Sir Fred Hoyle RIP

Mon 3rd Sep 2001

Sir Fred Hoyle RIPAuthor and scientist, Sir Fred Hoyle, the man who coined the term "Big Bang" to describe the creation of the Universe, has died at the age of 86. Hoyle was a well known, if controversial, figure in Astronomy and Physics. He first propounded the Steady State theory of the Universe in 1948. He coined the term 'Big Bang' as an insult to those cosmologists who favoured the theory of the Universe being created in a cataclysmic event, and to his chagrin, the term passed into common usage.

Because of his rejection of the Big Bang model, he tended to be marginalized and many of his other theories were dismissed as fanciful. However, in recent years, his predictions were borne out. For example, he theorised that molecular Hydrogen would be abundant in deep space. This was subsequently found to be the case. He also postulated that the building blocks of life came to Earth from outer space. Astronomers have since discovered amino acids in dust clouds.

He published his first novel in 1957. The Black Cloud told the story of the discover of a sentient cloud of gas. This became a minor classic and was followed by Ossian's Ride (1958), TV novelization A for Andromeda (1962, with John Elliott), and October the First Is Too Late (1966). He cowrote a number of novels with his son, Geoffrey. He also wrote several popular non-fiction books most notably Lifecloud: The Origin of Life in the Universe (1979) and Cosmic Life-Force (1988) with Chandra Wrickmansinghe.

- David Stewart

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