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Fred Hoyle – Astronomer Extraordinaire

Posted on June 19th, 2008

Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), also addressed as Sir Fred Hoyle, was one of the more famous astronomers and scientists of the 20th Century. He often took controversial positions on cosmological theories, and is famous for coining the phrase “the Big Bang theory” in connection with his rejection of that hypothesis.

Fred Hoyle was born in Gilstead, West Yorkshire, England. His father, George Hoyle, worked in the wool trade and his mother, Mabel Pickard, had studied music at the Royal College of Music in London. Hoyle was educated at Bingley Grammar School and read mathematics at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Hoyle spent most of his working life at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge and served as its director for a number of years. He died in Bournemouth, England in 2001, after a series of strokes.

In addition to his work as an astronomer, Hoyle was a published writer of science fiction, including several co-authored with his son, Geoffrey Hoyle. Among his fictional books were A for Andromeda, The Black Cloud, and several others.

Hoyle was reportedly an atheist during most of his early life, but became agnostic when he found that he could not feel comfortable trying to explain the finer workings of physics and the Universe as simply “an accident.” Read the rest of this entry »

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