A man who dedicated his life to asking and answering incredible questions, British astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) was born on this day in Bingley, Yorkshire. He had a passion for astronomy at a young age, then studied mathematics at Cambridge University.
Hoyle once said: "Once a photograph of the Earth taken from the outside if available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be set loose."
An inspiration to physicist Stephen Hawking, Hoyle is best known for coining the phrase (while rejecting the notion of) "the big bang" as a description of the origin of the universe. His "steady state" theory maintained that the universe had no beginning or end and would continue to exist.
"There is a coherent plan in the universe, though I don't know what it's a plan for," the world-renowned astronomer said. He believed that the origin of life was cosmic, not terrestrial.
Hoyle's popular radio talks of the 1950s laid the foundation for Carl Sagan's exploration of the cosmos for mass consumption. A prolific writer of science fiction, his novel The Black Cloud (1957) foretold artificial intelligence and is considered a classic.
"It is the true nature of mankind to learn from mistakes, not from example," Hoyle said.
Be open to the possibilities, no matter how incredible they seem.