August 26th, 2011 at 10:55 pm (Afternoon Tea)
Fred Hoyle famously coined the term “Big Bang” to characterize the single creation theory of cosmology in a series of talks he gave on BBC radio broadcasts in the late 1940s. Equally famous was Hoyle’s own view of the universe wherein creation of matter was continuous without beginning or end. To his way of thinking, the “big bang” was counter-intuitive to nature and more at home to theology. As he said in the third programme broadcast in 1949:
[My theory] replaces a hypothesis that lies concealed in the older theories, which assume, as I have already said, that the whole of the matter in the universe was created in one big hang at a particular time in the the remote past. On scientific grounds this big bang hypothesis is much the less palatable of the two. For it is an irrational process that cannot be described in scientific terms.
See Hoyle’s entire script for the programme below.
Hoyle responds to a couple of questions about his theories.
Here’s the transcript of his “Big Bang” talk as heard on the Beeb some time ago.
CONTIGUOUS CREATION by Fred Hoyle
Monday, 28th March, 1949, 6.30-6.50 p.m. THIRD PROGRAMME
Tonight I want to tell you about some new work on the expanding universe. Together with two of my colleagues H. Bondi and T. Gold, I’ve reached the conclusion that the universe is in a state of continuous creation.
When we look at the sky on a clear night we see that the stars are mainly concentrated along the Milky Way. Astronomers infer from this simple observation that, here on Earth, we are situated inside a great disk-shaped system of stars. This system, which is usually referred to as the Galaxy, is of enormous size. To go right round it at the speed of light would take about two hundred thousand years.
Nor is this the end of the domain of the astronomer. In the nineteenth century the large telescope built by the Earl of Rosse showed that certain types of nebulae can be detected in all directions. For many years controversy raged as to whether these objects were small patches of luminous gas within our own Galaxy or whether they were great independent stellar systems having dimensions comparable with those of the Milky Way itself. The issue was finally settled by the American astronomers who found that they are indeed independent stellar systems. The number of these independent galaxies within the range of present observation is about a thousand million. It has also been found possible, largely through the work of Hubble, to establish a rough scale of distances. It turns out that light takes about two thousand million years to travel to us from the most distant galaxies visible in the largest telescopes. So the light we now receive from them must have started its journey at about the time the oldest known rocks on the Earth were laid down probably before the dawn of life on the earth.
At this stage it is natural to ask the question.
Where have these galaxies come from? It now seems very probable that they have condensed out of a uniform background of diffuse gaseous material.
Is this background exhausted?
Or can new galaxies still condense out of it?
It is my own view that the background is a very far from being exhausted. I would estimate only about one part in a hundred has been used up to form the galaxies. It is therefore to be expected that new condensations are continually being formed out of it.