To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.
This is the theme of The Edge Foundation, which was launched in 1996. It is an online, informal gathering of intellectuals that encourages and facilitates discussions on deep topics. Every year a new "annual question" is posed. This year, 192 intellectuals have responded to this question: What is your favorite deep, elegant or beautiful question?
Here is the explanation for this question as posted on The Edge's website: Scientists' greatest pleasure comes from theories that derive the solution to some deep puzzle from a small set of simple principles in a surprising way. These explanations are called "beautiful" or "elegant". Historical examples are Kepler's explanation of complex planetary motions as simple ellipses, Bohr's explanation of the periodic table of the elements in terms of electron shells, and Watson and Crick's double helix. Einstein famously said that he did not need experimental confirmation of his general theory of relativity because it "was so beautiful it had to be true."
To read all 192 responses, go to The Edge Foundation's website at http://edge.org/annual-question, where you can also sign up to receive Edge.org by email.