Why I Killed Pluto (and Why It Had it Coming)


Immediate: February 23, 2011 Media Contact: Alicia Steger 516.572.9634 E-mail: alicia.steger@ncc.edu ncc.edu/newsreleases

Nassau Community College PresentsHow I Killed Pluto (and Why It Had it Coming) – Astronomer Mike Brown 

March 9

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Garden City, NY – The Spring 2011 Cultural Program at Nassau Community College isDr. Mike Brown proud to present Dr. Mike Brown, astronomer and professor of Planetary Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, who will discuss How I Killed Pluto (and Why It Had it Coming) on Wednesday, March 9 at 12:30 p.m. in the College Center Building.

When is a planet not a planet? Like the scientific luminaries before him, Dr. Mike Brown has forever changed the way we view the final frontier. Specializing in the discovery and study of bodies at the edge of the solar system, Brown and his team’s discovery of Eris, which is larger than the former ninth planet, led to the demotion of Pluto to “dwarf planet.” Inspired by the findings of Brown’s team, the International Astronomical Union — the organization which oversees astronomical rules and conventions — revised the definition of a planet. The result was that Pluto was deemed too small and ousted from the official planetary list.

Brown and his team eventually discovered several small bodies of similar size to Pluto, including Eris, Quaoar, and Sedna, all of which are classified as dwarf planets. These discoveries permanently changed the way we look at our solar system. The team’s findings have been covered by publications worldwide.

After obtaining his AB from Princeton, Brown went on to earn an MA and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. A prolific author of papers, he has also won numerous awards, including the prestigious Urey Prize for best young planetary scientist from the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences.

For more information about Why I Killed Pluto (and Why It Had it Coming), which is free, open to the public and accessible to the disabled, call 516.572.7153.

About Nassau Community College Nassau Community College, a division of the State University of New York, is an institution where nearly 24,000 full- and part-time students and almost 15,000 continuing and professional students start and continue their successful journey through higher education. More than 70 fields of study are offered on a 225-acre campus located in the center of Long Island. As the largest single-campus two-year college in New York State, Nassau Community College maintains a national reputation for excellence.

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