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13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries of Our Time Paperback – 5 Feb 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Paperback, 5 Feb 2009
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Product details

  • Paperback: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (5 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861978170
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861978172
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 779,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


This entertaining and often provocative book examines such mysteries as dark matter and dark energy, the prospect of life on Mars, sex and death, free will and the placebo effect, among other head-scratchers...The book is at its best when Brooks throws himself into the action. He undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to test the assumption that he has free will, and subjects himself to electric shocks for a placebo-response test...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 2008-10-22)

Entertaining... engagingly written... a worthwhile read for budding explorers of new worlds (Jon Turney Independent 2009-02-11)

Odd data clusters are crime scenes, over which Brooks combs with the reassuring casualness of an expert... to provide riveting cliffhangers of scientific detection... admirable (Steven Poole Guardian 2009-02-14)

Fascinating, bang-up-to-date... Like all the best science popularisers, Brooks reawakens us to the astonishing fact of our mere existence, the strangeness of the world around us, and the astonishing amount that science has yet to discover (Christopher Hart Sunday Times 2009-02-15)

Buy yourself a copy, and prepare yourself to be entertained and challenged in equal measure (Robert Matthews BBC Focus 2009-02-02)

Brooks expertly works his way through... hotly debated quandaries in a smooth, engaging writing style reminiscent of Carl Sagan or Stephen Jay Gould. At times, as I was deeply engrossed in parts of this book, I found myself as captivated and wide-eyed as I was decades ago when I picked up my first science books and found my calling. Mr Brooks has the ability to make his readers forget their surroundings - in my case a hectic newsroom - and train their minds' eyes on images as foreign as a vast Martian landscape or as distant as a roiling, infant universe. Every mystery is brought to life in vivid detail, and wit and humor are sprinkled throughout (Anahad O'Connor, author of NEVER SHOWER IN A THUNDERSTORM New York Times Science Times)

WOW! is one of the things that Michael Brooks includes here - it is the signal from space that may have come from an alien civilization - but it's also the way I feel about this book's magical mystery tour. 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. Strap yourself in and prepare for a WOW! of an experience (Richard Ellis, author of THE EMPTY OCEAN and TUNA: A Love Story Story)

Excellent... Brooks is breezy and fun - always readable and never dull... each chapter is a little vessel of delights... Deserves to be up there as one of the best popular science books of 2008/9. Recommended ( 2009-02-18)

Sensational... pitch-perfect... The ideas in his book are dizzying (Simon Ings Sunday Telegraph 2009-02-22)

Brooks is an exemplary science writer. His explanations have the sort of clarity you often yearn for when you about science, but rarely find. I'm relatively ignorant when it comes to science. But now I feel I can discuss complex things... This is the sort of science book one always hopes for. Learned, but easy to read. Packed with detail, but clear. Reading it will make you feel clever (William Leith Daily Telegraph 2009-03-28)

Like Indiana Jones in a lab coat, Brooks throws himself energetically into the search and comes back with first-hand news from the wild frontiers of weird science (Iain Finlayson Saga 2009-03-01)

Sparklingly written... Brooks' enthusiasm is infectious (Times Higher Education)

A fascinating read... This clear-eyed book is a refreshing insight (Big Issue)

Whether we believe we're stardust or nuclear waste, this book keeps us hooked... Brooks grapples with no less than what he perceives as the most intriguing scientific mysteries of our times (Anita Sethi Independent on Sunday 2009-12-13)

Book Description

Will we ever find the ninety-six percent of the universe that is missing? Will tomorrow bring an answer to the scientific mysteries of today? While taking readers on an entertaining tour d'horizon of today's strangest scientific findings, Michael Brooks argues that the things we don't understand are the key to what we are about to discover.

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