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Hoyle, Fred, 1915-2001
Oral history interview with Sir Fred Hoyle, 1989 August 15.
In this interview Fred Hoyle discusses his childhood and growing up in Yorkshire; parental background and influences; early reading in science; early experience with literature; influence of Eddington's books; education at Cambridge; interest in mathematics; early interest in exploring cosmology after World War II; history of development of steady state model; influence of Dirac and preference for understanding mathematics first; thesis work with Dirac; personality of Dirac; history of work on nucleosynthesis in stars: the Cavendish Laboratory, nucleosynthesis in supernovae, carbon production in helium burning, the triple alpha reaction and the excited state of carbon, collaboration with William Fowler, important paper by Al Cameron, work with Fowler and Geoffrey and E. Margaret Burbidge; nonstellar production of helium; defense of the steady state model; "little big bangs" in the steady state picture; Hoyle and Taylor work in 1964 on limiting the number of types of neutrinos; motives in doing science; rejection of big bang model from biological considerations; reading in biology; early career as a popularizer of science; role of particle physicists in making cosmology a respectable science; Mach's principle; attitudes toward the horizon problem, the flatness problem, and the inflationary universe model; Hoyle's work on inflationary behavior within the steady state model; reasons why the inflationary universe model has been influential; attitude toward the de Lapparent, Geller, and Huchra work on large-scale inhomogeneity and influence of that work; theory versus observations in cosmology and problems with the big bang model; attitude toward work on the early universe; importance of long-range interactions and boundary conditions in the laws of physics; ideal design of the universe; question of whether the universe has a purpose.
(1915-2001): M. A. in physics, Cambridge University (1939); worked at Cambridge between 1945-1973, first as a lecturer and then as professor of astronomy and experimental philosophy; founded and was the first director of the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy at Cambridge; he was knighted in 1972. He had a wide range of interests in theoretical astrophysics, relativity, and cosmology, including gas accretion processes, stellar and big bang nucleosynthesis, and the steady state theory.
Burbidge, E. Margaret
Burbidge, Geoffrey R.
Cameron, A. G. W. (Alastair Graham Walter), 1925-
Dirac, P. A. M. (Paul Adrien Maurice), 1902-1984
Fowler, William A.
Geller, Margaret J.
Hoyle, Fred, 1915-2001
Huchra, John P.
Cavendish Laboratory (Cambridge, England)
University of Cambridge
Big bang theory
Inflationary universe.
Large scale structure (Astronomy)
Mach's principle.
Steady state cosmology.
Interviews. aat
Oral histories. aat
Transcripts. aat
Lightman, Alan P., 1948-, interviewer.
American Institute of Physics. Niels Bohr Library & Archives. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA