I remember when I heard the news. Pluto's not a planet anymore. "Oh no, not Pluto!" I thought for about 5 seconds. Then I got over it. Apparently, some people took it very, very hard. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, recounts how he became the most hated man in America in The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet.
The Pluto Files begins with Pluto's discovery in 1930 and why it was thought to be a planet at the time. It had been discovered by an American which Tyson seems to believe has something to do with why Pluto is such a cultural phenomenon. It also might have something to do with Mickey's dog. Almost from the beginning, scientists questioned Pluto's planet status. Then as technology improved and more discoveries about the solar system were made, planet Pluto was in jeopardy.
When Tyson was put in charge of the new Hayden Planetarium exhibit in New York, he had a dilemma. Where would he put Pluto? After much debate, Pluto was left out of the exhibit. A year went by and only a few children noticed. Then a New York Times journalist wrote Pluto Not a Planet? Only In New York. Tyson's phone rang off the hook and his inbox filled with hate mail. People were pissed! Pluto is a planet, dang-namit!
People went seriously crazy. Some of what he reads and hears is down right silly. Why were people so attached to Pluto? Why should science be dictated by sentiment? Tyson sticks to his guns and doesn't change the exhibit but the museum ads a plaque to explain Pluto disappearance. Eventually people come to terms with Pluto's downgraded status in the solar system.
When I saw The Pluto Files in the new book section of the library, I took it out. I've seen Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Discovery Channel for different things and more recently on Leno discussing this book. He was funny and personable. His personality shines in The Pluto Files. He tries to make astronomy accessible to even people like me and even though I was lost a few times, he always managed to get me back on track. It doesn't hurt that it's short and full of amusing images either.
If you have an interest in what happened to Pluto, then I recommend this book.