The cartoon series Peanuts is fiction and the 1959 strip I'm looking for is related to science, so I'm hoping this is sufficiently on-topic to stay open at least long enough to receive an answer. In Mathematician, Engineer and Geoscientist Irene Fischer's book Geodesy? What's That?: My Personal Involvement in the Age-Old Quest for the Size and Shape of the Earth she describes a 1959 Peanuts cartoon related to the shape of the Earth as deduced from radio signals received from Sputnik-1 and other early spacecraft.

I would like to see it for myself but have not been able to find a reproduction anywhere. If I knew the date it was published I could look online or in microfilm for a reproduction of a 1959 newspaper, or for a book, or something. Is it possible to find an on-line image of this strip, or at least identify it's first published date?

Typed from the google books link above:

A Peanuts’ cartoon in 1959 shows Charlie Brown happy with a new globe, something he had always wanted to have. Then Linus tells him that according to the latest scientific discovery, the world is not round, it is pear-shaped; upon which Charlie Brown is so disgusted that he throws the new globe away. This was cartoonist Shultz’s glorious contribution to popularize new science to the very young generation. He must have been very successful because one day I received a telephone call from some government office downtown, requesting authoritative advice: It seemed — and I could just picture it — that an elementary school teacher had called for help about what she could tell the kids. She had taught them that the Earth was round, but one tyke apparently would take no nonsense from the establishment and insisted that he knew that the Earth was shaped like a pear. What should the teacher be told to tell the kids?

About 12 years later I wrote a booklet called Basic Geodesy, An Initiation into the Mysteries of Geodetic Concepts, which was published by the U.S. Army Engineer School, Fort Belvoir, Va., and widely distributed. I had wanted to include this cartoon, but quite unexpectedly and contrary to customary experience, I was refused copyright permission and thus could not rescue this old forgotten masterpiece from total oblivion. I did get permission, graciously, to use it in my own briefings, which I did to the delight of many audiences. The Army editors, though personally sympathetic, did not dare to allow me to include even a paraphrased version of the cartoon nor the real-life story of the schoolteacher. Even the subtitle of the pamphlet was too much for the Army and was at first dropped but then cautiously tucked away into the Preface.

note: The "pear-shape" becomes visible only after you subtract off the much larger oblate spheroid shape of the Earth.

Related elsewhere in SE:

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    On topic because it's fiction and related to science? Sounds good to me; is that generally agreed to here? For instance Moby-Dick has quite a bit of cetology and oceanography, is it on topic?
    – user14111
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 7:25
  • @uhoh Charlie Brown is not so disgusted that the throws the globe away. Charlie is angry at LInus. The last panel shows Linus running away from angry Charlie and the globe thrown by charlie bouncing off of Linus's head. Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 16:01
  • @M.A.Golding I've simply quoted the book; you can write to the publisher and propose an errata
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 2:37

1 Answer 1


Here ya go

Peanut comic strips March 1959

From here: https://peanuts.fandom.com/wiki/March_1959_comic_strips

Peanuts had a strong connection to the NASA human spaceflight program. The Apollo-era safety program Manned Flight Awareness featured Peanuts characters on posters. The special award given by astronauts to people who have made special contributions to the program is still called the Silver Snoopy (at least it was in 2011). The name changed to the less sexist Space Flight Awareness.

Some sample MFA Peanuts posters can be seen here.

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    There's a site that's indexed all Peanuts strips: peanuts-search.com/?q=Pear
    – DavidW
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 4:09
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    @uhoh Thank you for this question! Reading that strip in the 1990s made absolutely no sense to me - it's nice to know what the context was. Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 9:36
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    @ClaraDiazSanchez That's great to hear! I had that same exact experience in the 1960's. I grew up reading Peanuts and MAD Magazine and watching TOS reruns, which explains a lot.
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 1:26
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    I wonder if you might want to link to your answer here as well?
    – uhoh
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 22:07
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    @uhoh thanks! Largely duplicated info but the other one does have pix. I had forgotten I plowed the same ground here. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 22:30

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