Though it's not going to affect anyone's everyday life (unless maybe you're an astronomer), the decision that just came out of Prague, demoting Pluto's planet status, does have an impact on a couple groups - mainly textbook makers and teachers. The widow of the guy who discovered Pluto also recently spoke about the decision.
For decades, science textbooks that had a section about the solar system pretty much just needed to copy and paste it into the next edition of the text. It's said that many schools' textbooks probably won't even have a reference to "dwarf planets" until at least 2010.Of course, outdated textbooks are just a part of most schools' reputations. I mean, in my French classes, in the 1990's, the textbooks still made references to East and West Germany. How Pluto is referenced will be the new way to date science text books.
However, there's an even more interesting person talking about the Pluto decision, and it's the wife of the late Clyde Tombaugh, the guy who discovered Pluto. Patricia Tombaugh is 93 years old and says she feels "shook up" by the decision to demote the planet that made her husband famous in the world of science.
Given the discovery of the two other dwarf planets, roughly the same size as Pluto, Patricia said her husband probably would have accepted the decision. "He was a scientist. He would understand they had a real problem when they start finding several of these things flying around the place," she commented in an interview.
It is kind of weird to just shift something that's been so concretely rooted in all of our minds. Now it'll just be something to tell future children and grandchildren - "Hey, you young whippersnappers. I actually remember when Pluto was a planet, way back in the day."
Full story (Pluto discoverer's widow)
Full story (Textbook makers and teachers)
Report Published by: Mark Raby
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