Astronomer Who ‘Killed’ Pluto to Present Annual Science Lecture

Author and astronomer Dr. Michael E. Brown will present the Annual Science Lecture entitled “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had it Coming” on Wednesday, April 15 at 5:30 p.m. in the Heimbold Visual Arts Center at Sarah Lawrence College. Among his numerous scientific accomplishments, Dr. Brown is best known for his discovery of Eris, the largest object found in the solar system in 150 years and the reason for Pluto’s recent demotion. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact College Events at (914) 395-2412 or

Pluto, called a planet for seventy-five years, is now referred to as a "dwarf planet." While astronomers argued about Pluto for most of the past decade, the final blow came with the discovery of Eris, an even larger body in the outer solar system. The story of the search for and the discovery of Eris, the question of planethood for Pluto and why astronomers made the right decision to demote Pluto will be the subject for this presentation. Dr. Brown specializes in the discovery and study of bodies at the edge of the solar system.

Dr. Michael E. Brown is a professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology and has been on the faculty there since 1996. He has authored nearly 100 scientific papers, and his writing has appeared in such venues as the New York Times, Physics Today, and the World Book Science Year. Brown received his AB. from Princeton, and his MA and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has won several awards and honors for his scholarship, including the prestigious Urey Prize for best young planetary scientist from the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Sciences, a Presidential Early Career Award and a Sloan Fellowship.