Synopses & Reviews
Ninety-six per cent of the universe is missing. The effects of homeopathy don't go away under rigorous scientific conditions. The laws of nature aren't what they used to be. Thirty years on, no one has an explanation for a seemingly intelligent signal received from outer space. The US Department of Energy is re-examining cold fusion because the experimental evidence seems too solid to ignore. The placebo effect is put to work in medicine while doctors can't agree whether it even exists.
In an age when science is supposed to be king, scientists are beset by experimental results they simply can't explain. But, if the past is anything to go by, these anomalies contain the seeds of future revolutions. While taking readers on an entertaining tour d'horizon of the strangest of scientific findings - involving everything from our lack of free will to Martian methane that offers new evidence of life on the planet - Michael Brooks argues that the things we don't understand are the key to what we are about to discover.
This mind-boggling but entirely accessible survey of the outer limits of human knowledge is based on a short article by Michael Brooks for New Scientist magazine, It became the sixth most circulated story on the internet in 2005, and provoked widespread comment and compliments (Google 13 things that do not make sense to see).
Michael Brooks has now dug deeply into those mysteries, with extraordinary results.
Spanning disciplines from biology to cosmology, chemistry to psychology to physics, Michael Brooks thrillingly captures the excitement of scientific discovery.Sciences 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 todays 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 tomorrows breakthroughs.
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.
Table of Contents
1 THE MISSING UNIVERSE
We can only account for 4 percent of the cosmos
2 THE PIONEER ANOMALY
Two spacecraft are flouting the laws of physics
3 VARYING CONSTANTS
Destabilizing our view of the universe
4 COLD FUSION
Nuclear energy without the drama
Are you more than just a bag of chemicals?
NASA scientists found evidence for life on Mars. Then they changed their minds.
7 THE WOW! SIGNAL
Has ET already been in touch?
8 A GIANT VIRUS
Its a freak that could rewrite the story of life
Evolutions problem with self-destruction
There are better ways to reproduce
11 FREE WILL
Your decisions are not your own
12 THE PLACEBO EFFECT
Whos being deceived?
Its patently absurd, so why wont it go away?
Notes And Sources