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Mike Brown quotes Showing 1-23 of 23

“Pluto is dead.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Finding out that something you have just discovered is considered all but impossible is one of the joys of science.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“There is nothing particularly special about that location of the centre of mass. If you were to find yourself at the precise spot that is the centre of mass of the earth-moon system, the only thing unusual that you would notice is that there would be one thousand miles of rock on top of your head.
Pluto is only about twice the size of Charon, so if you put Pluto and Charon on the cosmic seesaw you would find that the balance point is a little bit outside Pluto, rather than inside it. Again, there is nothing particularly special going on there. If you were to find yourself at that precise spot, you would only notice that you were very, very cold and could no longer breathe.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Pluto was part of their mental landscape, the one they had constructed to organize their thinking about the solar system and their own place within it. Pluto seemed like the edge of existence. Ripping Pluto out of that landscape caused what felt like an inconceivably empty hole.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Words simply mean what people think they mean when they say them.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“The original ancient Greek meaning of the word planet was simply “wanderer,”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Discovery is exciting, no matter how big or small or close or distant....”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Enough, woman who needs no sleep! It is past my bedtime! But I will ponder your suggestions in the morning when I wake up, which will be long after you've already risen.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Lilah did little more than sleep and eat and cry, which to me was the most fascinating thing in the entire universe. Why did she cry? When did she sleep? What made her eat a lot one day and little the next? Was she changing with time? I did what any obsessed person would do in such a case: I recorded data, plotted it, calculated statistical correlations. First I just wrote on scraps of paper and made charts on graph paper, but I very quickly became more sophisticated. I wrote computer software to make a beautifully colored plot showing times when Diane fed Lilah, in black; when I fed her, in blue (expressed mother's milk, if you must know); Lilah's fussy times, in angry red; her happy times, in green. I calculated patterns in sleeping times, eating times, length of sleep, amounts eaten.

Then, I did what any obsessed person would do these days; I put it all on the Web.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, a thoroughly dedicated rocket town. The father of everyone I knew—mine included—was some sort of engineer working to build the Apollo rockets to send men to the moon. For a while as a child, I thought that when you grew up you became a rocket engineer if you were a boy and you married a rocket engineer if you were a girl; few other options in the world appeared to exist.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“The word planet should be reserved for the small number of truly important things in the solar system.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“It was becoming more and more clear that if the asteroids were the schools of minnows swimming among the pod of whales, then Pluto and the Kuiper belt objects were simply a previously overlooked collection of sardines swimming in a faraway sea.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Most of the fathers were scientists. Most of the mothers were not.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Dear Dr. Ortiz— Congratulations on your discovery! We found the object, too, about six months ago and have been studying it in detail for the past few months. It has a few interesting properties that you might find interesting. Most interestingly, it has a satellite, and the orbital solution gives a system mass of about 28% of that of the Pluto-Charon system. It’s still probably the biggest KBO around but it has a sufficiently high albedo that it is not quite as big or massive as Pluto. I’ve got a paper describing the satellite that, ironically, I was planning to submit tomorrow. I will forward the paper to you as I submit it. I am sure that I will get inquiries about your new object from different people; is there [or is there going to be] a website describing your survey or your discovery that I can point people to? Again, congratulations on a very nice discovery!”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“I was teaching introductory geology at Caltech for the first time. I’m not a geologist. I’ve never taken a single class in geology. If you gave me a handful of different types of rocks, chances are I could identify only a small number of them. I still get confused by the meanings of strike and dip. Luckily, most of my students didn’t realize this.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“In 1997 I began working as an assistant professor at Caltech, and I realized that I didn’t really know what I was doing.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Her real name will come later, but her current code name is Petunia.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Those early weeks were a blur. Like most new parents, I slept no more than two or three hours at the longest. How tired was I? One morning I piled a load of laundry into the washing machine, scooped a plastic cup of laundry detergent from the box, and poured it into the receptacle in the washing machine. The detergent filled the receptacle and then spilled over the edges. This had never happened before. I had never scooped out more detergent than could fit into the receptacle. I thought hard. I stared at the detergent. I stared at the object in my hand. It was not the small detergent scoop, but a big plastic cup. Why would there be a big plastic cup in the detergent box? I read the side of the detergent box, then it became clear that this was not detergent but kitty litter. I had just loaded the washing machine full of kitty litter. I pondered what would happen if I started the washing machine with kitty litter inside -- the clumping kind! -- and then spent the next thirty minutes trying desperately to get every last bit of litter out of the machine. Then I went to get some sleep; I could do laundry later.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“After 'cat', Lilah next learned 'flower'. Flowers (scrunch up nose as if sniffing) were everywhere, first only outside on plants, but soon she generalized to flowers on her clothes or her shoes, or in pictures in books and magazines. I wanted to hook up wires and do experiments and comparisons and studies to understand it all.

'You want to do what?' Diane would say.

But really, who wouldn't?”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“felt that antagonistic indignation that can be pulled off particularly well on the Internet.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Chapter Seven
RAINING = POURING”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“I had a hunch. Officially, scientists don’t work on hunches. We work on hypotheses and observations and plenty of evidence. Hunches don’t get you research funding, tenure at your university, or access to the world’s largest telescopes. But a hunch was all I had.”
Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
“Finding something spherical in space indicates that you have found a place where gravity has taken over.”
Mike Brown


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How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
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