by Susan Lendroth
Very few people have the chance to name a planet, even one that is later downgraded to dwarf planet status. Venetia Phair, who suggested the name for Pluto, recently died in England. Venetia was just 11 years old when she chatted at the breakfast table with her grandfather about the newly discovered world. Her idea to name the planet after the Roman god of the underworld might have been swept away with the toast crumbs if not for the fact that her grandfather passed on the suggestion to an Oxford professor of astronomy, who in turn passed it on to Pluto's discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh. Read more in her LA Times obituary about how Venetia Phair came to name a world.