Friday, December 28, 2007

Hoyle's mistake

Fred Hoyle was one of the greats of astronomy and cosmology. But, as JR Minkel explains, a proofreading oversight may have had a major detrimental impact on his legacy.

Sir Fred Hoyle, the late astrophysicist acclaimed for developing the theory of how stars forge hydrogen and helium into the heavier elements found throughout the universe, did not get the credit he deserved for a 1954 paper that outlined the idea, because he failed to spell out a key equation, a former colleague says.
Though as brilliant as Hoyle was, there were various reasons he didn't get the Nobel Prize, including his belief that life was raining down on us from outer space. I reviewed two books on Hoyle for Reason some time ago.

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