It pays to write a letter!

On my drive home from work, I sometimes listen to NPR’s “All Things Considered.”  Sometimes they have very curious and interesting stories that I don’t get to hear or read about elsewhere.  Today was a good one.

The astrophysicist who declared Pluto a “dwarf planet” was interviewed.  He shared the story of the letter written by 7 year old Will Galmot who noticed that Pluto was not part of the exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. When Tyson wrote his book, The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet, he featured Will’s letter prominently in the front of the book.

I’m not a big star-gazer and astronomy is not an interet of mine, but kids and their exploints/interests/development are.  I think it is fantastic that Will’s mom or dad encouraged him to write to the Museum to register the fact that a planet was missing from the display. I can only imagine the discussion between parent and child as they viewed the display and wondered what happened to Pluto. Rather than leave the issue lay (or is that lie?), Will wrote his letter noting the Museum’s error!  That is priceless!

What do you want to bet Will grows up to be a scientist?

You can read all about it here, as well as see Will’s letter and drawing of Pluto informing the Museum folks what the planet looked like so they could reinstate it into the display.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Philippa
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 13:44:55

    Ian, I knew you would find this interesting as I recall you were interested in all things “astronomical.”

    Laurel, thanks for visiting the blog and making a comment. The Tyson guy’s point was that Pluto is made up of ice and if it were to come close to the sun it would “grow a tail” like a comet, which is one contributing factor to it being declassified. The other point he made is that its orbital path crosses another planet’s path, which no other planet does. heh…what do I know…it was just interesting to hear it all. Come back and visit again!!

  2. Laurel Kornfeld
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 07:33:40

    I hope Will still views Pluto as a planet, which it most certainly is, the nonsensical IAU definition (rejected by many professional astronomers) notwithstanding.

    If an object is not self-luminous (not a star itself), is spherical, and orbits a star, it’s a planet.

  3. elizabeth
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 00:57:08

    That’s lovely! Nice to hear of good things…

  4. Suzanne
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 00:23:45

    Congratulations to Will and his parents. I wish more parents were like this.

  5. Ian
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 00:11:35

    I used to listen to All Things Considered regularly [it is broadcast on a radio station here], but they have moved it earlier in the evening and I seldom catch it now. Thanks for the heads up — I shall listen to it when I get home.

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