9 Following

Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming - Mike Brown Even if Pluto is was your favorite planet (after all, it was named after a cartoon dog!) you will be charmed by this account of a scientists' life and work. From this writing Mike Brown obviously has communication skills which I'm sure makes him a popular instructor and lecturer at Caltech.

This book reminds us that astronomers are people too. In addition to a story about science and discovery, it’s a funny and moving memoir of mixing the astronomy pursuits with personal issues such as courting and marrying his wife and the birth of their first child. So the book is a story of reshaping the solar system and his life, both at the same time.

The reader of this book learns how computing power combined with digital photography has greatly expanded the ability of astronomers to track down new planets (oops, I meant to say dwarf planets). The reader also learns that the ubiquitous internet enables the speedy flow of information in many ways including to and from remote mountain top telescopes. The book also tells of the downside of the internet; unscrupulous internet hackers stealing data (and glory) of discoveries. And for those who thought all scientists were gentlemen who played by the rules will be surprised to learn that there are exceptions.

And finally, the reader of this book will learn that determination of the definition of the word "planet," is no simple matter.

Some of my reviews of other books about astronomy:

The Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak

Of Stars And Men: Human Response To An Expanding Universe by Harlow Shapley

If your image of the scientist as one who labors nobly without expectation of reward, seeking to lift the corner of the veil from the mysteries of the universe, you may find the following book of interest:
[b:Prize Fight: The Race and the Rivalry to be the First in Science] by Morton A. Meyers