The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet [NOOK Book]

Overview

The New York Times bestseller: “You gotta read this. It is the most exciting book about Pluto you will ever read in your life.”—Jon Stewart

When the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History reclassified Pluto as an icy comet, the New York Times proclaimed on page one, “Pluto Not a Planet? Only in New York.” Immediately, the public, professionals, and press were choosing sides over Pluto’s planethood. Pluto is entrenched in our cultural and emotional view of the cosmos, and Neil ...
See more details below
The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 34%)$15.95 List Price

Overview

The New York Times bestseller: “You gotta read this. It is the most exciting book about Pluto you will ever read in your life.”—Jon Stewart

When the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History reclassified Pluto as an icy comet, the New York Times proclaimed on page one, “Pluto Not a Planet? Only in New York.” Immediately, the public, professionals, and press were choosing sides over Pluto’s planethood. Pluto is entrenched in our cultural and emotional view of the cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, award-winning author and director of the Rose Center, is on a quest to discover why. He stood at the heart of the controversy over Pluto’s demotion, and consequently Plutophiles have freely shared their opinions with him, including endless hate mail from third-graders. With his inimitable wit, Tyson delivers a minihistory of planets, describes the oversized characters of the people who study them, and recounts how America's favorite planet was ousted from the cosmic hub.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

From Pluto's 1930 discovery to the emotional reaction worldwide to its demotion from planetary status, astrophysicist, science popularizer and Hayden Planetarium director deGrasse Tyson (Death by Black Hole) offers a lighthearted look at the planet. Astronomical calculations predicted the presence of a "mysterious and distant Planet X" decades before Clyde Tombaugh spotted it in 1930. DeGrasse Tyson speculates on why straw polls show Pluto to be the favorite planet of American elementary school students (for one, "Pluto sounds the most like a punch line to a hilarious joke"). But Pluto's rock and ice composition, backward rotation and problematic orbit raised suspicions. As the question of Pluto's nature was being debated by scientists, the newly constructed Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Hayden Planetarium quietly but definitively relegated Pluto to the icy realm of Kuiper Belt Objects (cold, distant leftovers from the solar system's formation), raising a firestorm. Astronomers discussed and argued and finally created an official definition of what makes a planet. This account, if a bit Tyson-centric, presents the medicine of hard science with a sugarcoating of lightness and humor. 35 color and 10 b&w illus. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Many blame astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Tyson (Death by Black Hole) for the International Astronomy Union's demotion of Pluto to a dwarf planet in 2006. Here, he tells his tale while exploring the history of planet classification and Americans' fervid interest in Pluto's status. At first, actor/narrator Mirron Willis's (Basketball Jones) reading is a bit slow, but he relaxes more as the story progresses to a discussion of our love affair with Pluto; he successfully gets Tyson's often tongue-and-cheek tone across to the listener. An enjoyable title on a topic having broad appeal. [Audio clip available through www.blackstoneaudio.com; the review of the Norton hc credited Tyson with "expertly relat[ing] the history and science of Pluto and its discovery," LJ12/08.-Ed.]
—Emma Duncan

Fred Burtz - Seattle Times
“An eclectic delight. Readers will laugh at the collection of song lyrics and cartoons inspired by the great Pluto-versy. . . . Smile at the photocopied letters from elementary-school children.”
Sacramento Book Review
“For young and old alike... a riveting book that makes you really care about Pluto.”
Heller McAlpin - Christian Science Monitor
“Wonderfully entertaining.... Uses an engaging mix of facts, photographs, cartoons, illustrations, songs, e-mails, and humor to explain what's up (and down) with Pluto.... The Pluto Files is positively transporting. Out of this world.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
When New York's American Museum of Natural History rebuilt its Rose Center for Earth and Space, its staff of astrophysicists, after much discussion, decided to exclude Pluto from the area displaying models of the planets, grouping it instead with the growing number of icy objects being discovered beyond Neptune. The reclassification remained largely unnoticed until a year after the 2000 opening, when The New York Times published a front-page story headlined "Pluto's Not a Planet? Only in New York." Author Neil deGrasse Tyson, the center's director, writes that the ensuing media frenzy made him "public enemy of Pluto lovers the world over." In this irreverent, entertaining, yet substantive book, Tyson traces the short history of Planet Pluto, from its 1930 discovery by an Illinois farm boy and amateur astronomer to the 2006 vote by the International Astronomical Union to demote it to "dwarf planet" status. As Tyson suggests, the debate was not just scientific but also cultural: adults clung to the planetary sequence they had memorized in their youth, while schoolchildren reliably claimed Pluto as their favorite planet, perhaps because it shares a name with a beloved Disney character (the heavily illustrated book includes reproductions of outraged letters Tyson received from kids). In the end, vindicated by the IAU, Tyson makes a compelling case for freeing ourselves from Pluto nostalgia, arguing that "the rote exercise of planet counting rings hollow and impedes the inquiry of a vastly richer landscape of science drawn from all that populates our cosmic environment." --Barbara Spindel
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393073348
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/12/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 224,876
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of the world-famous Hayden Planetarium, a monthly columnist for Natural History, and an award-winning author. He has begun production of a new Cosmos series, premiering in early 2013. He lives in New York City.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Pluto in Culture 3

2 Pluto in History 21

3 Pluto in Science 33

4 Pluto's Fall from Grace 49

5 Pluto Divides the Nation 95

6 Pluto's Judgment Day 115

7 Pluto the Dwarf Planet 131

8 Pluto in the Elementary School Classroom: A Personal Recommendation for Educators 151

9 Plutologue 157

App. A Pluto Data (2008) 161

App. B "Planet X" (complete lyrics by Christine Lavin) 162

App. C "I'm Your Moon" (complete lyrics by Jonathan Coulton) 167

App. D "Pluto's Not a Planet Anymore" (complete lyrics by Jeff Mondak and Alex Stangl) 169

App. E Official Media Response from the Author Regarding the Rose Center's Exhibit Treatment of Pluto 171

App. F Resolution of the International Astronomical Union on the Definition of a Planet 175

App. G New Mexico Legislation Relative to Pluto's Planetary Status 177

App. H California Legislation Relative to Pluto's Planetary Status 179

Bibliography 181

Index 187

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Catfight in Space!

    If you're afraid of a dry science-y book, put your fears aside. The Pluto Files is a glimpse behind the scenes of museums and other scientific institutions and how they deal with the public and the changing status of their chosen field. There's just enough straight science described so the reader can familiarize themselves with the topic. Nothing that can be handled by a high school student.<BR/><BR/>Dr. Tyson found himself, unintentionally, in the middle of the controversy over the continuing planethood of far away Pluto. While I think he is a bit biased about the actual popularity of tiny, icy rock, the machinations of his fellow scientists are what really make this book worth reading. "All My Children" has nothing on feuding astrophysicists!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2009

    Far Out!

    What a fun light read, full of interesting facts and trivia. The subject matter is literally very "far out". Dr. Tyson seems to have his feet on the ground, perhaps surprising for an astrophysicist, in his handling of the controversy surrounding the demotion of Pluto from its status as a planet. The Pluto Files is full of great old and new illustrations. I particularly enjoyed the photos of Clyde Tombaugh (at ages 22 and 90), Pluto's discoverer, and little Venetia Burney who suggested the name Pluto. The cartoons are great. It's one of those books, that although I tried to maintain a quiet demeanor, I found myself LOL while reading it on the train.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    very disappointed

    It wasn't anything new that hasn't been printed in newspapers and magazines. I was hopeing for more info , in depth on others objects in the Plutino classification. For an avid astronomy reader it was a waste of money.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Why isn't Pluto a planet anymore?

    I very much enjoyed this book. It provides a history of all things Pluto and really explains the place Pluto has taken in society and amongst scholars alike. It discusses the discovery and reclassification of Pluto in an entertaining, easy-to-read fashion for people with a passing interest that doesn't undermine the education a more astronomy-minded person might have.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another hit for Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Professional, clear, and jovial. Neil deGrasse Tyson gives a full and accurate history of the life of Pluto, from its discovery, to its current status as a Dwarf Planet. Within the book's pages are samples of letters he has received from the general public, ranging a wide range of human emotions (angry, rude, matter-of-fact, logical, lamenting, practical, etc). It's a fairly quick read, backed up by numerous appendices (which take up a larger portion of the book than I at first realized). Amid all the strong emotions (one way or the other) concerning the status of Pluto (and other Kuiper belt objects, of smaller, similar, and larger sizes, as well as some larger asteroids that have now become dwarf planets by definition), Neil never fails to remain jovial in his approach...even when anger (and outright foul language) is directed towards him personally.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A bit short but a solid overview of the Pluto Question

    Neil Degrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. (he serves as director). He's a columnist for Natural History magazine, and already has a book of essays, Death by Black Hole, to his credit.

    To lovers of the planet Pluto, however, he is a villain.

    Although it took a NY Times columnist a year to bring the change to light, the new Rose Center for Earth and Space, under Tyson, kept Pluto out of the display of the main sequence of planets, putting it with the Kuiper belt objects instead. In effect, Pluto had been "demoted".

    Once that article came out, however, the howls rose, and the IAU took up the question in full...

    In The Pluto Files, Tyson tells the full story of Pluto, and his part in its rise and fall.

    Tyson is not a self-aggrandizer, but he does have a central role in the drama and he fully documents his part in Pluto's story in the book. Along the way, he tells the story of Pluto's discovery, its debate among the IAU, and the ultimate designation given by the IAU. Plenty of digressions tie in the field of astronomy and astronomers, popular culture (including a certain Mouse's dog) and more.

    I've previously read Tyson's work in Death by Black Hole, and he keeps that easy, accessible style for his work here. He may not have the skill of the late Stephen Jay Gould or Carl Sagan just yet, but those who only have a little science education should not be intimidated or put off by the subject.

    I, myself, learned a lot of what happened "behind the scenes" in the debate on Pluto, and found the book educational as well as a pleasure to read. The book is relatively short for the price, which is about the only major thing I can say against the book.

    Recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    Worth a read

    Dr. Tyson does a good job explaining how the whole Pluto "demotion" came about. Its not just a dry science book, it lets you in the whole story while still explaining the facts.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    Must read

    Entertaining and pages filled with information even non-rocket scientists can understand...Poor Pluto

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)