Fred Hoyle (1915-2001)
"To achieve anything really worth while in research, Hoyle wrote, "it is necessary to go against the opinions of one's fellows. To do so successfully, not merely becoming a crackpot, requires fine judgment, especially on long-term issues that cannot be settled quickly." Early disdain for convention and the fact that students paid less income tax persuaded Hoyle to forego a PhD in 1939. During the war he worked on radar and met Hermann Bondi and Tommy Gold, with whom he would propose steady state theory in 1948. With William Fowler and Geoffrey and Margaret Burbridge in the 1950s, Hoyle explained how elements more massive than helium can be manufactured in stars. Fowler received a Nobel Prize for the work, not shared with the more controversial Hoyle. Hoyle founded the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy in Cambridge in 1967, but resigned in 1973, in one of many disputes with authority. Hoyle more recently attributed life on earth to an infall of organic matter from space and the microwave background to electromagnetic radiation from particles formed when metallic vapors spewed out of supernovae cooled slowly. Hoyle achieved much in research, and also risked being judged a crackpot.
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