My 2nd Favorite AstrophysicistI just finished this book by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The author writes in a style that I always imagined Brennan doing. He explains science in a clear understandable way, with humor and creativity mixed in. More on the author later in the post.
A few years ago there was quite an uproar when Pluto was demoted from one of the nine planets to a "dwarf planet".
As the New York Times wrote:
It has long been clear that Pluto, discovered in 1930, stood apart from the previously discovered planets. Not only was it much smaller than them, only about 1,600 miles in diameter, smaller than the Moon, but its elongated orbit is tilted with respect to the other planets and it goes inside the orbit of Neptune part of its 248-year journey around the Sun.
Pluto makes a better match with the other ice balls that have since been discovered in the dark realms beyond Neptune, they have argued. In 2000, when the new Rose Center for Earth and Space opened at the American Museum of Natural History, Pluto was denoted in a display as a Kuiper Belt Object and not a planet.
The change in Pluto's status created a lot of controversy, which is covered in the book. Pluto had been a planet all their lives, and they wished for it to continue that way. People are gradually making the adjustment to the new way of looking at our solar system.
Lyrics by Jeff Mondak and Alex Stangel
Since 1930, quite a run
It was always the smallest one
And oh so distant from the sun
But Pluto’s not a planet anymore
Uranus may be famous
But Mercury’s feeling hot
For Pluto was a planet
And somehow now it’s not
Neptune’s nervous, Saturn’s sad
And jumpin’ Jupiter is hoppin’ mad
Eight remain of nine we had
Pluto’s not a planet anymore
They held the meeting here on Earth
Mars and Venus proved their worth
But puny Pluto lacked the girthDr. Neil deGrasse Tyson (born October 5, 1958 in New York City) is an American astrophysicist and, since 1996, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Since 2006, he has hosted PBS's educational television show NOVA scienceNOW. Keen and charismatic, Tyson is a frequent guest on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Jeopardy!.
- The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet (2009) ISBN 0393065200
- Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries (2007)
- The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist (1st ed. 2000 / 2nd ed. 2004)
- Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution (co-authored with Donald Goldsmith) (2004)
- My Favorite Universe (A twelve part lecture series) (2003) ISBN 1565856635
- City of Stars: A New Yorker's Guide to the Cosmos (2002)
- Cosmic Horizons: Astronomy at the Cutting Edge (2000)
- One Universe: At Home in the Cosmos (2000)
- Just Visiting This Planet (1998)
- Universe Down to Earth (1994)
- Merlin's Tour of the Universe (1989)