Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘Fred Hoyle

Quote of the Day

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Here is an example of what seems to be general practice in astronomy: when two alternatives are available, choose the more trivial. It was so with the discovery of pulsars—white dwarfs, everybody said they were, until confrontations with fact showed otherwise. And it is so today throughout cosmology. Astronomers seem to live in terror that someday they will discover something important.

Fred Hoyle, Home is Where the Wind Blows

Written by nevalalee

December 7, 2018 at 7:30 am

The inexplicable inspiration

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It is often held that scientific hypotheses are constructed, and are to be constructed, only after a detailed weighing of all possible evidence bearing on the matter, and that then and only then may one consider, and still only tentatively, any hypotheses. This traditional view, however, is largely incorrect, for not only is it absurdly impossible of application, but it is contradicted by the history of the development of any scientific theory. What happens in practice is that by intuitive insight, or other inexplicable inspiration, the theorist decides that certain features seem to him more important than others and capable of explanation by certain hypotheses. Then basing his study on these hypotheses the attempt is made to deduce their consequences. The successful pioneer of theoretical science is he whose intuitions yield hypotheses on which satisfactory theories can be built.

Fred Hoyle and Raymond Littleton, “On the Internal Constitution of the Stars”

Written by nevalalee

April 1, 2018 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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Fred Hoyle

I have a personal theory that in order to be efficient about the things that really matter it is necessary to be inefficient about the things that do not matter so much. If one is obliged to be efficient about everything the best that can be achieved is a moderate measure of competence. To produce high peaks of inspiration it is necessary that there should be low troughs, implying, I believe, some degree of muddle and inefficiency. Such variations are essential, just as they are in a great musical work where a moment of terseness and excitement is built out of periods of quietness and calm.

Fred Hoyle, Of Men and Galaxies

Written by nevalalee

March 23, 2015 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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Fred Hoyle

Fred [Hoyle] once started a talk by saying, “Oh…basically a star is a pretty simple thing.” And from the back of the room was heard the voice of R.O. Redman, saying, “Well, Fred, you’d look pretty simple too, from ten parsecs!”

John Faulkner, in The Scientific Legacy of Fred Hoyle

Written by nevalalee

December 11, 2014 at 7:54 am

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