How I Killed Pluto - Review


How I Killed Pluto CoverMike Brown's How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is a book about our solar system. It tells the story of one astronomer and his quest to discover the 10th planet. Brown retells his journey from California to the Kuiper Belt as he meticulously surveys the sky for other celestial bodies. What he found would spark an international debate redefining the word planet and reshaping our understanding of the natural world.  Mike tells the tale from his own point of view. The story of Pluto runs parallel with the story of Mike's life. Love, marriage, and family intertwine with labs, meteorites, and faculty. The narrative ranges from remote telescopes to international board rooms while the drama unfolds surrounding the classification of planets.

A book for the scientifically curious.

I would recommend reading this book for the scientifically curious. If you have no interest in outer space then this may not be the read for you. Brown's attempt to make the politics of international science committees interesting does not always work. And the detailed description of tedious scientific work evokes more respect than renown. But the overall feel of the book shifts drastically toward the end. The meaning of Brown's work seems to seat itself in the birth of his first child and we see the scientist explore the human impact of his work for generations to come. The result is a heartwarming story that waits a long time to thaw from the cold science of space.

Brent ColbyComment