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Simon Mitton

Fred Hoyle: A life in science

Fred Hoyle was a prominent figure in British astronomy for many years, but in his later years was considered something of a maverick. This has meant that he is possibly less well known than his achievements merit. Hence Mitton's new book is an important step in bringing these achievements to the attention of a wider public. Central to the book are the upheavals which astronomy went through in the 1960s. No longer was it just looking through your nearest telescope, there was information from many wavelengths becoming available, theoretical astronomy was becoming a subject in its own right, and observational astronomy meant visiting a distant observatory. Mitton succeeds very well in describing Hoyle's participation in this turbulent time.

As is usual in biographies, Hoyle is presented as an indivdual struggling against the establishment. In fact one can see that Hoyle was a central figure in the astronomical establishment for a long time, despite sometimes having maverick ideas. The book is not strictly chronological. Mitton says that this is to treat each subject area separately, but I felt that it would have been better to keep to the order of Hoyle's employment - the subject areas didn't seem that different to me. The final chapter deals with the last three decades of Hoyle's life. I felt that more space could have been given to this, so that the reader could better understand the ideas which affected Hoyle's later reputation.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 320 pages  
ISBN: 1854109618
Salesrank: 6281029
Weight:1.72 lbs
Published: 2005 Aurum Press
Marketplace:New from $55.30:Used from $23.30
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 320 pages  
ISBN: 1854109618
Salesrank: 1243141
Weight:1.72 lbs
Published: 2005 Aurum Press
Marketplace:New from £20.00:Used from £3.98
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 320 pages  
ISBN: 1854109618
Salesrank: 2160346
Weight:1.72 lbs
Published: 2005 Aurum Press
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 102.74:Used from CDN$ 30.75
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
The first astronomer to publicize his subject on radio and television, Sir Fred Hoyle rose to national prominence in the 1950s as a result of his controversial ideas on the origins of the universe. Famous for his work on the thermonuclear reactions inside stars that made possible the beginnings of life, he developed the 'steady state' theory of the universe, soon challenged by the rival 'big bang' theory, which led to a bitter dispute between Hoyle and his rivals - not only fellow scientists but also archaeologists and palaeontologists whose conclusions he had challenged. This is a major scientific biography of one of the greatest, and best-known, scientists of the twentieth century, written in an enjoyable and accessible style.