There's another problem with consciousness that I find even more puzzling. Not only do we realize our existence and perceive reality, but also we change (or at least we think we do) the physical world through our decision making. Surely the vast majority of us assume that the actions of our bodies result from our nonphysical consciousness rather than inflexible physical laws. While most of us never question this assumption, it seems to me that an assumption without evidence or counterevidence inherently has only a 50% chance of being accurate. It is quite possible that there is no such thing as free will, and no experiment has suggested that there is.
Perhaps what physicists must do is design an experiment that tests whether unexpected phenomena occur in the neurons of conscious organisms. If neurons behave precisely in accordance with the quantum mechanical laws of physics, do we have free will? It is also interesting to ponder whether consciousness is implicitly indicated when we discuss the "measurement" of a system collapsing it into eigenstates.
At any rate, I think the writeup above is too pessimistic. I believe that consciousness can be studied scientifically. Certainly the ties between consciousness and quantum mechanics are suggestive. For now, I feel that consciousness is far and away life's greatest mystery.
I apologize for the lack of facts. I feel that consciousness should be a new area of fact-finding research. Some neurological work has been done in this area, but I am unaware of fundamental science experiments on consciousness.