Saturday 30 April 2011

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

Finished April 29
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
When the official word of astronomers decided that Pluto wasn't a planet after all, I was upset. How could what I learned about the ninth planet be wrong? I said that Pluto would always be a planet to me.
Then I saw this book on the new shelf at work and decided to read more about it. Mike Brown, while not one who voted on the decision, definitely had a hand in the final outcome. He told us about his lifelong search for planets, and how he worked with other astronomers to keep trying to find planets beyond Pluto, all the while asking "What is a planet?". We learn about the struggles for an answer to that question and how there could be many different ways of looking at it. Brown lets us into both his personal life and his work life here and we see the different players, the astronomical community and how it works, and how he struggled with how to respond as each change occurred. He came across as a nice, earnest man and a good teacher. His explanations were very easily understood, without feeling like they had been simplified for us.
This book has changed and expanded my view on the planets and the other objects out there. I know understand why Pluto isn't a planet, and I'm okay with that.

1 comment:

  1. This counts toward my Global Reading Challenge in the Seventh Continent category (kind of funny given Brown's comments on continents in the book)