English astronomer, cosmologist, and writer. In 1948 he joined with
Hermann Bondi and Thomas Gold in developing the steady-state theory
of the universe. In 1957, with William Fowler, he showed that chemical
elements heavier than hydrogen and helium may be built up by nuclear
reactions inside stars.
According to Hoyle's theory on gravitation, matter is not evenly distributed
throughout space, but forms self-gravitating systems. These may range
in diameter from a few kilometres to a million light years. Formed from
clouds of hydrogen gas, they vary greatly in density.
Hoyle has suggested that life originated in bacteria and viruses contained
in the gas clouds of space and was then delivered to the Earth by passing
comets. His first science-fiction novel was The Black Cloud 1957; he
has also written many popular science books.
Hoyle was born in Bingley, Yorkshire, and studied at Cambridge. His
academic career was spent at Cambridge and 1956-66 at Mount Palomar
Observatory, California. On his return he became director of the Cambridge
Institute of Theoretical Astronomy.
Fowler and Hoyle proposed that all the elements may be synthesized from
hydrogen by successive fusions. When the gas cloud reaches extremely
high temperatures, the hydrogen has turned to helium and neon, whose
nuclei interact, releasing particles that unite to build up nuclei of
His work on the evolution of stars was published in Frontiers of Astronomy
1955. His science fiction is generally set in the near future and, starting
with Fifth Planet 1963, cowritten with his son Geoffrey Hoyle (1942-