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Astronomer Fred Hoyle passes away
Posted: Wed, Aug 22, 2001, 10:37 AM ET (1437 GMT)
Famous — and infamous — British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle has died at the age of 86. Hoyle is best known for popularizing the term "Big Bang" to describe models where the universe formed in an explosion over ten billion years ago. Hoyle used the term derisively, but the phrase was adopted by model proponents and is widely used today. Hoyle was a supporter of an alternative model of the universe, known as "steady state", that had no beginning for the universe; that model has since fallen out of favor. Hoyle was also instrumental in studies of the physics of stellar interiors, explaining how heavy elements such as carbon, oxygen, and iron are formed in the cores of stars. In recent years Hoyle worked outside the scientific mainstream, developing controversial theories of panspermia, where the Earth was seeded with extraterrestrial life, as well as attempting to tie outbreaks of flu and diseases with the solar cycle.
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