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13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries | [Michael Brooks]

13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries

Science starts to get interesting when things don'’t make sense. Even today, there are experimental results that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss. In the past, similar anomalies have revolutionised our world: in the 16th century, a set of celestial irregularities led Copernicus to realise that the Earth goes around the sun and not the reverse. In 13 Things That Don'’t Make Sense, Michael Brooks meets thirteen modern-day anomalies that may become tomorrow'’s breakthroughs.
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Publisher's Summary

Science starts to get interesting when things don't make sense. Even today, there are experimental results that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss. In the past, similar anomalies have revolutionised our world: in the 16th century, a set of celestial irregularities led Copernicus to realise that the Earth goes around the sun and not the reverse.

In 13 Things That Don't Make Sense, Michael Brooks meets 13 modern-day anomalies that may become tomorrow's breakthroughs.

Is 96%of the universe missing? If no study has ever been able to definitively show that the placebo effect works, why has it become a pillar of medical science? Was the 1977 signal from outer space a transmission from an alien civilization? Spanning fields from chemistry to cosmology, psychology to physics, Michael Brooks thrillingly captures the excitement and controversy of the scientific unknown.

©2010 Michael Brooks (P)2011 Audible Ltd

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  •  
    Robert Patterson Calgary, AB Canada 09-14-11
    Robert Patterson Calgary, AB Canada 09-14-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too much non-science for my taste."

    I found myself rolling my eyes, quite a few times while listening to this. While talk of homeopathic succussion might be slightly interesting for a couple minutes, the author streched it out till it hurt. And he has an interesting take on cold fussion, but hardly a convincing story that anything about it was real. I found myself wanting to scream that scientists need to be held accountable for thier claims. If cold fusion appeared to happen, but could not be reliably reproduced, then that is what needs to be reported.

    If the title of this book appeals to you, I'd recommend you check out "Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You" or "Death by Black Hole".

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mr augustenborg, Denmark 03-06-13
    mr augustenborg, Denmark 03-06-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "If you want science dont bother"
    What would have made 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries better?

    Unfortunately the author does not seem to understand the "Scientific Method"


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    David Deutsch "The beginning of infinity"


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    The concept of the book is fine. Unfortunately it seems to have been written by someone without any science education. It rambles along with vagaries and then degenerates into an advertising promotion for Homeopathy

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Launceston, Australia 01-24-12
    Mark Launceston, Australia 01-24-12 Member Since 2010
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    "A good listen"

    I very much enjoyed this book. It provides an insightful review of some very intriguing subject matter and then poses relevant questions to make the listener ponder the discussed mysteries. While I was already aware of most of the topics discussed, the book provided much background detail of which I was previously unaware. This may not a book for everyone, but I can certainly say those of you with any curiosity regarding our world will enjoy it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hilde Bergen, Norway 10-07-12
    Hilde Bergen, Norway 10-07-12 Member Since 2010

    Norwegian, creatomaniac and a lover of fantasy and adventure audiobooks. I usually put one on while I am making whatever takes my fancy.

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    "my favourit audiobook"

    I listen to all from biographys, humor to fantasy, but I allways find myself returning to this book.
    The information is interresting and given in such a way as not being to boring or dry, I find.
    I didnt know about dark matter, the mystery of death or many of the other mysteries here, and I truely enjoyed it.

    Recomended to lightly science interrested people, who also want to be enterteined, like me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andre Lima Sao Paulo, Brazil 06-05-12
    Andre Lima Sao Paulo, Brazil 06-05-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Are you sure?"
    What did you love best about 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries?

    Discussions around the challenges in life sciences, like characterizing life, placebo effect and homeopathy.


    What other book might you compare 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries to and why?

    The Next Fifty Years, edited by John Brockman.


    Have you listened to any of Matt Addis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, I did not. But he was really great.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    This book goes like 13 different movies ...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deidre rockwood, ON, Canada 02-20-12
    Deidre rockwood, ON, Canada 02-20-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting information"

    The writer sets the scene for each mystery with stories highlighting the work of a variety of scientist. The stories are interesting and full of details. Some of the details of the research discussed became a bit technical and dry such as the section on viruses and lost my interest until the next mystery was introduced. Some sections weren’t new to me such as the material on dark matter but I had no real knowledge on homeopathy and found that section particularly interesting. All in all a good listen with lots on details to create good images in your mind and to further your knowledge.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-28-11
    12-28-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Well worth a listen!"
    Would you listen to 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries again? Why?

    Yes! I actually listened through the whole book, and when it completed, it looped back to the beginning... and I found myself gladly listening through for a second time! Michael Brooks delves into the history behind the science with a wit and style that reminds me of Bill Bryson! To me that's a huge compliment! If you enjoyed


    What did you like best about this story?

    The Author brings to light many interesting anomolies found in our world... things you may never have thought of, and presents them for you to ponder. I was surprised to find that one of my favorite parts of the book was the anomolly of death. We seem to take for granted that our bodies age and degrade over time... but did you ever consider that this is something we evolved? And how can you not be fascinated by the placebo effect? It surprises me to learn how little we really know about it! And... why are the Pioneer space craft veering off course? Is there something we don't know about gravity? If you're like me, these mysteries will excite you, and get you thinking.


    Have you listened to any of Matt Addis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I had never listened to Matt Addis prior to this audio book... but his narration was superb! His voice seemed perfectly matched to the author's writing style. His performance made the material and the book even better.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is for the curious and open minded. Yes, some subjects will be more interesting than others, depending where your interests lie. But I only remember struggling through a small section of the book... and now that I'm writing this review, I can't remember what it was.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results
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  • Lillian
    Paignton, United Kingdom
    3/27/11
    Overall
    "Really interesting listen!"

    I would thoroughly recommend this audiobook. It was interesting, fairly balanced and used a rigorous scientific approach to look at some of the more interesting unsolved questions in science.

    However, I do feel that some level of basic understanding of science and the scientific process would be helpful for those listening to this. The author pitches this at a reasonably high level.

    The narrator is very good and reads this well.

    Overall, a pleasure - particularly for those of us with a scientific background or an enquiring turn of mind.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    4/5/11
    Overall
    "Superbly Read"

    At last a book that has taught me the difference between Dark Matter and Dark Energy! This is a book that really brings to life some complicated and difficult areas of scientific understanding. I think it is pitched at a good level, you might not understand all of it (I certainly didn't, some of the mathmatical reasoning went beyond me), but it does not detract from the overall enjoyment.

    It is not all quantum theory, there are lots of biological ideas as well as phiosophical ones. It is also really well read by Matt Addis, beautifully paced and clear. Highly recommended.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Meddyg Pwy
    3/14/11
    Overall
    "13 Things Made Into Complete Sense!"

    I highly recommend Michael Brooke's book about the patently absurd within our midst. The things in life that really don't make sense in science yet still elude clear explanation.
    This books strength is making often complex postulation into complete sense to me as a reader. Brooks makes his statements in an entertaining & above all accessible fashion.
    The biggest compliment that I can give is that Brooks writes in a fashion akin to a hero of mine Carl Sagan. Whilst using his own style he challenges the scientific status quo with great aplomb & I dare say with a little glee too! From telling us one moment that the medical industry are pulling the wool over our eyes to telling us that were short changed on human reproduction! As professional & as solid as his claims are you cannot help to read between the lines to see the enthusiasm in his arguments. Which besides being deeply thought provoking is thoroughly entertaining.
    Matt Addis's narration is enjoyable & an appropriate choice for this audiobook. It is a weighty tomb coming in at a running time of over 8hrs but highly recommended & it will forever challenge your concept of the universe.

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Gareth
    Eastbourne, United Kingdom
    5/11/12
    Overall
    "Annoying"

    I felt a bit tricked by this book. The last chapter is about homeopathy, and essentially comes to the conclusion that there's "something in it" (pun not intended). Falling with my area of expertise, I can clearly see that in this chapter that the author puts far too much emphasis on extremely dubious, speculative and sometimes completely discredited pseudo-science. This is especially annoying given the homeopathy chapter comes after the chapter on the placebo effect!

    All this leaves me wondering of the author has been so cavalier and credulous with the facts throughout the earlier chapters, the subjects of which which I am much less familiar with. Have I just listened to an interesting scientific take on current lack of understanding about dark matter and our current understanding of physics, or just a load of clap trap about things that aren't actually science?

    28 of 30 people found this review helpful
  • Adrian
    Balham, London, United Kingdom
    4/16/11
    Overall
    "A Fascinating Journey of Oddities"

    Michael Brooks has taken 13 widespread areas of science with large pitfalls for the armchair scientist (or interested layperson) and given a fair and honest account of those problems where science doesn't (currently!) quite work. Fascinating subjects such as the origin of death and the beginning of life are covered in both history and science, giving fantastic insight to those looking to expand their base of scientific knowledge. Along the way, Brooks manages to inspire the purest scientific notions into subjects such as Homoeopathy, traditionally almost a 'dirty word' with scientists, reminding us that science explores and understands, and must change if met with reasonable doubt, even if the changes can be unpleasant.

    Overall, a fascinating book with some very interesting and thought provoking moments that may cause you to ask fundamental questions about life, the universe and everything. Expect to take a little time to process the information; this book isn't one to fall asleep to. This audiobook also has a clear narration, and was a pleasure to listen to.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Harrogate, United Kingdom
    7/4/11
    Overall
    "Challenging, but worth it."

    Enthusiastically and clearly read, this book is challenging in places, even for those with a reasonable background in science, but not to the extent that it spoils the overall effect. I felt I learned a lot from it and am tempted to listen to it all again.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    HERTFORD, United Kingdom
    8/21/12
    Overall
    "Some troublesome errors"

    As a scientist myself I find it interesting how others communicate difficult ideas to the public. The secret is to find away to simplify the subject without losing the core detail and keeping the wonder. I also have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about making sure their are no factual errors.

    However, I have spotted a number of errors in this work. Some are clearly due to the work becoming rapidly dated as we begin to solve some of these problems. However, others are just simple errors (for example thinking M13 is a galaxy when in fact it is a globular cluster).

    I'm also concerned about the homeopathy chapter. There appears to be no effect other than placebo and stating otherwise is at best misguided and at worse could cause someone stopping their medication in exchange for a homeopathic alternative.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Jinnie
    Langstone, United Kingdom
    6/17/11
    Overall
    "Superb layman's guide"

    This is the best book on the cutting-edge issues about the big controversies in current science that I have ever 'read'. If you enjoy reading the New Scientist as a layman, you will find this easy yet stimulating to listen to. It is an excellent discussion of the existing limits to our scientific knowledge. I disagree with the review that says it is 'dry' and boring. I recommend it!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wayne
    Bargoed, United Kingdom
    5/21/11
    Overall
    "Great for Debates"

    From Dark Matter to Quantum Theory to Life and the Placebo Effect, the author provides a critique of the strengths and weaknesses behind current explanations of these and other cutting edge topics. There’s no offer of new theories or explanations, instead this book explores the current thinking behind some of the biggest questions being tackled by science today, and in doing so provides an excellent summary of the subject matter. This, for me, was the books strength. Whilst there’s no new information on the subjects covered, the way the author explains the theories, provides an excellent guide to their understanding.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Philip
    Croydon, United Kingdom
    4/8/13
    Overall
    "A good listen, but not brilliant"

    While this book is interesting, quite a lot of it is just "filler" to make the book larger - the constant wandering off subject, the fact that some of them don't NEED to make sense (Quantum Physics for one), and the amount of background unrelated information that's given just gets boring at times



    The book should have been done as an abridged version to trim out the fat, because the book itself just has a lot of wasted stuff that you just don't need to know, or is interesting but overall unrelated to the main topic



    If you have a spare credit and want something that is full of information, but you'll probably only ever listen to once, this is the book for you - I found myself listening while doing other things, so it was like background noise rather than something I'd concentrate on

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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