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A Journey with Fred Hoyle cover

This is the story of the author's unique scientific journey with one of the most remarkable men of 20th century science. The journey begins in Sri Lanka, the author's native country, with his childhood acquaintance with Fred Hoyle's writings. The action then moves to Cambridge, where the famous Hoyle–Wickramasinghe collaborations begin. A research programme which was started in 1962 on the carbonaceous nature of interstellar dust leads, over the next two decades, to developments that are continued in both Cambridge and Cardiff. These developments prompt Hoyle and the author to postulate the organic theory of cosmic dust (which is now generally accepted), and then to challenge one of the most cherished paradigms of contemporary science — the theory that life originated on Earth in a warm primordial soup.

A Journey with Fred Hoyle is an intriguing book that traces the progress of a collaboration spanning 40 years, through a sequence of personal reflections, anecdotes and reminiscences. Ideas that were thought heretical 25 years ago are now quietly slipping into the domain of orthodox science.

Sample Chapter(s)
Chapter 1: Origins: Prelude to the Journey (61 KB)

  • Origins: Prelude to the Journey
  • Cambridge and a First Meeting
  • A Hike in the Lake District
  • Betwixt the Stars
  • The Route to Carbon Dust
  • A Theory Takes Shape
  • The Institute of Astronomy: The Vintage Years
  • Winds of Change
  • The Cardiff Era
  • The Search for Cosmic Life
  • Life from Comets and Pathogens from Space
  • First Signs of Life
  • Bacterial Dust Predictions Verified
  • Life on the Planets
  • Evolution from Space
  • Theories of Trial
  • A Fossil Controversy
  • Comet Halley and Its Legacy
  • Alternative Cosmologies
  • The Last Decade

Readership: General readers and students of the history of science.

Free Access
  • Pages:i–xiii

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Origins: Prelude to the Journey
  • Pages:1–9

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Cambridge and a First Meeting
  • Pages:11–17

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A Hike in the Lake District
  • Pages:19–27

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Betwixt the Stars
  • Pages:29–35

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The Route to Carbon Dust
  • Pages:37–46

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A Theory Takes Shape
  • Pages:47–52

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The Institute of Astronomy: The Vintage Years
  • Pages:53–60

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Winds of Change
  • Pages:61–67

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The Cardiff Era
  • Pages:69–75

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The Search for Cosmic Life
  • Pages:77–93

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Life from Comets and Pathogens from Space
  • Pages:95–107

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First Signs of Life
  • Pages:109–117

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Bacterial Dust Predictions Verified
  • Pages:119–131

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Life on the Planets
  • Pages:133–140

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Evolution from Space
  • Pages:141–146

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Theories of Trial
  • Pages:147–159

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A Fossil Controversy
  • Pages:161–170

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Comet Halley and its Legacy
  • Pages:171–179

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Alternative Cosmologies
  • Pages:181–189

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The Last Decade
  • Pages:191–210

Free Access
  • Pages:211–225

“This is the story of the remarkable 40-year friendship and scientific collaboration between the British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle and the Sri Lankan mathematician and astronomer Chandra Wickramasinghe … The work they are most famous for is their painstaking building of the case for a cosmic origin of life. Wickramasinghe and Hoyle's picture of a galaxy teeming with life is a stunning one … The scientific community has come a long way towards Hoyle and Wickramasinghe's position, wholeheartedly embracing the idea of planetary panspermia.”
New Scientist

“… An enlightening account of a 40-year scientific collaboration between two remarkable men.”
Sir Martin Rees
Astronomer Royal

“The Hoyle-Wickramasinghe collaboration was notable for the daring leaps over knowledge gaps they were prepared to make. This book is a valuable guide to their corpus, and can serve as a source of ideas and speculations.”
International Journal of Astrobiology

“A Journey with Fred Hoyle is an intriguing, pacey insight into the working of a fertile scientific mind, and especially one focussed on a topic that is not in the mainstream of astronomical and biological endeavour … I enjoyed A Journey with Fred Hoyle greatly.”
The Observatory Magazine

“This is a fine blend of personal anecdotes, travel impressions, and scientific reporting — interesting, informative, and worth reading.”

“This book is of great interest; it is written in an accessible and exciting way; and I recommend it for a broad readership.”
Structural Chemistry