Fred Hoyle, cosmologist

Professor Sir Fred Hoyle, FRS (1915-2001) was born in Yorkshire and became a mathematician, astronomer and cosmologist. He frequently broke ranks with the established scientific institutions with his non-conformist theories. He coined the term ‘Big Bang’ in one of his radio shows whilst debunking the idea that the universe suddenly appeared in a massive explosion out of nothing.

In 1944 he made a visit to the USA, where he learnt more about nuclear fission. On his return to Britain he applied this to the study of the structure of stars and supernovae. His discoveries led him to refute favoured concepts such as Darwin‘s ‘Theory of Evolution’. He investigated the alternative panspermia hypothesis on the beginning of life on Earth. This says that cosmic dust landed on the planet, particularly from comets, and these microbes continue to be deposited and affect evolution and bring viruses. He called this the ‘Cosmicrobia’ theory. In this video, however, a colleague hints at Hoyle’s conclusion that the creation of life was not accidental:-

Another ground-breaking proposal was that Stonehenge was built to synchronise with the Earth’s movement in relation to the Sun and the Moon. Mocked at the time, this is now accepted as a viable possibility.


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