For one thing, as far as I can tell, nobody knows how a magnet can move a piece of metal without touching it. And for another—more astonishing still, perhaps—nobody seems to care.
This information was not easy to come by. My copy of Electronics for Dummies now shares a shelf with Mathematics of Classical and Quantum Physics by Frederick Byron Jr. and Robert Fuller. Should a doctor at any point take a cross section of my brain, she will find patches of scarring and dead tissue, souvenirs of the time I pursued the mystery of magnetism across the 11-dimensional badlands of string theory. Students of human pathos may one day cherish the 16-minute recording of me, with my 100 percent positive-feedback rating as an eBay purchaser, failing to make renowned physicist Steven Weinberg, who won a Nobel for unifying electromagnetism with the so-called weak force, admit that he can’t explain how a magnet holds a dry-cleaning ticket to the door of a refrigerator.
But as far as I can tell—and isn’t the point of science that all its bigger propositions come accompanied by this noble caveat?—he really can’t.