The Girl who Named Pluto

From the New York Times by way of Slashdot:

Venetia Phair, who at the age of 11 was responsible for choosing the name “Pluto” for the now-defunct “plutoid”, has passed away at the age of 90.

“Frozen and lonely, Planet X circled the far reaches of the solar system awaiting discovery and a name. It got one thanks to an 11-year-old British girl named Venetia Burney, an enthusiast of the planets and classical myth. On March 14, 1930, the day newspapers reported that the long-suspected ‘trans-Neptunian body’ had been photographed for the first time, she proposed to her well-connected grandfather that it be named Pluto, after the Roman god of the underworld. Venetia Phair, as she became by marriage, died April 30 in her home in Banstead, in the county of Surrey, England. She was 90.

More vexing to Mrs. Phair was the persistent notion that she had taken the name from the Disney character. ‘It has now been satisfactorily proven that the dog was named after the planet, rather than the other way around,’ she told the BBC. ‘So, one is vindicated.’ ”

Full Article

I guess this was before the days when space agencies had internet polls to name things…

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terryman

Nicholas is a senior undergraduate majoring in Cognitive Systems (Computational Intelligence stream). He enjoys a wide spectrum of intellectual pursuits from programming to philosophizing. As well as writing for the Terry project, he maintains a private blog, and a personal home page. His long-term goals include earning his Ph.D, and crushing all life beneath the iron-clad heel of his merciless robotic cohort.

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