The Big Questions series is designed to let renowned experts address the 20 most fundamental and frequently asked questions of a major branch of science or philosophy. Each 3000-word essay simply and concisely examines a question that has eternally perplexed enquiring minds, and provides answers from history's great thinkers. This ambitious project is a unique distillation of humanity's best ideas.
Michael Brooks, author of the acclaimed 13 Things That Don't Make Sense, holds a PhD in quantum physics. He is a journalist and broadcaster, and acts a physics and cosmology consultant to New Scientist magazine. He has lectured at Cambridge University, the American Museum of Natural History and New York University, and his writing has appeared in many national newspapers, including the Guardian, the Independent, the Observer and the Times Higher.