13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries of Our Time

3.8
Science starts to get interesting when things do n't make sense.

Even today there are experimental results that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss. In the past, similar anomalies have revolutionised our world: in the 19th century, a set of celestial irregularities led Copernicus to realise that the Earth goes around the sun and not the reverse. In 13 Things That Do n't Make Sense Michael Brooks meets thirteen modern-day anomalies that may become tomorrow 's breakthroughs.

Is ninety six percent of the universe missing? If no study has ever been able to definitively show that the placebo effect works, why has it become a pillar of medical science? Was the 1977 signal from outer space a transmission from an alien civilization? Spanning fields from chemistry to cosmology, psychology to physics, Michael Brooks thrillingly captures the excitement and controversy of the scientific unknown.
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Publication Date
Published February 4th 2010 by Profile Books (first published August 11th 2009
Original Title of the Book
13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time
Number of Pages
210

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gave it

It turns out that when Einstein made his famous remark about God 's not playing dice with the universe, Niels Bohr was there to deliver a brilliant slapdown.

gave it

Several things that don ’ t make senseI worried about starting this book – worried much more than I ought to have worried – but worried nonetheless.

I was caught on the orns of a problem, either this guy was going to be some fruit-cake with a pocket full of god, or crystals, or vials for aromatherapy or he was going to be an irrationalist of the modern philosophy of science types ( see Popper or Kuhn or their monster child Feyerabend) who see all science as devoid of objective reality and awaiting a great and new story-teller ( such as a Newton, Einstein or Copernicus) to provide us with the next great paradigm in the endless sequence of shifts in the partial truths that scientific theories inevitably turn out to be.But this book was othing like this – and I can only recommend it whole-heartedly.

However, facts are stubborn things and now and again our investigations throw up something that simply doesn ’ t fit with accepted theories.

In certai cases the scientific community has one of three choices – ignore the fact ( always a favourite), get it to fit into the established paradigm ( tweak it) or jettison our established theories and start again ( always the last choice – and a bloody good thing too!) .Well, not that we ever actually do the last one, not anymore.

I ’ m not talking about supposed problems with our theories – you know, how they don ’ t account for auras or Feng Shui – but stuff real scientists have found and can ’ t explain.For a long time I ’ ve been an on again/ off again reader of New Scientist.

But one of the articles that I read years ago that fascinated me and that I never heard about again is discussed in this ook – the problem with the Pioneer missions.

I for one am looking forward to learning how these problems described in this novel are resolved.I ’ ve only found out after reading this ook that the author writes for New Scientist and based this book on an article he wrote in New Scientist called 13 Things that Don ’ t Make Sense.

A while ago I started reading a book called I Don ’ t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist and stopped because, well, the residents who wrote that book just didn ’ t know enough about science or atheism to make any competent assessment of what they were talking about.

That said, if Homeopathy is proven to work it will be the one that will most shift our paradigms – and then some.The New Scientist article this book was based on can be found here: ttp: //space.newscientist.com/article ...

gave it

Walters in this book highlights some of the hings we do n't know and/or that do n't really makes sense.

While personally I prefer nonfiction written with more personality and a humorous approach if possible, Brooks' MO is a more serious, personality free ( until the epilogue) approach, but it still made for a pretty decent read about our ineffable mysterious world.

gave it

Each topic leads to the first in a very logical way, too.The topic selections are all interesting: life on Eart, the ‘ wow ’ signal, discrepancies about universal constants… It may not all be of interest to every reader, but it ’ s a good selection of scientific mysteries and frontiers.

gave it

And these can be surprisingly hard to change.Brooks refers to Kuhn 's idea that science changes by paradigm shifts.

So add to the 13 things in Brooks' book the curious timidity of many scientists to do research into or to report facts in areas which seem outlandish or contrary to conventional wisdom.

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