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

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

4.4 38
by Neil deGrasse Tyson
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0393337324

ISBN-13: 9780393337327

Pub. Date: 12/07/2009

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

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

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, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393337327
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
12/07/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
NC1300L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

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A witty cosmological narrative about a pint-sized planet that got "lost."

Pluto had a 76-year run as a planet, until it was demoted in August 2006. Though now relegated to "dwarf planet" status, this cosmological runt still maintains its huge fan base, especially in the United States. In fact, some American scientists continue to fight an uphill battle to get the celestial body reinstated, and recent straw polls show that Pluto remains the favorite planet among American elementary school students, perhaps because it shares its name with a cartoon character. Neil deGrasse Tyson's delightfully diverting The Pluto File tracks the weird history of this extraterrestrial underdog and its irrepressible popularity.

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The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 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
Sapphirestar pads into the den carrying the kit and glances over where Velvetsnow and Missingmoon are resting. They seem to be sleep so she heads to the back where she won't be overheard and the kit won't disturb them. "Flightpath," she says quietly, "she has had a bad cough and needs this wound dressed." The tabby sets her down and gestures to a long claw mark across the kits shoulder. "I...I will be able to feed her." She says quietly.
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
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