Friday, September 23, 2011

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown

It takes a special person to discover something no one in our lifetimes has discovered – a new planet! – and then argue that his discovery isn’t the glorious thing everyone seems to think it is.  Mike Brown feels that Pluto, and therefore his planet Xena, don’t deserve the lofty designation of planet and is extremely pleased when his planet is demoted (along with Pluto) by the governing body of astronomy.  Why is Pluto demoted?  How was Pluto almost saved by tricky wording?  How are new planets and objects found in the far flung reaches of space?  All these questions and more are answered here.

While this book is mainly concerned with finding new planets and then demoting them, a lot more is covered here.  The way scientific discoveries are presented to the world, how telescopes work (and how a scientist gets time to use them), even how life sometimes gets in the way of science.  Brown’s engaging and light style will keep you reading and interested in the tumult of his personal life and his life as a gazer of wandering stars (otherwise known as planets).

The Non-Fiction Book Discussion group at the Bridgewater Library will be discussing How I Killed Pluto on Thursday, November 10th at 1pm.  If you would like to join the discussion please call 908-526-4016 x105 to sign up.