The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet

4.4 36
by Neil deGrasse Tyson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

…  See more details below

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

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

Sacramento Book Review
“For young and old alike... a riveting book that makes you really care about Pluto.”
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.”
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.”

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393073348
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/12/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
406,359
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of the world-famous Hayden Planetarium, host of the 2014 television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, and an award-winning author. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
gewurztraminer More than 1 year ago
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.

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!
John21713 More than 1 year ago
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.
ariddolphin More than 1 year ago
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.
Calatelpe More than 1 year ago
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.
Jvstin More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Sneezes
Anonymous 9 months ago
He padded in.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Velvetsnow trots into the quiet den with a mouthful of moss to be soaked in water upon Missingmoon's arrival. Her head and body aches terribly but for now she can ignore it. She spots Crystalpaw from the corner of her eye, and wonders why she's so reclusive. Ever since barely becoming apprenticed Velvetsnow always remembered Crystalpaw with a flighty look about her, always trying to get away. Since Missingmoon hadn't arrived yet the spotted warrior decides to check on her, quietly padding towards the medicine cat apprentice and touching her nose to her shoulder. "Crystalpaw? Is there anything I can do to help you? Do you need someone to talk to?" She asks quietly, hoping Crystalpaw won't be upset. -Velvetsnow
Anonymous 10 months ago
At the edge of the clearing and behind the form of the lodgepole pine, a thick swathe of grass grows. The tall plants conceal a scattered assortment of boulders. Oddly some have tiny grooves and holes worn into them from the erosion of wind blowing grit against stone. These small structures would provide a sheltered place to store herbs and moss grows in plentiful supply on the boulders' sides. The two largest boulders lean against each other, creating a small space between them that is somewhat protected from the elements. There is only room for a small group of cats to stay here but the rocks certainly provide better shelter than the grass alone. With the addition of nests it is a rather cozy place. It is here that the medicine cats of Horseclan will fight against sickness, heal wounds, and save many of their clanmates. With their skill and connection to Starclan, the medicine cats will help ensure their clan's future for moons to come. ~ The Medicine Den, Lilywolf <br> <br>
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entertaining and pages filled with information even non-rocket scientists can understand...Poor Pluto
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago