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Fred Hoyle's manifold contributions: A personal view

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This account is based on my interactions with Fred Hoyle from 1960 until his death in 2001. Arguably the most productive and provocative astronomer of the twentieth century, Fred’s work spans a wide range of topics. After beginning with a general description of Freds work-span, this talk will concentrate on my work with him, first as a research student then as post-doc and finally as a collaborator across the seas. Although in general Fred Hoyle is credited for many contributions to A&A, it is generally argued that he was on the wrong track in cosmology. This talk will highlight works by Fred which were regarded as unrealistic at the time but have now become part of standard cosmology. Finally, although I did not collaborate with Fred in his speculations on astrobiology, I should describe briefly the balloon experiments conducted by the Indian Space Research Organization, revealing the presence of microorganisms at heights up to 41 km above sea-level. The implications of these findings for the problem of origin of life will be briefly discussed.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Colloquia series.

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