Starry-Eyed New Science Books!

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Hi everyone! Apologies for the long absence. . .life has been crazily hectic over the past month, but I’ve finally hit a lull, which means time for more book recommendations!

Today I’d like to point out two brand new books in our collection: How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown, and Hindsight and Popular Astronomy by Alan B. Whiting.

pluto

Perhaps you remember hearing the news in 2006, that the solar system that we’d all been so familiar with would no longer be the same. Pluto, the ninth and presumably outermost planet, was a planet no longer. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is written by Mike Brown, the astronomer whose discovery of a tenth planet sparked another look at poor Pluto. At only 260 pages, this book is a quick and interesting read on Brown’s work to discover another planet, and the variety of challenges along this path– including a group of rival astronomers who go to great lengths to sabotage his efforts. There is also discussion of the debate about what the term planet actually means and how the International Astronomical Union came to the fateful decision to “demote” Pluto. This book is very engaging and does not require any prior knowledge of astronomy in order to be enjoyed.

hindsight

Will removing Pluto’s planet status be questioned in the future?  In Hindsight and Popular Astronomy, University of Birmingham affiliated author Alan B. Whiting takes a look at astronomy books written between 1833 and 1944 to find out what information was spot on, what has changed, and in some cases, what was wrong. The final chapter nicely ties everything together by explaining how scientists can take steps to guard against writing wrong information, and tips for non-scientists to keep in mind when reading scientific sources. Because this book looks at the history of astronomy and not just the science itself, a prior knowledge of some astronomy terms is useful but not necessary.

Speaking of space and planets and such, have you heard of Gustav Holst’s suite, The Planets? If not, even if you don’t normally like classical music, I recommend at least checking out Mars: The Bringer of War. If this isn’t the most metal classical music composition of all time, I don’t know what is.

‘Til next time!

 

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One thought on “Starry-Eyed New Science Books!

  1. Bill Doughty

    On a related note, we also have a copy of Neil DeGrasse-Tyson’s The Pluto Files, the basis for his Nova episode all about the ups and downs of Pluto’s planetary status and the controversy caused by the dwarf planet downgrading. Great beach reading (um, assuming you like kind of nerdy beach reading).

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