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Fred Hoyle: An Online Exhibition

Institute of Theoretical Astronomy

Final Resignation

In August 1972 funding for the Institute from the Nuffield Foundation and the SRC was due to run out. In 1971 the University proposed merging IoTA with the observatories to form a new Institute of Astronomy. Hoyle felt that he was the natural choice for director of the new Institute. But confusion arose, and Hoyle believed that the University had appointed Donald Lynden-Bell behind his back. Lynden-Bell had recently been elected to the chair of astrophysics, ahead of Hoyle’s favoured candidates. Convinced that there was a conspiracy against him, Hoyle wrote to the Vice-Chancellor notifying him of his intention to resign as Plumian Professor from July 1973. Friends and colleagues could not get him to change his mind, and Hoyle’s 39 year association with Cambridge was over.

Threatened Resignation | Sketch of the IoTA building | Opening Speech | The New Building | Final Resignation

Hoyle's final letter of resignation, sent in February 1972

Transcription of the letter

Hoyle's Youth | Hoyle in Cambridge | Steady-State Universe | Stellar Nucleosynthesis | Hoyle vs Ryle | Institute of Theoretical Astronomy | Hoyle on the Radio | Hoyle the Writer | Hoyle the Polymath | Honours and Medals

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