Conflict in the Cosmos: Fred Hoyle's Life in Science

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Joseph Henry Press, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 401 pages
Fred Hoyle's prolific career spanned more than 60 years. During that time, he made major contributions in fundamental areas of astronomy, His most important work focused on the evolution of stars, the origin of the chemical elements, the nature of gravitational forces, and the origin of life on Earth. But he is perhaps best remembered for his rare talent as a science communicator. He hosted one of the first radio programs that focused on science and then moved his show to the new medium of television, making him a household name long before such science luminaries as Patrick Moore or Carl Sagan rose to prominence. A man of ceaseless intellectual activity, Hoyle pushed the boundaries of our knowledge by being both right and wrong. When he was right, his contributions were of Nobel Laureate quality. Indeed, even when he was wrong, he stimulated his exasperated opponents to work that much more furiously to produce damning evidence against him, thus yielding additional discoveries and leading to more knowledge on a topic. Simon Mitton's sensitive biography tells the story of Hoyle's life as well as his science. Structuring each chapter around an intellectual puzzle, the science is framed within the context of the knowledge available to Hoyle at the time. Drawing on his personal knowledge of Fred Hoyle, Mitton vividly recreates the many public clashes between Hoyle and his critics, and at the same time he clearly explains the science underlying the conflict.

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Conflict in the cosmos: Fred Hoyle's life in science

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In a career that spanned more than 60 years, Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) not only made major contributions to the fields of astrophysics and astronomy but also brought science to the people, first as a ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Simon Mitton is a Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge, and was the astronomy publisher at Cambridge University Press for twenty years. He is the author or editor of several books on astronomy and the history of science, including Cambridge Scientific Minds (Cambridge University Press, 2000). The International Astronomical Union designated an asteroid as Mitton 4027 in recognition of the achievements of Simon and his wife Dr Jacqueline Mitton in popularising astronomy through book writing.

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