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How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

January 6, 2011 @ 12:00 am

About the Author – Mike Brown is the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology and has been on the faculty since 1996. He specializes in the discovery and study of bodies at the edge of the solar system. Among his numerous scientific accomplishments, he is best known for his discovery of Eris, the largest object found in the solar system in 150 years, and the object which led to the debate and eventual demotion of Pluto from a real planet to a dwarf planet. Articles about Brown have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Discover, and his discoveries have been covered on front pages of countless newspapers worldwide. In 2006 he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People as well as one of Los Angeles Magazine’s Most Powerful Angelinos. He has authored over 100 scientific papers. He is a frequent invited lecturer at astronomical meetings as well as at science museums, planetariums, and college campuses.

Brown received his AB from Princeton in 1987, and then his MA and PhD from University of California, Berkeley, in 1990 and 1994, respectively. He has won several awards and honors for his scholarship, including the Urey Prize for best young planetary scientist from the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences; a Presidential Early Career Award; a Sloan Fellowship; and, of course, the one that started his career, an honorable mention in his fifth-grade science fair. He was also named one of Wired Online’s Top Ten Sexiest Geeks in 2006, the mention of which never ceases to make his wife laugh.

About the Book – An engaging and dramatic account of the most tumultuous year in modern astronomy by the astronomer who inadvertently caused it. A memoir by the adorably geeky scientist who, in his effort to discover the tenth planet, ended up demoting everyone’s favorite planet, Pluto, to a firestorm of public outrage.

Until a few years ago, we were all taught that there were nine planets. Then in 2005, astronomer Mike Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: the tenth planet, Eris, which was 27% more massive than Pluto. But instead of simply adding one more planet to our solar system, his discovery ignited a flash-fire of controversy that riled the usually sedate world of astronomy and launched Brown into the public eye, culminating with the demotion of Pluto. Filled with both humor and drama, this book is Mike Brown’s fascinating and fun first-person account of that tumultuous year, which both introduces readers to complex scientific concepts and inspires us to think more deeply about our place in the cosmos.

Buy this Book at Politics & Prose


January 6, 2011
12:00 am
Event Category:


Falls Church VA
Falls Church United States


Mike Brown