Fred Hoyle

Fred Hoyle : A Life in Science

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The scientific life of Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) was truly unparalleled. During his career he wrote groundbreaking scientific papers and caused bitter disputes in the scientific community with his revolutionary theories. Hoyle is best known for showing that we are all, literally, made of stardust in his paper explaining how carbon, and then all the heavier elements, were created by nuclear reactions inside stars. However, he constantly courted controversy and two years later he followed this with his 'steady state' theory of the universe. This challenged another model of the universe, which Hoyle called the 'big bang' theory. Fred Hoyle was also famous amongst the general public. He popularised his research through radio and television broadcasts and wrote best-selling novels. Written from personal accounts and interviews with Hoyle's contemporaries, this book gives valuable personal insights into Fred Hoyle and his unforgettable life.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 22 b/w illus.
  • 1139039199
  • 9781139039192

Review quote

'An elegantly written and thoroughly documented biography of a great and immensely influential scientist who was a fascinating personality as well.' Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society 'This is the first comprehensive exploration of both the science and the man, told by one of the few living writers equally familiar with both. It is a rich and complex story related with confidence and authority, allowing general readers to better understand why science is too fascinating not to be shared more broadly throughout our culture.' Lawrence M. Krauss, popular science author 'Simon Mitton has thrown new light on Hoyle's life with a biography that is more structured, more balanced, more complete and arguably more insightful than Hoyle's own account.' Simon Singh, journalist and popular science author 'I read [Fred Hoyle's first book] when at high-school and it inspired me to become an astronomer so I, personally, have much to thank Fred Hoyle for. But I would also like to thank Simon Mitton for making Hoyle's life and work come alive in his book - one that I cannot recommend too highly.' Gnomon 'The word definitive is often overused in book reviews but it is difficult to escape its suitability in describing Simon Mitton's elegant and comprehensive study.' Spaceflight '... provides a lively look at the frustrations, failures and triumphs of Hoyle and the people with whom he surrounded himself during his career. Anyone who enjoys reading about larger-than-life characters will enjoy this book.' Journal of the History of Astronomy
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Table of contents

Foreword Paul Davies; Prologue; 1. An end and a beginning; 2. Training for cosmology; 3. The star makers; 4. Hoyle's secret war; 5. The nature of the Universe; 6. Lives of the stars; 7. Clash of Titans; 8. Origin of the chemical elements; 9. Matters of gravity; 10. Mountains to climb; 11. The watershed; 12. Stones, bones, bugs and accidents; Acknowledgements; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
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