Michael Brooks, a PhD-holder in quantum physics, a journalist and now a consultant at NewScientist — a weekly magazine with nearly a million readers worldwide — is the author of the acclaimed book, 13 Things That Don't Make Sense.
Having spent a big portion of his life in the scientific world, Brooks discovers some scientists' best-kept secrets and accumulatively investigates more than a dozen “subjects” with many experimental results yet to be explained all this time.
In this well-researched and straightforwardly-presented nonfiction account, the unsolvable matters that Brooks discusses include the missing universe, the great mystery of how life came about, why sex reproduction doesn't line up with the evolutionary theory, and whether free will truly exists. These most likely frustrate scientists, but effectively entertain readers.
Although, having said that, perhaps the book seems interesting and exciting to the layman as the sciences only start grabbing attention when some things cannot be logically explained.
Throughout the book, Brooks poses paradoxes and questions expertly, providing readers with a fair, balanced view on each topic. The written language is elegant and clear, while the content is educative and thought-provoking. Even those who are not familiar with the “science talk” can still find the book fascinating and easy to understand.
However, despite its effort to add casual elements to the book, “non-fiction” seems too weak of a word to describe Brooks' work, as it often gives off a textbook-like feel, or an orderly compilation of 13 different college thesis papers. In addition, there are ultimately no solid answers; 13 unsolved puzzles still don't make sense. The book merely increases the number of baffled minds.
The knowledgeable book is packed with theories and overloaded with information that has opened a shut window to the field of science. Nevertheless, Brooks points out the existing “gray area” within the usual “black-or-white” world of science, from which many speculations are cultivated. On an ending note, it is almost refreshing to be reminded that scientists do not always have answers to everything, and that it is all right to be unconvinced by scientific theories.