor is open for arguments. Actually the floor is always open, but in this case I specifically invite them. – dmckee May 11 '12 at 15:30
@dmckee: I really like the question but of course a list does not fit this format. What about community wiki like our reference list of books? – Alexander May 11 '12 at 16:19
@Alexander Among my worries about these are that we would then get to do one for particle physics and one for nuclear physics and one for astrophysics and one for cosmology and so on ad nauseum. Is there a particular reason that you don't find the one that Nick linked so cover the need? – dmckee May 11 '12 at 16:25
Well, basically what we are trying to do is avoid accumulating a list of answers without a metric for correctness. So one thing you could do is ask for a review paper listing major open problems in condensed matter, and drop the tags big-list and soft-question in favor of reference-request. Other than that... these list questions are tricky because they can be fine as long as there are very few of them, but where do we set the boundary for "very few"? Perhaps we could work out some special exception for open problems questions as there currently is for book recommendations. – David Z May 15 '12 at 21:47