History of the science of planetary motion for kids
August 5, 2013 6:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a short book or series of books for my 7.5 year old son describing the history of the search to explain planetary motion.

I gave him a brief outline as his bedtime story last night, starting with Ptolemy, then jumping up to Copernicus, Kepler, Tycho Brahe, Galileo, and Newton, finally touching on Einstein. He loved it, and wants more, more, more.

Is there a kids book, or a short series of kids books that cover this area? It's a fascinating story, starting with the urge to explain the universe, then showing how scientists build on each other's work to create better and better models, and finally showing how breakthroughs can transform our world view.
posted by alms to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe this place has something you'd be interested in.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:15 PM on August 5, 2013

Not sure about the age range, but Merlin's Guide to the Universe, written by Astronomy Rockstar Neil deGrasse Tyson is aimed at the young and other people who are new to the concepts of the universe as we now view it. This would probably be some adult-assisted reading, with time for discussion.

You could also try some selected readings from Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guide to the Physics.

You could also try dropping an apple on his head-- it worked for that one guy.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:18 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Magic School Bus and the Science Fair Expedition covers some parts of that history, especially Galileo's and Newton's. It also does a pretty good job of explaining how science advances in general, and the lives and discoveries of several other famous scientists.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:35 PM on August 5, 2013

Neil deGrasse Tyson is hosting the new Cosmos series airing next year, maybe you can watch that together.

His podcast Startalk is also great.

His book The Pluto Files, while not necessarily a children's book, I think is nontechnical enough to keep a child's interest. It deals with the history of designating and then undesignating Pluto a planet.

...ok, it is apparent I have a little bit of a thing for NdGT.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:51 AM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

The original Cosmos has some stuff on this including some colorful bits (including the gold nose!) about Tycho Brahe and Kepler.

Here's a bit of it to see if it would be interesting.
posted by jclarkin at 1:46 PM on August 6, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all these pointers. Not exactly what I was looking for, but interesting nonetheless.
posted by alms at 6:43 AM on August 9, 2013

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