How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

eBook - 2010
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The astronomer who inadvertently triggered the "demotion" of Pluto in his effort to officially recognize the solar system's tenth planet describes the ensuing debates and public outcry while revealing the behind-the-scenes story of his discovery.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385531092
0385531095
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xiii, 267 p.)
Call Number: eBook

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diannehildebrand
Jan 27, 2017

I absolutely loved this book. Written by the Caltech astronomer who discovered the "planet" past Pluto which led to Pluto and his new planet and all the other large round objects in the Kuiper belt being declared non-planets by the International Astronomical Union. A perfect blend of science and life, this book is very well written, funny and fun to read, plus you learn a lot about the solar system and the way astronomers work.

s
sayle
Jul 15, 2015

This is a delightful memoir of astronomer Mike Brown’s discovery of Eris, which helped seal Pluto’s fate, classification-wise. Brown weaves into his tale of scientific discovery the story of meeting his wife and of his daughter’s babyhood, which he approached scientifically, carefully measuring her sleep and eating. He also details the controversy over the discovery of Haumea and makes a convincing argument that another researcher unethically used Brown’s observational data to scoop Brown’s team on the discovery announcement. The book is engagingly written, including several laugh-out-loud moments, with scientific explanations that are very accessible to the lay reader. You’ll get a feel for what it’s like to be a planetary scientist on a day-to-day basis and to be a member of the professional astronomical community. Highly recommended.

ChristchurchLib Sep 22, 2014

"The provocative title of astronomer Mike Brown's memoir, How I Killed Pluto and Why it Had it Coming, refers to Brown's research that led to the International Astronomical Union's decision that Pluto is not a planet (it's now considered a dwarf planet). This engaging memoir is about more than science, though. While detailing his studies of the icy objects in orbit near Pluto, Brown relates the significance of the project, describes his calling as a scientist, and tells how he met the woman he would marry. " Biography and Memoir September 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/4d9a94c7-443c-40a7-a017-c9b011701dcd?postId=251ef700-1b07-4a42-b9b1-8e9e8cbbbd1a

Quimeras May 31, 2013

Overall, I found “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had Coming” to be an informative and enjoyable read. I especially liked learning about the process of discovery, classification, and naming of objects in space.

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efriedrichsen
Aug 24, 2012

Well written book about the debate surrounding Pluto and many other aspects of astronomy. Science writing as it should be; it can be read by those keenly aware of the topic just as easily as those casually interested in astronomy. What made it a great book for me were the (often humorous) departures into the author's personal life.

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bluebelle11
Mar 01, 2012

This is my kind of book. I've always loved astronomy and Pluto always had a special place in my heart so I was really upset when I learned that it had been demoted to dwarf planet. Reading this book totally explained to me why this decision had to be made.
Other than that, it was just a terrific read with humorous elements and the science was explained very well.

SuzieQ1 Jun 13, 2011

Fun read on what could be a boring subject -- but isn't.

Cdnbookworm May 17, 2011

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 now understand why Pluto isn't a planet and I'm okay with that.

g
Glenlan
Apr 22, 2011

This is a brilliant read for geeks and non-geeks alike. He tells the story very well.

vookad Feb 27, 2011

Mike Brown is a scientist who can write. He has taken a fairly dry issue and made a very human story out of it. This is a fun read and describes the astronomy without the use of higher math. Xena warrior princess, Internet intrigue and early childhood development pop up before it's all done.

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Cdnbookworm May 17, 2011

Cdnbookworm thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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