1949: Fred Hoyle and the Steady State Theory
|Hoyle in and around the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy building, c. 1968. By permission of the Master and Fellows of St John's College, Cambridge.|
What may appear to be a long march from scientific ignorance to enlightenment is usually more of a slow crawl through back alleys and dead ends. The field of cosmology is an excellent case in point. Although it turned out to be wrong, the Steady State theory, proposed by Fred Hoyle, Tommy Gold, and Hermann Bodi at Cambridge University, in 1949 is worth adding to the story of cosmological discovery because it played an important role in the eventual acceptance of the Big Bang theory. In the process of developing and promoting his favored theory, Fred Hoyle answered one of the most difficult questions in cosmology—how did the heavier elements come into being?