Fred Hoyle: An Online Exhibition

Hoyle on the Radio: Creating the 'Big Bang'

Hoyle had a talent for making complex scientific concepts comprehensible to the lay man, and he gave a number of ‘popular’ talks about astronomy on the radio.

The first two talks, on the subject of sunspots, were broadcast on the BBC in 1948. The following year he was invited to give a talk on the theory of continuous creation. The theory of a steady-state universe in which galaxies move apart from one another because of the continuous creation of matter had been formulated by Hoyle and his friends Thomas Gold and Hermann Bondi in 1948.

During his radio broadcast on the topic Hoyle coined the phrase ‘big bang’ to describe the opposing cosmological theory that the universe had had a definite beginning at a single point in space. The phrase 'big bang' first appeared in print in early April 1949 in the BBC's magazine The Listener, which printed the text of Hoyle’s talk. When Hoyle gave a further highly popular series of talks the following year, subsequently published as The Nature of the Universe, the phrase ‘big bang’ appeared several times. This name for the theory caught the public imagination and has been used ever since.

Part of page 4 of the script of Hoyle's radio talk 'Continuous Creation'

Script: Page 4 | Page 7 | Page 8

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