Fred Hoyle

Fred Hoyle

Overview
Sir Fred Hoyle FRS (24 June 1915 – 20 August 2001) was an English astronomer
Astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 and mathematician noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis
Stellar nucleosynthesis
Stellar nucleosynthesis is the collective term for the nuclear reactions taking place in stars to build the nuclei of the elements heavier than hydrogen. Some small quantity of these reactions also occur on the stellar surface under various circumstances...

 and his often controversial stance on other cosmological
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

 and scientific matters—in particular his rejection of the "Big Bang
Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

" theory, a term originally coined by him as a jocular, perhaps disparaging, name for the theory which was the main rival to his own.
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Quotations

"Big Bang" theory

The Nature of the Universe (1950)

Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards.

"Sayings of the Week", The Observer (9 September 1979)

A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe.

Arguing that living organisms could not have arisen by chance alone.

When I was young, the old regarded me as an outrageous young fellow, and now that I'm old the young regard me as an outrageous old fellow.

As quoted in Scientific American (March 1995)

There is a coherent plan to the universe, though I don't know what it's a plan for.

Attributed in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1999) edited by Elizabeth Knowles and Angela Partington
Encyclopedia
Sir Fred Hoyle FRS (24 June 1915 – 20 August 2001) was an English astronomer
Astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 and mathematician noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis
Stellar nucleosynthesis
Stellar nucleosynthesis is the collective term for the nuclear reactions taking place in stars to build the nuclei of the elements heavier than hydrogen. Some small quantity of these reactions also occur on the stellar surface under various circumstances...

 and his often controversial stance on other cosmological
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

 and scientific matters—in particular his rejection of the "Big Bang
Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

" theory, a term originally coined by him as a jocular, perhaps disparaging, name for the theory which was the main rival to his own. In addition to his work as an astronomer, Hoyle was a writer of science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, including a number of books co-written with his son Geoffrey Hoyle
Geoffrey Hoyle
Geoffrey Hoyle is an English science fiction writer, best known for the works which he co-authored with his father, the astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle. About half of Fred Hoyle's science fiction works were co-authored with his son....

. Hoyle spent most of his working life at the Institute of Astronomy
Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge
The Institute of Astronomy is the largest of the three astronomy departments in the University of Cambridge, and one of the largest astronomy sites in the UK...

 at Cambridge and served as its director for a number of years. He died in Bournemouth
Bournemouth
Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town in the ceremonial county of Dorset, England. According to the 2001 Census the town has a population of 163,444, making it the largest settlement in Dorset. It is also the largest settlement between Southampton and Plymouth...

, England, after a series of stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

s.

Early life


Hoyle was born near Bingley in Gilstead
Gilstead
Gilstead is a village within the City of Bradford Metropolitan District, West Yorkshire, England. It is situated at the edge of the moors, above the town of Bingley which is the post town.Eldwick Primary School is located on Warren Lane, Gilstead...

, West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England with a population of 2.2 million. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972....

, England. His father, Ben Hoyle, worked in the wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

 trade in Bradford
Bradford
Bradford lies at the heart of the City of Bradford, a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, in Northern England. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, west of Leeds, and northwest of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897...

. His mother, Mabel Pickard, had studied music at the Royal College of Music
Royal College of Music
The Royal College of Music is a conservatoire founded by Royal Charter in 1882, located in South Kensington, London, England.-Background:The first director was Sir George Grove and he was followed by Sir Hubert Parry...

 in London. Hoyle was educated at Bingley Grammar School
Bingley Grammar School
Bingley Grammar School is a school for both boys and girls from the ages of 11–18 and is located on the outskirts of Bingley, West Yorkshire, England.-History:...

 and read mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 at Emmanuel College
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Emmanuel College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge.The college was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay on the site of a Dominican friary...

, Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

.

Contribution to cosmology


An early paper of Hoyle's made an interesting use of the anthropic principle
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

. In trying to work out the routes of stellar nucleosynthesis
Stellar nucleosynthesis
Stellar nucleosynthesis is the collective term for the nuclear reactions taking place in stars to build the nuclei of the elements heavier than hydrogen. Some small quantity of these reactions also occur on the stellar surface under various circumstances...

, he observed that one particular nuclear reaction, the triple-alpha process
Triple-alpha process
The triple alpha process is a set of nuclear fusion reactions by which three helium-4 nuclei are transformed into carbon.Older stars start to accumulate helium produced by the proton–proton chain reaction and the carbon–nitrogen–oxygen cycle in their cores...

, which generates carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

, would require the carbon nucleus to have a very specific energy for it to work. The large amount of carbon in the universe, which makes it possible for carbon-based life
Carbon-based life
Carbon forms the backbone of biology for all of life on Earth. Complex molecules are made up of carbon bonded with other elements, especially oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, and carbon is able to bond with all of these because of its four valence electrons. Carbon is abundant on earth...

-forms (e.g. humans) to exist, demonstrated that this nuclear reaction must work. Based on this notion, he made a prediction of the energy levels in the carbon nucleus that was later borne out by experiment.

These energy levels, while needed in order to produce carbon in large quantities, were statistically very unlikely. Hoyle later wrote:
Hoyle, an atheist until that time, said that this suggestion of a guiding hand left him "greatly shaken." Consequently, he began to believe in a guiding force in the universe, which led him to a belief in panspermia. Those who advocate the intelligent design
Intelligent design
Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for...

 hypothesis sometimes cite Hoyle's work in this area to support the claim that the universe was fine tuned
Fine-tuned universe
The fine-tuned universe is the proposition that the conditions that allow life in the Universe can only occur when certain universal fundamental physical constants lie within a very narrow range, so that if any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different the universe would be...

 in order to allow intelligent life to be possible. Alfred Russel of the Uncommon Descent community has even gone so far as labeling Hoyle "an atheist for ID".

His co-worker William Alfred Fowler
William Alfred Fowler
William Alfred "Willy" Fowler was an American astrophysicist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983. He should not be confused with the British astronomer Alfred Fowler....

 eventually won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 (with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, FRS ) was an Indian origin American astrophysicist who, with William A. Fowler, won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics for key discoveries that led to the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars...

), but for some reason Hoyle’s original contribution was overlooked, and many were surprised that such a notable astronomer missed out. Fowler himself in an autobiographical sketch affirmed Hoyle’s pioneering efforts:

Rejection of the Big Bang


While having no argument with the Lemaître
Georges Lemaître
Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître was a Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain. He was the first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble...

 theory (later confirmed by Edwin Hubble
Edwin Hubble
Edwin Powell Hubble was an American astronomer who profoundly changed the understanding of the universe by confirming the existence of galaxies other than the Milky Way - our own galaxy...

's observations) that the universe was expanding, Hoyle disagreed on its interpretation. He found the idea that the universe had a beginning to be philosophically troubling, as many argued that a beginning implies a cause, and thus a creator (see Kalam cosmological argument
Kalam cosmological argument
The Kalām cosmological argument is a variation of the cosmological argument that argues for the existence of a First Cause for the universe. Its origins can be traced to medieval Jewish, Christian and Muslim thinkers, but most directly to Islamic theologians of the Kalām tradition. Its historic...

). Instead, Hoyle, along with Thomas Gold
Thomas Gold
Thomas Gold was an Austrian-born astrophysicist, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the Royal Society . Gold was one of three young Cambridge scientists who in the 1950s proposed the now mostly abandoned 'steady...

 and Hermann Bondi
Hermann Bondi
Sir Hermann Bondi, KCB, FRS was an Anglo-Austrian mathematician and cosmologist. He is best known for developing the steady-state theory of the universe with Fred Hoyle and Thomas Gold as an alternative to the Big Bang theory, but his most lasting legacy will probably be his important...

 (with whom he had worked on radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

), argued for the universe as being in a "steady state
Steady State theory
In cosmology, the Steady State theory is a model developed in 1948 by Fred Hoyle, Thomas Gold, Hermann Bondi and others as an alternative to the Big Bang theory...

". The theory tried to explain how the universe could be eternal and essentially unchanging while still having the galaxies we observe moving away from each other. The theory hinged on the creation of matter between galaxies over time, so that even though galaxies get further apart, new ones that develop between them fill the space they leave. The resulting universe is in a "steady state" in the same manner that a flowing river is - the individual water molecules are moving away but the overall river remains the same.

The theory was one alternative to the Big Bang
Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

 which agreed with key observations of the day, namely Hubble's red shift observations
Hubble's law
Hubble's law is the name for the astronomical observation in physical cosmology that: all objects observed in deep space are found to have a doppler shift observable relative velocity to Earth, and to each other; and that this doppler-shift-measured velocity, of various galaxies receding from...

, and Hoyle was a strong critic of the Big Bang. He is responsible for coining the term "Big Bang" on BBC radio's Third Programme broadcast at 1830 GMT on 28 March 1949. It is popularly reported that Hoyle intended this to be pejorative, but the script from which he read aloud shows that he intended the expression to help his listeners. Hoyle explicitly denied that he was being insulting and said it was just a striking image meant to emphasize the difference between the two theories for radio listeners.

Hoyle, unlike Gold and Bondi, offered an explanation for the appearance of new matter by postulating the existence of what he dubbed the "creation field", or just the "C-field", which had negative pressure in order to be consistent with the conservation of energy
Conservation of energy
The nineteenth century law of conservation of energy is a law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time. The total energy is said to be conserved over time...

 and drive the expansion of the universe. These features of the C-field anticipated the later development of cosmic inflation
Cosmic inflation
In physical cosmology, cosmic inflation, cosmological inflation or just inflation is the theorized extremely rapid exponential expansion of the early universe by a factor of at least 1078 in volume, driven by a negative-pressure vacuum energy density. The inflationary epoch comprises the first part...

. They jointly argued that continuous creation was no more inexplicable than the appearance of the entire universe from nothing, although it had to be done on a regular basis. In the end, mounting observational evidence convinced most cosmologists that the steady state model was incorrect and that the Big Bang was the theory that agreed best with observations, although Hoyle continued to support and develop his theory. In 1993, in an attempt to explain some of the evidence against the steady state theory, he presented a modified version called "quasi-steady state cosmology" (QSS), but the theory is not widely accepted.

The evidence that resulted in the Big Bang's victory over the steady state model, at least in the minds of most cosmologists, included the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation in the 1960s, the distribution of "young galaxies" and quasars throughout the Universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 in the 1980s, a more consistent age estimate of the universe and most recently the observations of the COBE
COBE
The COsmic Background Explorer , also referred to as Explorer 66, was a satellite dedicated to cosmology. Its goals were to investigate the cosmic microwave background radiation of the universe and provide measurements that would help shape our understanding of the cosmos.This work provided...

 satellite in the 1990s and the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe — also known as the Microwave Anisotropy Probe , and Explorer 80 — is a spacecraft which measures differences in the temperature of the Big Bang's remnant radiant heat — the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation — across the full sky. Headed by Professor...

 launched in 2001, which showed unevenness in the microwave background in the early universe, which corresponds to currently observed distributions of galaxies.

Media appearances


Hoyle appeared in a series of radio talks on astronomy for the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 in the 1950s; these were collected in the book The Nature of the Universe, and he went on to write a number of other popular science books. In the play Sur la route de Montalcino, the character of Fred Hoyle confronts Georges Lemaître
Georges Lemaître
Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître was a Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain. He was the first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble...

 on a fictional journey to the Vatican in 1957.

Rejection of chemical evolution


In his later years, Hoyle became a staunch critic of theories of chemical evolution
Abiogenesis
Abiogenesis or biopoesis is the study of how biological life arises from inorganic matter through natural processes, and the method by which life on Earth arose...

 used to explain the naturalistic
Naturalism (philosophy)
Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

 origin of life. With Chandra Wickramasinghe
Chandra Wickramasinghe
Vidya Jothi Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe , FIMA, FRAS, FRSA is Professor at Cardiff University and Honorary Professor at the University of Buckingham. He is the Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology...

, Hoyle promoted the theory that life evolved in space, spreading through the universe via panspermia, and that evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 on earth is driven by a steady influx of virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

es arriving via comet
Comet
A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet...

s. In 1982, Hoyle presented Evolution from Space for the Royal Institution's Omni Lecture. After considering what he thought of as a very remote probability of evolution he concluded:
Published in his 1982/1984 books Evolution from Space (co-authored with Chandra Wickramasinghe), Hoyle calculated that the chance of obtaining the required set of enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

s for even the simplest living cell was one in 1040,000. Since the number of atom
Atom
The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons...

s in the known universe is infinitesimally tiny by comparison (1080), he argued that even a whole universe full of primordial soup would grant little chance to evolutionary processes. He claimed:
Hoyle compared the random emergence of even the simplest cell to the likelihood that "a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

 from the materials therein." Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 by chance combination of amino acid
Amino acid
Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side-chain that varies between different amino acids. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen...

s to a solar system full of blind
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 men solving Rubik's Cube
Rubik's Cube
Rubik's Cube is a 3-D mechanical puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik.Originally called the "Magic Cube", the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp. in 1980 and won the German Game of the Year special award for Best Puzzle that...

 simultaneously. (See the watchmaker analogy
Watchmaker analogy
The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. By way of an analogy, the argument states that design implies a designer...

 for similar reasoning.) Hoyle's statements and this line of reasoning (at various levels of accuracy) appears frequently in support of intelligent design
Intelligent design
Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for...

. Mainstream evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

ary biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 rejects Hoyle's interpretation of statistics, and supporters of modern evolutionary theory, such as Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

, refer to this as "Hoyle's fallacy
Hoyle's fallacy
Hoyle's Fallacy, sometimes called the junkyard tornado, is a term for Fred Hoyle's flawed statistical analysis applied to evolutionary origins, in which he compares the probability of cellular life evolving to the chance of a tornado "sweeping through a junkyard" and assembling a functional aeroplane...

".

Other controversies


Further occasions on which Hoyle aroused controversy included his questioning the authenticity of fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

 Archaeopteryx
Archaeopteryx
Archaeopteryx , sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel , is a genus of theropod dinosaur that is closely related to birds. The name derives from the Ancient Greek meaning "ancient", and , meaning "feather" or "wing"...

 and his condemnation of the failure to include Jocelyn Bell
Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, FRAS , is a British astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student she discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish. She was president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and was interim president...

 in the 1974 Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 award to Antony Hewish for the discovery of pulsar
Pulsar
A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. The radiation can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing towards the Earth. This is called the lighthouse effect and gives rise to the pulsed nature that gives pulsars their name...

s.

The most important of Hoyle's contributions was probably his work on nucleosynthesis: the idea that the chemical elements were synthesized from primordial hydrogen and helium in stars. Many thought it unfair that a Nobel prize was awarded to his collaborator William A Fowler, but Hoyle himself was excluded from the prize.

Hoyle had a famously heated argument with Martin Ryle
Martin Ryle
Sir Martin Ryle was an English radio astronomer who developed revolutionary radio telescope systems and used them for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources...

 of the Cavendish Radio Astronomy Group
Cavendish Astrophysics Group
The Cavendish Astrophysics Group is based at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. The group operates all of the telescopes at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory except for the 32m MERLIN telescope, which is operated by Jodrell Bank.The group is the second largest of three...

 about Hoyle's steady state theory
Steady State theory
In cosmology, the Steady State theory is a model developed in 1948 by Fred Hoyle, Thomas Gold, Hermann Bondi and others as an alternative to the Big Bang theory...

, which somewhat restricted collaboration between the Cavendish group and the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy
Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge
The Institute of Astronomy is the largest of the three astronomy departments in the University of Cambridge, and one of the largest astronomy sites in the UK...

 during the 1960s.

As did Thomas Gold
Thomas Gold
Thomas Gold was an Austrian-born astrophysicist, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the Royal Society . Gold was one of three young Cambridge scientists who in the 1950s proposed the now mostly abandoned 'steady...

, Hoyle defended primordial origin of natural hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas).

Honours


Awards
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (March, 1957)
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    -History:In the early years, more than one medal was often awarded in a year, but by 1833 only one medal was being awarded per year. This caused a problem when Neptune was discovered in 1846, because many felt an award should jointly be made to John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier...

     (1968)
  • Bakerian Lecture
    Bakerian Lecture
    The Bakerian Lecture is a prize lecture of the Royal Society, a lecture on physical sciences.In 1775 Henry Baker left £100 for a spoken lecture by a Fellow on such part of natural history or experimental philosophy as the Society shall determine....

     (1968)
  • Bruce Medal
    Bruce Medal
    The Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal is awarded every year by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for outstanding lifetime contributions to astronomy. It is named after Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American patroness of astronomy, and was first awarded in 1898...

     (1970)
  • Henry Norris Russell Lectureship
    Henry Norris Russell Lectureship
    The Henry Norris Russell Lectureship is awarded each year by the American Astronomical Society in recognition of a lifetime of excellence in astronomical research.-Previous lecturers:This list of lecturers is from the American Astronomical Society's website....

     (1971)
  • Knighthood (1972)
  • President of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Royal Astronomical Society
    The Royal Astronomical Society is a learned society that began as the Astronomical Society of London in 1820 to support astronomical research . It became the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831 on receiving its Royal Charter from William IV...

     (1971–1973)
  • Royal Medal
    Royal Medal
    The Royal Medal, also known as The Queen's Medal, is a silver-gilt medal awarded each year by the Royal Society, two for "the most important contributions to the advancement of natural knowledge" and one for "distinguished contributions in the applied sciences" made within the Commonwealth of...

     (1974)
  • Klumpke-Roberts Award
    Klumpke-Roberts Award
    The Klumpke-Roberts Award was established from a bequest by astronomer Dorothea Klumpke-Roberts and recognizes outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy...

     of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
    Astronomical Society of the Pacific
    The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is a scientific and educational organization, founded in San Francisco on February 7, 1889. Its name derives from its origins on the Pacific Coast, but today it has members all over the country and the world...

     (1977)
  • Balzan Prize
    Balzan Prize
    The International Balzan Prize Foundation awards four annual monetary prizes to people or organisations who have made outstanding achievements in the fields of humanities, natural sciences, culture, as well as for endeavours for peace and the brotherhood of man.-Rewards and assets:Each year the...

     for Astrophysics: evolution of stars (1994, with Martin Schwarzschild
    Martin Schwarzschild
    Martin Schwarzschild was a German American astronomer. He was the son of famed astrophysicist Karl Schwarzschild and the nephew of the Swiss astrophysicist Robert Emden.-Biography:...

    )
  • Crafoord Prize
    Crafoord Prize
    The Crafoord Prize is an annual science prize established in 1980 by Holger Crafoord, a Swedish industrialist, and his wife Anna-Greta Crafoord...

     from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences or Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden. The Academy is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization which acts to promote the sciences, primarily the natural sciences and mathematics.The Academy was founded on 2...

    , with Edwin Salpeter (1997)


Named after him
  • Asteroid
    Asteroid
    Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

     8077 Hoyle
  • Janibacter hoylei, species of bacteria discovered by ISRO scientists

Science fiction works


Hoyle also wrote science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

. In his first novel, The Black Cloud
The Black Cloud
The Black Cloud is a science fiction novel written by astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle. Published in 1957, the book details the arrival of an enormous cloud of gas that enters the solar system and threatens to destroy most of the life on Earth by blocking the Sun's radiation.-Plot summary:In 1964,...

, most intelligent life in the universe takes the form of interstellar gas clouds; they are surprised to learn that intelligent life can also form on planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

s. He wrote a television series, A for Andromeda
A for Andromeda
A for Andromeda is a British television science fiction drama serial first made and broadcast by the BBC in seven parts in 1961. Written by the noted cosmologist Fred Hoyle, in conjunction with author and television producer John Elliot, it concerns a group of scientists who detect a radio signal...

, which was also published as a novel. His play Rockets in Ursa Major had a professional production at the Mermaid Theatre
Mermaid Theatre
The Mermaid Theatre was a theatre at Puddle Dock, in Blackfriars, in the City of London and the first built there since the time of Shakespeare...

 in 1962.
  • The Black Cloud
    The Black Cloud
    The Black Cloud is a science fiction novel written by astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle. Published in 1957, the book details the arrival of an enormous cloud of gas that enters the solar system and threatens to destroy most of the life on Earth by blocking the Sun's radiation.-Plot summary:In 1964,...

    , 1957
  • Ossian's Ride
    Ossian's Ride
    Ossian's Ride is a science fiction novel written by astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle.-Plot summary:In the 1970 of this story, Eire has become an authoritarian police state, made somewhat acceptable to the population by the vast wealth flowing from a secret and forbidden science zone occupying a large...

    , 1959
  • A for Andromeda
    A for Andromeda
    A for Andromeda is a British television science fiction drama serial first made and broadcast by the BBC in seven parts in 1961. Written by the noted cosmologist Fred Hoyle, in conjunction with author and television producer John Elliot, it concerns a group of scientists who detect a radio signal...

    , 1962 (co-authored with John Elliot
    John Elliot (author)
    John Herbert Elliot was a British novelist, screenwriter and television producer. Between 1954 and 1960 he scripted a succession of one-off television plays including War in the Air and A Man from the Sun...

    )
  • Fifth Planet
    Fifth Planet
    Fifth Planet is a science fiction novel written by astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle and his son Geoffrey Hoyle.-Plot summary:Another star is due to pass close to the sun, close enough for conventional spacecraft to reach it. The first planets observed are four gas-giants, but then an inner 'Fifth...

    , 1963 (co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle
    Geoffrey Hoyle
    Geoffrey Hoyle is an English science fiction writer, best known for the works which he co-authored with his father, the astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle. About half of Fred Hoyle's science fiction works were co-authored with his son....

    )
  • The Andromeda Breakthrough
    The Andromeda Breakthrough
    The Andromeda Breakthrough was a 1962 sequel to the popular BBC TV science fiction serial A for Andromeda, again written by Fred Hoyle and John Elliot....

    , 1965 (co-authored with John Elliot
    John Elliot (author)
    John Herbert Elliot was a British novelist, screenwriter and television producer. Between 1954 and 1960 he scripted a succession of one-off television plays including War in the Air and A Man from the Sun...

    )
  • October the First Is Too Late, 1966
  • Element 79, 1967
  • Rockets in Ursa Major, 1969 (co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • Seven Steps to the Sun, 1970 (co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • The Inferno, 10/1973 (co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • The Molecule Men and the Monster of Loch Ness, 1973 (co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • Into Deepest Space, 1974 (co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • The Incandescent Ones, 1977 (co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • The Westminster Disaster (SBN 0060120096, 10/1978 (co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • Comet Halley, 11/1985
  • 'The Frozen Planet of Azuron, 1982 (Ladybird Books, co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • The Energy Pirate, 1982 (Ladybird Books, co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • The Planet of Death, 1982 (Ladybird Books, co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)
  • The Giants of Universal Park, 1982 (Ladybird Books, co-authored with Geoffrey Hoyle)

Most of these are independent of each other. Andromeda Breakthrough is a sequel to A for Andromeda and Into Deepest Space is a sequel to Rockets in Ursa Major. The four Ladybird Books are intended for children.

Non-fiction works

  • The Nature of the Universe - a series of broadcast lectures, Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1950 (early use of the big bang phrase)
  • Frontiers of Astronomy, Heinemann Education Books Limited, London, 1955. - The Internet Archive. HarperCollins, ISBN 0060027606 ISBN 978-0060027605
  • Burbidge, E.M., Burbidge, G.R., Fowler, W.A. and Hoyle, F., Synthesis of the Elements in Stars, Revs. Mod. Physics 29:547–650, 1957, the famous B²FH paper after their initials, for which Hoyle is most famous among professional cosmologists.
  • Astronomy, A history of man's investigation of the universe, Crescent Books, Inc., London 1962 LC 62-14108
  • Galaxies, Nuclei, and Quasars, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1965 LC-65-20996
  • Nicolaus Copernicus, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., London, p. 78, 1973
  • Astronomy and Cosmology: A Modern Course, 1975, ISBN 0-7167-0351-3
  • Energy or Extinction? The case for nuclear energy, 1977, Heinemann Educational Books Limited, ISBN 0-435-54430-6. In this provocative book Hoyle establishes the dependence of Western civilization on energy consumption and predicts that nuclear fission as a source of energy is essential for its survival.
  • Ten Faces of the Universe, 1977, W. H. Freeman and Company (San Francisco), ISBN 0-7167-0384X, ISBN 0-7167-0383-1
  • Lifecloud - The Origin of Life in the Universe, Hoyle, F. and Wickramasinghe C., J. M. Dent and Sons, 1978. ISBN 0-460-04335-8
  • Commonsense in Nuclear Energy, Fred Hoyle and Geoffrey Hoyle, 1980, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., ISBN 0-435-54432-2
  • The big bang in astronomy, New Scientist 92(1280):527, 19 November 1981.
  • Ice, the Ultimate Human Catastrophe,1981, ISBN 0826400647 Snippet view from Google Books
  • The Intelligent Universe, 1983
  • From Grains to Bacteria, Hoyle, F. and Wickramasinghe N.C., University College Cardiff Press, ISBN 0906449642, 1984
  • Evolution from space (the Omni lecture) and other papers on the origin of life 1982, ISBN 0894900838
  • Evolution from Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism, 1984, ISBN 0-671-49263-2
  • With Jayant Narlikar and Chandra Wickramasinghe, The extragalactic universe: an alternative view, Nature 346:807–812, 30 August 1990.
  • The Origin of the Universe and the Origin of Religion,1993, ISBN 1559210834
  • Home Is Where the Wind Blows: Chapters from a Cosmologist's Life (autobiography) Oxford University Press 1994, ISBN 0-19-850060-2
  • Mathematics of Evolution, (1987) University College Cardiff Press, (1999) Acorn Enterprises LLC., ISBN 0-9669934-0-3
  • With G. Burbridge
    Geoffrey Burbidge
    Geoffrey Ronald Burbidge FRS was an English astronomy professor, most recently at the University of California, San Diego. He was married to astrophysicist Dr. Margaret Burbidge.-Education:...

     and Narlikar J. V. A Different Approach to Cosmology, Cambridge University Press 2000, ISBN 0-521-66223-0

Further reading

  • Alan P. Lightman and Roberta Brawer, Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists, Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Its current director is William P...

    , 1990. A collection of interviews, mostly with the generation (or two) of cosmologists after Hoyle, but also including an interview with Hoyle himself. Several interviewees testify to Hoyle's influence in popularizing astronomy and cosmology.
  • Dennis Overbye
    Dennis Overbye
    Dennis Overbye is a science writer specializing in physics and cosmology.-Biography:Overbye received his B.S. in physics from M.I.T.—where he was a member of the Alpha Mu chapter of Phi Kappa Sigma—in 1966. He started work towards a master's degree in astronomy from U.C.L.A...

    , Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos: The Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe, HarperCollins
    HarperCollins
    HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by News Corporation. It is the combination of the publishers William Collins, Sons and Co Ltd, a British company, and Harper & Row, an American company, itself the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers and Row, Peterson & Company. The worldwide...

    , 1991. ISBN 0330295853 Second edition (with new afterword), Back Bay, 1999. Gives a biographical account of modern cosmology in a novel-like fashion. Complementary to Origins.
  • Simon Mitton, Fred Hoyle: A Life in Science, Cambridge University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-521-18947-7
  • Douglas Gough, editor, The Scientific Legacy of Fred Hoyle, Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    , 2005. ISBN 0-521-82448-6
  • Chandra Wickramasinghe
    Chandra Wickramasinghe
    Vidya Jothi Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe , FIMA, FRAS, FRSA is Professor at Cardiff University and Honorary Professor at the University of Buckingham. He is the Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology...

    , A Journey with Fred Hoyle: The Search for Cosmic Life, World Scientific Publishing, 2005. ISBN 981-238-912-1
  • Jane Gregory, Fred Hoyle's Universe, Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-19-850791-7

External links