Fred Hoyle: A Life in Science

Cambridge University Press
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The scientific life of Fred Hoyle (1915–2001) was truly unparalleled. During his career he wrote groundbreaking scientific papers and caused bitter disputes in the scientific community with his revolutionary theories. Hoyle is best known for showing that we are all, literally, made of stardust in his paper explaining how carbon, and then all the heavier elements, were created by nuclear reactions inside stars. However, he constantly courted controversy and two years later he followed this with his 'steady state' theory of the universe. This challenged another model of the universe, which Hoyle called the 'big bang' theory. Fred Hoyle was also famous amongst the general public. He popularised his research through radio and television broadcasts and wrote best-selling novels. Written from personal accounts and interviews with Hoyle's contemporaries, this book gives valuable personal insights into Fred Hoyle and his unforgettable life.
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About the author

Simon Mitton is a Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge, and was the astronomy publisher at Cambridge University Press for twenty years. He is the author or editor of several books on astronomy and the history of science, including Cambridge Scientific Minds (Cambridge University Press, 2000). The International Astronomical Union designated an asteroid as Mitton 4027 in recognition of the achievements of Simon and his wife Dr Jacqueline Mitton in popularising astronomy through book writing.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Feb 24, 2011
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Pages
382
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ISBN
9781139495950
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology
Nature / Sky Observation
Science / Astronomy
Science / Cosmology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Discoverers of the Universe tells the gripping story of William Herschel, the brilliant, fiercely ambitious, emotionally complex musician and composer who became court astronomer to Britain's King George III, and of William's sister, Caroline, who assisted him in his observations of the night sky and became an accomplished astronomer in her own right. Together, they transformed our view of the universe from the unchanging, mechanical creation of Newton's clockmaker god to the ever-evolving, incredibly dynamic cosmos that it truly is.

William was in his forties when his amateur observations using a homemade telescope led to his discovery of Uranus, and an invitation to King George's court. He coined the term "asteroid," discovered infrared radiation, was the first to realize that our solar system is moving through space, discovered 2,500 nebulae that form the basis of the catalog astronomers use today, and was unrivalled as a telescope builder. Caroline shared William's passion for astronomy, recording his observations during night watches and organizing his papers for publication. She was the first salaried woman astronomer in history, a pioneer who herself discovered nine comets and became a role model for women in the sciences.


Written by the world's premier expert on the Herschels, Discoverers of the Universe traces William and Caroline's many extraordinary contributions to astronomy, shedding new light on their productive but complicated relationship, and setting their scientific achievements in the context of their personal struggles, larger-than-life ambitions, bitter disappointments, and astonishing triumphs.

The American astronomer Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was one of the best-known scientists of his time. A prolific writer and television personality, he was creator and host of Cosmos, an enormously popular television series that explained the wonders and intricacies of astronomy to millions of television viewers. Gifted with the ability to communicate difficult scientific concepts to the average person, Sagan opened up the wonders of science to hundreds of thousands more through his many books and magazine articles. But in addition to his talents as a science popularizer, Sagan was a first-rate scientist. Ever persistent in exploring the possibility of life on other planets in the Universe, he was a pioneer in the field now known as astrobiology, a major thrust of NASA's current planetary explorations

This book takes a fascinating look at all aspects of the life of Carl Sagan: Sagan the working scientist, who was an inspired and creative participant in the forefront of the new and exciting era of astronomy opened up by the technological breakthroughs of the space age; Sagan the advocate for science, who could expound on the beauties and joys of science as well as point out the follies and foibles of pseudoscience; and Sagan the activist, who helped raise our awareness to the perils of the Nuclear Age that threatened all of us. Following the arc of Sagan's personal and professional life, this book examines both the man and the provocative ideas he brought to this new era, always seeking to capture the infectious enthusiasm and love of communication that infused Carl Sagan's life and work.

Heart of Darkness describes the incredible saga of humankind's quest to unravel the deepest secrets of the universe. Over the past thirty years, scientists have learned that two little-understood components--dark matter and dark energy--comprise most of the known cosmos, explain the growth of all cosmic structure, and hold the key to the universe's fate. The story of how evidence for the so-called "Lambda-Cold Dark Matter" model of cosmology has been gathered by generations of scientists throughout the world is told here by one of the pioneers of the field, Jeremiah Ostriker, and his coauthor Simon Mitton.

From humankind's early attempts to comprehend Earth's place in the solar system, to astronomers' exploration of the Milky Way galaxy and the realm of the nebulae beyond, to the detection of the primordial fluctuations of energy from which all subsequent structure developed, this book explains the physics and the history of how the current model of our universe arose and has passed every test hurled at it by the skeptics. Throughout this rich story, an essential theme is emphasized: how three aspects of rational inquiry--the application of direct measurement and observation, the introduction of mathematical modeling, and the requirement that hypotheses should be testable and verifiable--guide scientific progress and underpin our modern cosmological paradigm.


This monumental puzzle is far from complete, however, as scientists confront the mysteries of the ultimate causes of cosmic structure formation and the real nature and origin of dark matter and dark energy.

Fred Hoyle was one of the most widely acclaimed and colourful scientists of the twentieth century, a down-to-earth Yorkshireman who combined a brilliant scientific mind with a relish for communication and controversy. Best known for his steady-state theory of cosmology, he described a universe with both an infinite past and an infinite future. He coined the phrase 'big bang' to describe the main competing theory, and sustained a long-running, sometimes ill-tempered, and typically public debate with his scientific rivals. He showed how the elements are formed by nuclear reactions inside stars, and explained how we are therefore all formed from stardust. He also claimed that diseases fall from the sky, attacked Darwinism, and branded the famous fossil of the feathered Archaeopteryx a fake. Throughout his career, Hoyle played a major role in the popularization of science. Through his radio broadcasts and his highly successful science fiction novels he became a household name, though his outspokenness and support for increasingly outlandish causes later in life at times antagonized the scientific community. Jane Gregory builds up a vivid picture of Hoyle's role in the ideas, the organization, and the popularization of astronomy in post-war Britain, and provides a fascinating examination of the relationship between a maverick scientist, the scientific establishment, and the public. Through the life of Hoyle, this book chronicles the triumphs, jealousies, rewards, and feuds of a rapidly developing scientific field, in a narrative animated by a cast of colourful astronomers, keeping secrets, losing their tempers, and building their careers here on Earth while contemplating the nature of the stars.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The world-famous cosmologist and author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the biggest questions facing humankind.

“Hawking’s parting gift to humanity . . . a book every thinking person worried about humanity’s future should read.”—NPR

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Forbes • The Guardian • Wired

Stephen Hawking was the most renowned scientist since Einstein, known both for his groundbreaking work in physics and cosmology and for his mischievous sense of humor. He educated millions of readers about the origins of the universe and the nature of black holes, and inspired millions more by defying a terrifying early prognosis of ALS, which originally gave him only two years to live. In later life he could communicate only by using a few facial muscles, but he continued to advance his field and serve as a revered voice on social and humanitarian issues.

Hawking not only unraveled some of the universe’s greatest mysteries but also believed science plays a critical role in fixing problems here on Earth. Now, as we face immense challenges on our planet—including climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the development of artificial intelligence—he turns his attention to the most urgent issues facing us.

Will humanity survive? Should we colonize space? Does God exist? ​​These are just a few of the questions Hawking addresses in this wide-ranging, passionately argued final book from one of the greatest minds in history.

Featuring a foreword by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar playing Stephen Hawking, an introduction by Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, and an afterword from Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, Brief Answers to the Big Questions is a brilliant last message to the world.

Praise for Brief Answers to the Big Questions

“[Hawking is] a symbol of the soaring power of the human mind.”—The Washington Post

“Hawking’s final message to readers . . . is a hopeful one.”—CNN

“Brisk, lucid peeks into the future of science and of humanity.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Hawking pulls no punches on subjects like machines taking over, the biggest threat to Earth, and the possibilities of intelligent life in space.”—Quartz

“Effortlessly instructive, absorbing, up to the minute and—where it matters—witty.”—The Guardian

“This beautiful little book is a fitting last twinkle from a new star in the firmament above.”—The Telegraph
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