Trin's Reviews > The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet

The Pluto Files by Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Feb 05, 09

bookshelves: science
Read in January, 2009

A straightforward look at the rise and fall of the (dwarf) planet Pluto. Tyson succinctly outlines Pluto’s discovery and then discusses in detail its demotion to dwarf status, which stemmed in part from his own work setting up the exhibits at the Hayden Planetarium. This is a solid and informative book, which I nevertheless feel could have been more than it was. Reading it, I wished that Tyson had included, first, more science, and second, much much more of his wonderful sense of humor. It appears in flashes, but after being so charmed by him whenever he appears on my TV machine (did I just lift that from Rachel Maddow? I think I did), I was expecting more. I guess he felt like at least parts of this book had to be treated as serious business, but then, his own point is that a lot of the “controversy” over Pluto was ridiculous. So bring out the jokes, man!

One hilarious thing this book did include: excerpts of jocular emails exchanged by Tyson and Bill Nye (the Science Guy) and photos of them being wacky together. In light of their recent shared Stargate: Atlantis cameo and Tyson’s latest Daily Show appearance, I love anything that reinforces the idea that they hang out together and possibly solve science-related crime. Think of it! Tyson is totally the astrophysicist Batman. Nye the Science Guy is Robin (he has the sidekick role ’cause Tyson’s the one with the PhD.), and they’re both summoned to the scene when Commissioner Stewart turns the top of the Rubik’s Cube signal. Yup. This is all totally true. NO ONE CAN CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE.
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