The scientists next door

For Ada Lovelace Day, since it’s all about this idea that women are statistically likely to benefit from having female role models, I’m going to talk about a bunch of friends of mine.

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Warm slippery facts about cold hard Pluto

A teacher wrote a letter to one of my favourite magazines this month, expressing a wish that the International Astronomical Union would make up its mind on Pluto once and for all, because it’s hard to teach kids about the solar system when this stuff keeps changing. Is it a planet or not? Do we tell them there are nine planets, or eight (or even twelve or thirteen, given that a couple of main belt asteroids were called planets when they were first discovered)? The cold hard facts are lukewarm and slippery right now. Read the rest of this entry »