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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,264 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mike Brown Narrator: Ryan Gesell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2010 ISBN: 9780307932693
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The solar system most of us grew up with included nine planets, with Mercury closest to the sun and Pluto at the outer edge. Then, in 2005, astronomer Mike Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: a tenth planet, Eris, slightly bigger than Pluto. But instead of its resulting in one more planet being added to our solar system, Brown’s find ignited a firestorm of controversy that riled the usually sedate world of astronomy and launched him into the public eye. The debate culminated in the demotion of Pluto from real planet to the newly coined category of “dwarf” planet. Suddenly Brown was receiving hate mail from schoolchildren and being bombarded by TV reporters—all because of the discovery he had spent years searching for and a lifetime dreaming about.

Filled with both humor and drama, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is Mike Brown’s engaging first-person account of the most tumultuous year in modern astronomy—which he inadvertently caused. As it guides readers through important scientific concepts and inspires us to think more deeply about our place in the cosmos, it is also an entertaining and enlightening personal story: While Brown sought to expand our understanding of the vast nature of space, his own life was changed in the most immediate, human ways by love, birth, and death. A heartfelt and personal perspective on the demotion of everyone’s favorite farflung planet, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is the book for anyone, young or old, who has ever dreamed of exploring the universe—and who among us hasn’t?

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 2/20/2014

    " Mike Brown has a great sense of humor and a contagious passion for his profession. I was surprised by how easily the writing flowed, and how accessible he made his research. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Callsign222 | 2/15/2014

    " Great book! Lots of fun, good backstory, some science, and astronomy geekness. Loved it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly | 1/20/2014

    " I met Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto, years ago when I was in college at NMSU. He would eat every Sunday with his colleagues from the universtity at a restaurant called Senor Toucans where I worked. I also interviewed him once briefly for a Journalism paper I wrote. Needless to say, I was annoyed when Pluto was kicked off the island but the book helped me understand why. It was interesting and it makes sense why Pluto got the boot. Poor Pluto. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katya Epstein | 12/30/2013

    " Exceptionally good: laugh-out-loud funny, informative, suspenseful, readable, nerdy. If you don't know much about astronomy already, I'm not sure how much you'll learn from this book, but it's not dumbed down, and you'll learn a whole lot about how astronomy is practised (apparently they spend all of their time staring at computer screens like the rest of us). Mike Brown is so likable that by the end I found myself wondering if he was painting himself as a little more perfect than he really is. But I haven't enjoyed a book so much in a very long time; this is a perfect example of why I tend to prefer non-fiction over fiction these days. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindzie | 12/1/2013

    " Enjoyed reading this scientist take on the ever changing definitions in Astronomy and how it has shaped our current solar system. Interesting read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaylee | 11/8/2013

    " Very readable. Glad I didn't do astronomy. I loved how he spent so much time talking about his baby daughter--I didn't expect it, and it broke up the astronomy stuff nicely. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Spencer | 7/16/2013

    " This book read like it was written for eighth-graders. It had potential - but unfortunately, the style problems made the entire experience of reading the book thoroughly annoying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 4/26/2013

    " This is the most engaging popular science book I've read in years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keith | 1/15/2013

    " A great read about "doing science" and how modern astronomy works. He does not go into detail on the math needed (and probably should cover more of it). I think it would be a good way to get someone interested in astronomy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eva | 7/9/2012

    " Funny in some places. Interesting in others. A perfectly decent read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ms. Jackson | 7/9/2012

    " Mike Brown writes an engaging story about what a planet is. I liked the personal anecdotes and explanations for people who are not science-minded. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benjamin Tompkins | 11/29/2011

    " I read this book to my 11-year-old son. He loved it so much that sometimes he didn't want to wait for me to be available to read to him and would read ahead. I loved it, too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill H | 8/27/2011

    " A popularization of the late controversy over the demotion of Pluto from the pantheon of planets, with a very accessible view into the world of current planetary astronomy, its people, and its politics. Very entertaining as well as informative. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Okie | 5/30/2011

    " This author manages to make the relatively dry subject of astronomy quite entertaining! I enjoyed this read more than I thought I would. A good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 M. Chandler | 5/14/2011

    " A good, solid read, even for us non-sciencey types. Also, an excellent title. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phil | 5/13/2011

    " Dry in the technical places and funny as heck in the personal ones. This was a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hillary | 5/12/2011

    " Extremely well-written for an astronomer. loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 5/10/2011

    " An interesting read with an infectious love for science and discovery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natasha | 5/4/2011

    " A delightful book, part memoir, part astronomy book. Mike Brown had a wonderful sense of humor and was a very good storyteller. I liked learning about his discoveries and the eventually fall of Pluto. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 4/29/2011

    " I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It is a fast read, full of great science and intrigue, but tempered with humor and humility. What a sweet, obsessive, driven, and loving man he is! Mike Brown is my kinda guy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 4/29/2011

    " I liked the way the author brought us into the discovery process. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has even a passing interest in astronomy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marilyn | 4/14/2011

    " I didn't finish this book. (Not that I didn't want to. It was due back at the library, and I knew I wouldn't get back to it soon.) An interesting combination of personal narrative and scientific exploration and principles. This guy really likes what he does. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 4/10/2011

    " Four and 1/2 stars, really - I wonder if anyone has purchased the movie rights? I'd go see it! "

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