“How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming” by Mike Brown
As soon as I found this book, I immediately bought it not minding the price. I was curious with Mike Brown’s personality, career and achievements. More so, how in the world he demoted Pluto as one of the major planets in the solar system.
Mike Brown’s personality (as I understood it from the book) reminded me of Sheldon Cooper from the TV series, The Big Bang Theory. I was impressed on how he applied the scientific method to his personal life. For instance, he meticulously recorded his observations using statistics during the first three months of his daughter, Lilah. I think my parents also behaved that way where they patiently take good care of me despite their busy schedule – except for the graphs and the bell curve of course, haha!
I also admire his patience, dedication, skill, creativity and intelligence in finding those dim icy rocks that are more or less larger than Pluto through all possible means – from photographic plates (since the time of Clyde Tombaugh), the old Schmidt Cassegrain telescope at the Palomar Observatory, Keck Telescopes in Hawaii, to digital images. I truly envy his job! I wish I could do the same someday.
What really caught my attention was his experience of the competition within the scientific community. I realized that you really need to be vigilant in taking of what you’ve worked for. Be careful from people (even scientists) who would do everything to steal your ideas or even data. The world is indeed full of selfish people who only think of themselves.
At the last part of the book, he explained well IAU’s resolutions (5A and 5B) for the classification of planets in the solar system. I will not enumerate it here ( you should buy and read the book instead! ) but frankly, I find it too simple yet confusing. IAU’s 5A resolution should be reviewed and revised again soon.
I definitely recommend the book for those who are curious and wants to know how astronomers work and the fun side of being a scientist!
Thank you Mike Brown for sharing to us your life, work, and experience!