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13 Things that Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time

13 THINGS THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE: THE MOST BAFFLING SCIENTIFIC MYSTERIES OF OUR TIME

by: Brooks, Michael
Format: Paperback

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Product Description Spanning disciplines from biology to cosmology, chemistry to psychology to physics, Michael Brooks thrillingly captures the excitement of scientific discovery.Science’s best-kept secret is this: even today, thereare experimental results that the most brilliant scientists cannot explain. In the past, similar “anomalies” have revolutionized our world. If history is any precedent, we should look to today’s inexplicable results to forecast the future of science. Michael Brooks heads to the scientific frontier to confront thirteen modern-day anomalies and what they might reveal about tomorrow’s breakthroughs. Review “This elegantly written, meticulously researched and thought-provoking book provides a window into how science actually works, and is sure to spur intense debate.” – New Scientist “A boundless enthusiasm resounds through this homage to the outstanding problems of science.” – Seed Magazine “You will be amazed and astonished you when you learn that science has been unable to come up with a working definition of life, why death should happen at all, why sex is necessary, or whether cold fusion is a hoax or one of the greatest breakthroughs of all time.” –Richard Ellis, author of The Empty Ocean and Tuna: A Love Story “Fascinating. . . . Brooks expertly works his way through . . . hotly debated quandaries in a smooth, engaging writing style reminiscent of Carl Sagan or Stephen Jay Gould.” –Anahad O'Connor, author of Never Shower in a Thunderstorm About the Author Michael Brooks, who holds a PhD in quantum physics, is an editor at New Scientist. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, Independent, Observer, Times Higher Educational Supplement, and even Playboy. He is a regular speaker and debate chair at the Science Festival in Brighton, UK. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. 1 THE MISSING UNIVERSE We can only account for 4 percent of the cosmos The Indian tribes around the sleepy Arizona city of Flagstaff have an interesting take on the human struggle for peace and harmony. According to their traditions, the difficulties and confusions of life have their roots in the arrangement of the stars in the heavens--or rather the lack of it. Those jewels in the sky were meant to help us find a tranquil, contented existence, but when First Woman was using the stars to write the moral laws into the blackness, Coyote ran out of patience and flung them out of her bowl, spattering them across the skies. From Coyote's primal impatience came the mess of constellations in the heavens and the chaos of human existence. The astronomers who spend their nights gazing at the skies over Flagstaff may find some comfort in this tale. On top of the hill above the city sits a telescope whose observations of the heavens, of the mess of stars and the way they move, have led us into a deep confusion. At the beginning of the twentieth century, starlight passing through the Clark telescope at Flagstaff's Lowell Observatory began a chain of observations that led us to one of the strangest discoveries in science: that most of the universe is missing. If the future of science depends on identifying the things that don't make sense, the cosmos has a lot to offer. We long to know what the universe is made of, how it really works: in other words, its constituent particles and the forces that guide their interactions. This is the essence of the "final theory" that physicists dream of: a pithy summation of the cosmos and its rules of engagement. Sometimes newspaper, magazine, and TV reports give the impression that we're almost there. But we're not. It is going to be hard to find that final theory until we have dealt with the fact that the majority of the particles and forces it is supposed to describe are entirely unknown to science. We are privileged enough to be living in the golden age of cosmology; we know an enormous amount about how the cosmos came to be, how it evolved into its current state, an

Details

Product Code: 9780307278814
ISBN: 0307278816
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2009-08-11
Number of Pages: 256 pages
Languages: English
Edition: Reprint
Dimension: 5.2 x 0.63 x 7.87 inches
Shipping Weight: 0.4 pounds