The year of Pluto's discovery, Disney created an irresistible pup by the same name, and, as one NASA scientist put it, Pluto was "discovered by an American for America." Pluto is entrenched in our cultural, patriotic view of the cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson is on a quest to discover why.
©2009 Neil deGrasse Tyson; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A lighthearted look at the planet....Presents the medicine of hard science with a sugarcoating of lightness and humor." (Publishers Weekly)
Before reading this book I was one of the people offended on behalf of Pluto. After hearing this book I had a much greater understanding of several aspects of astronomy and how decisions come to be "They say...." statements that get picked up by the press.
Certain parts of this were really interesting, especially the history of Pluto's discovery and what was going on culturally at the time. But mid-way through the book it turned into a sort of long, boring, defensive ego-fest/rehash of media hubbub. The majority of the book felt far more focused on Tyson himself than it did on Pluto. I couldn't help but wish it had been written by someone a little less involved--then we might have gotten a little more actual substance.
Neil brings fun to the history of Pluto. As a fan of Pluto who was originally very upset about the demotion, I was angry with Neil. But after this book, I forgive you Neil.
I have never read the print version. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the audio edition.
As it was nonfiction, there weren't really characters to speak of. There were real people involved - mostly the author or the book, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
I, too, was so upset at hearing that Pluto was no longer a planet, but now I feel a bit foolish for that. So glad to have read this and expand my knowledge.
NdGT really comes through on this one. He makes a fantastic case for Pluto's downgrading in 2006 (which he was a very large part of). He also makes it clear that he did not make the decision lightly, and he also shows us how much flak he caught for it - both from scientists and the general public. He does this deftly, with brilliance and humor throughout. High recommendations.
I love to read mysteries, histories, biographies, humor, and Jane Austen.
In my closet, I have a sweatshirt that says, "Bring Back Pluto!" I was dismayed when I read that Pluto's status had been downgraded. This book explains, clearly and humorously, the scientific reasons for the change. It also reminded me that sometimes objects don't fit neatly into our human catagories. I have a lot of respect for NDT's science education work, and now I can forgive him (and the rest of the astronomical community) for deciding that, scientifically, it does not make sense to call Pluto a planet.
I listen to a variety of audio books constantly in car and gym. My reviews remind me what I’ve read & are hopefully helpful to you as well.
3.5 stars. Author defends his decision to call Pluto not a planet and covers why it such a challenge to classify it one way or another. In any case, I learned a lot being a complete novice on this subject. It was interesting, somewhat entertaining, but I wasn't necessarily a fan of how the material was presented, which seemed a bit defensive and not strictly informative. Anyway, not having much to compare this to, I don't regret reading it. Others with more pre-existing knowledge may find the book overkill and prefer he just get to / stick to the scientific facts. recommended on a limited basis.
I'm a big fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson, but this audiobook was nothing more than four hours of petty nitpicking and infantile arguments justifying various points of view.
This book could have been summed up in less text than the original New York Times article that spawned the whole damn controversy in the first place.
Methinks thou doth protest too much, Dr. Tyson.
I normally grind through even the most annoying of audiobooks, but in this case, I gave up with an hour and a half remaining.
I also almost never write reviews, so that should give you an idea of just how little I thought of this work.
Well written to not cover the scientific debate last decade that "demoted" Pluto, but also collect the many popular media comments & stories into a single, hilarious chapter!! Covered the science and made me chuckle throughout!
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