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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Sir Fred Hoyle Quotes

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Sir Fred Hoyle
(24 Jun 1915 - 20 Aug 2001)

English astronomer and mathematician.


Science Quotes by Sir Fred Hoyle (10 quotes)

Be suspicious of a theory if more and more hypotheses are needed to support it as new facts become available, or as new considerations are brought to bear.
— Sir Fred Hoyle
Given as the authors’ preferred interpretation of Ockham’s Razor. With co-author Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (1981), 135.
Science quotes on:  |  Available (78)  |  Bear (159)  |  Become (815)  |  Consideration (139)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Facts (553)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  More (2559)  |  Need (290)  |  New (1217)  |  Ockham’s Razor (2)  |  Support (147)  |  Suspicious (3)  |  Theory (972)

Earlier theories … were based on the hypothesis that all the matter in the universe was created in one big bang at a particular time in the remote past. [Coining the “big bang” expression.]
— Sir Fred Hoyle
From microfilmed Speaker's Copy of a radio script held at the BBC Written Archive Centre, for Hoyle's radio talk on the BBC Third Programme (28 Mar 1949). The date and time of the broadcast, 6:30pm, are given in that week’s Radio Times. The quote, with these references given in footnotes, in Simon Mitton, Fred Hoyle: A Life in Science (2011), 127-128 and 332. The text of the talk, the first printed use of the “big bang” expression, in the BBC’s The Listener magazine (7 Apr 1949), Vol.41, 568.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Bang (29)  |  Big Bang (40)  |  Creation (329)  |  Early (186)  |  Expression (176)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Matter (801)  |  Nomenclature (146)  |  Past (337)  |  Remote (83)  |  Theory (972)  |  Time (1877)  |  Universe (861)

I don’t see the logic of rejecting data just because they seem incredible.
— Sir Fred Hoyle
In Astronomy Transformed by D. O. Edge and M. J. Mulkay (1976).
Science quotes on:  |  Data (156)  |  Incredible (42)  |  Logic (287)  |  See (1082)

If there were some deep principle that drove organic systems towards living systems, the operation of the principle should easily be demonstrable in a test tube in half a morning. Needless to say, no such demonstration has ever been given. Nothing happens when organic materials are subjected to the usual prescription of showers of electrical sparks or drenched in ultraviolet light, except the eventual production of a tarry sludge.
— Sir Fred Hoyle
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Deep (233)  |  Demonstration (114)  |  Drench (2)  |  Drive (55)  |  Easily (35)  |  Electrical (57)  |  Eventual (9)  |  Give (202)  |  Half (56)  |  Happen (275)  |  Light (609)  |  Live (629)  |  Living (491)  |  Material (353)  |  Morning (94)  |  Needless (4)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Operation (213)  |  Organic (158)  |  Prescription (18)  |  Principle (510)  |  Production (183)  |  Say (984)  |  Shower (6)  |  Sludge (3)  |  Spark (31)  |  Subject (522)  |  System (537)  |  Test (212)  |  Test Tube (12)  |  Ultraviolet (2)

It is often held that scientific hypotheses are constructed, and are to be constructed, only after a detailed weighing of all possible evidence bearing on the matter, and that then and only then may one consider, and still only tentatively, any hypotheses. This traditional view however, is largely incorrect, for not only is it absurdly impossible of application, but it is contradicted by the history of the development of any scientific theory. What happens in practice is that by intuitive insight, or other inexplicable inspiration, the theorist decides that certain features seem to him more important than others and capable of explanation by certain hypotheses. Then basing his study on these hypotheses the attempt is made to deduce their consequences. The successful pioneer of theoretical science is he whose intuitions yield hypotheses on which satisfactory theories can be built, and conversely for the unsuccessful (as judged from a purely scientific standpoint).
— Sir Fred Hoyle
Co-author with Raymond Arthur Lyttleton, in 'The Internal Constitution of the Stars', Occasional Notes of the Royal Astronomical Society 1948, 12, 90.
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One [idea] was that the Universe started its life a finite time ago in a single huge explosion, and that the present expansion is a relic of the violence of this explosion. This big bang idea seemed to me to be unsatisfactory even before detailed examination showed that it leads to serious difficulties.
— Sir Fred Hoyle
In radio talk on the BBC Third Programme, as subsequently printed in the BBC’s The Listener magazine (9 Mar 1950), Vol.43, 420. This was his further use of the term “big bang” that he first expressed in a radio talk on 28 Mar 1949.
Science quotes on:  |  Bang (29)  |  Big Bang (40)  |  Creation (329)  |  Detail (146)  |  Difficulty (198)  |  Examination (98)  |  Expansion (41)  |  Explosion (44)  |  Finite (60)  |  Idea (845)  |  Lead (385)  |  Life (1799)  |  Nomenclature (146)  |  Present (620)  |  Relic (6)  |  Serious (91)  |  Show (346)  |  Single (354)  |  Start (221)  |  Time (1877)  |  Universe (861)  |  Unsatisfactory (3)  |  Violence (34)

Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away if your car could go straight upwards.
— Sir Fred Hoyle
…...
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Car (71)  |  Drive (55)  |  Hour (186)  |  Remote (83)  |  Space (501)  |  Straight (73)  |  Upward (43)  |  Upwards (6)

The astronomer is severely handicapped as compared with other scientists. He is forced into a comparatively passive role. He cannot invent his own experiments as the physicist, the chemist or the biologist can. He cannot travel about the Universe examining the items that interest him. He cannot, for example, skin a star like an onion and see how it works inside.
— Sir Fred Hoyle
In The Nature of the Universe (1950).
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[We must] recognize ourselves for what we are—the priests of a not very popular religion.
— Sir Fred Hoyle
In Physics Today, April 1968.
Science quotes on:  |  Must (1526)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Priest (28)  |  Recognize (125)  |  Religion (363)

“If there are two theories, one simpler man the other, the simpler one is to be preferred.” At first sight this does not seem quite so bad, but a little thought shows that our tendency to prefer the simpler possibility is psychological rather than scientific. It is less trouble to think that way. Experience invariably shows that the more correct a theory becomes, the more complex does it seem. … So this … interpretation of [Ockham’s Razor] is … worthless.
— Sir Fred Hoyle
With co-author Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (1981), 135.
Science quotes on:  |  Bad (180)  |  Become (815)  |  Complex (188)  |  Complexity (111)  |  Correct (87)  |  Experience (470)  |  First (1284)  |  Interpretation (86)  |  Invariably (35)  |  Little (708)  |  Man (2249)  |  More (2559)  |  Ockham’s Razor (2)  |  Other (2236)  |  Possibility (164)  |  Prefer (25)  |  Psychological (42)  |  Scientific (940)  |  Show (346)  |  Sight (132)  |  Simple (406)  |  Tendency (99)  |  Theory (972)  |  Think (1086)  |  Thought (954)  |  Trouble (107)  |  Two (937)  |  Way (1216)



Quotes by others about Sir Fred Hoyle (1)

The alternative to the Big Bang is not, in my opinion, the steady state; it is instead the more general theory of continuous creation. Continuous creation can occur in bursts and episodes. These mini-bangs can produce all the wonderful element-building that Fred Hoyle discovered and contributed to cosmology. This kind of element and galaxy formation can take place within an unbounded, non-expanding universe. It will also satisfy precisely the Friedmann solutions of general relativity. It can account very well for all the facts the Big Bang explains—and also for those devastating, contradictory observations which the Big Bang must, at all costs, pretend are not there
In 'Letters: Wrangling Over the Bang', Science News (27 Jul 1991), 140, No. 4, 51. Also quoted in Roy C. Martin, Astronomy on Trial: A Devastating and Complete Repudiation of the Big Bang Fiasco (1999), Appendix I, 217.
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See also:
  • 24 Jun - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Hoyle's birth.
  • Fred Hoyle: A Life in Science, by Simon Mitton. - book suggestion.
  • Booklist for Fred Hoyle.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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