A best-selling book by the British writer Michael Brooks, “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense,” looks at the most intriguing scientific mysteries of our time, ranging from cold fusion and the ultimate fate of the universe, to the continuing quest for understanding dark matter and dark energy.
With a doctorate in quantum physics, the former noted editor of the New Scientist magazine included a chapter questioning the reliability of some common physical values that are held to be always fixed. Another section covered what was then known, a decade ago, as the “Pioneer Anomaly” for the two American sister space probes 10 and 11 that deviated from predicted accelerations, on their trajectories out of the solar system. These apparent aberrations in measurements would, by 2012, be explained, following careful reanalysis of the spacecraft’s inherent thermal radiation pressure forces, which found the cause to be mundane rather than any new phenomena. ….