Frederick Hoyle
(1915 - 2001)

 

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 new elements.
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- ).

 


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