Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Michael Brooks' "13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time" (Steak Knives)

This is another that I had in the back of my head as something to eventually get to.  Finding it for about $3 in Florida made picking this up a no-brainer.

Brooks' "13 Things That Don't Make Sense" is broken into 13 (of course) distinct chapters, each addressing a different 'open question' that remains to established contemporary science.  He evokes Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" to help set the tone for how each of these 'problems' *might* point to or lead to revolutions or great leaps forward in the various sub-disciplines he touches on - from physics/astronomy to medicine and psychology.  He manages to stitch each of these problems together in a more or less logical flow, from 'large scale' (e.g. anti/dark matter) to the more 'modest' (e.g. homeopathy).  While this was a sensible organization, the result for me was that it started out very strong and fascinating, but the deeper I got into the content, the less interesting and riveting it became.  By the end, I was just hoping to finish up with the book so I could move on to the next.

Still, the first half of the book *was* riveting, and well worth the time.  Maybe this is something to borrow, or simply put down part way through.  Perhaps 'cherry pick' chapters based on your own interest (after all, maybe the placebo effect and homeopathy are more your flavour than the cosmic)?

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