scientist and prolific author of science fiction and popular
books on science, Fred Hoyle (1915-) is best known for
deducing how the universe creates heavy elements and for his
support of the steady-state theory of the universe’s
helping to develop radar for the British effort in World War
II, he turned his talents toward astrophysics and cosmology.
He was one of the developers of the steady-state theory, which
holds that the universe has always existed and has always
looked the same. To keep the density of the universe from
falling, the theory requires that matter must be created
continually. Ironically, he coined the term “Big Bang” to
describe the competing theory, while looking for a snappy,
memorable phrase for a radio
ideas on how the elements formed proved more long-lasting.
With his colleague William Fowler, he suggested that all the
elements from helium to iron could be built up by nuclear
reactions in the interiors of stars. They also hypothesized
that the elements heavier than iron could form in supernova
explosions triggered by the collapse of a star’s core when it
had exhausted its nuclear fuel. Almost every scientist today
embraces this scenario of how the atoms in our bodies and in
our planet form.