Art's Gold Standard

Art's Gold Standard

Pasadena Arts Council honors Caltech ‘Planet Killer’ Michael E. Brown and David and Catherine Partridge with Golden Crown Awards

By Katie Madden 06/26/2013

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The astronomer responsible for bumping Pluto from our solar system received the Pasadena Arts Council’s AxS award for his contributions to the city’s scientific and creative communities, part of the council’s 48th Annual Golden Crown Awards Monday for outstanding contributions made to the world of art.

During the annual awards ceremony at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, the Arts Council also recognized the contributions of David and Catherine Partridge, who both received Golden Crown awards for their philanthropy and service.

President of Data Devices International, David Partridge chairs the Pasadena Museum of California Art Board of Trustees. Catherine Partridge co-founded Kidspace Children’s Museum and is a longtime member of the Pasadena Art Alliance.

The Partridges were recognized for volunteering more than 30 years of service to the community through their continued membership with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and as Fellows with the Pasadena Community Foundation.

This year’s AxS Award went to Caltech Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy Dr. Michael E. Brown, who discovered Eris, the largest object found in the solar system in 150 years, which caused Pluto to be demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006. Brown’s process of discovery is revealed in his humorous bestselling memoir, “How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming.”

After its discovery, Brown and his fellow astronomers found that Eris is the only trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) that is more massive than Pluto, which led directly to Pluto’s planetary demotion.

Last year, Dr. Lorne Buchman, president of Art Center College of Design, and Dr. Charles Elachi, director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shared the Inaugural AxS Award.

At Monday’s awards ceremony, the PAC also presented a Golden Crown Award to Charlie Plowman, owner and publisher of the Outlook, a free weekly newspaper based in La Cañada Flintridge.

The AxS Award, said PAC Executive Director Terry LeMoncheck, was created to honor the conversation between the sciences and the arts.
“We focus on the connection between art and science because in Pasadena we have so many great institutions who do work in both fields,” she said. n

For more on the Pasadena Arts Council, visit


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