In lateHoyle left Cambridge to go to Portsmouth to work for the Admiralty on radar research, for example devising a method to get the altitude of the incoming aeroplanes. He was also put in charge of countermeasures against the radar guided guns found on the Graf Spee. Two key colleagues in this war work were Hermann Bondi and Thomas Goldand the three had many and deep discussions on cosmology. The radar work paid for a couple of trips to North America, where he took the opportunity to visit astronomers.
Elements in the Ocean The first signs of trouble for the steady state model came not from optical telescopes but from radio astronomy. One of the pioneers in this endeavor was a physicist from the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge: Unlike Hoyle, whose father was a wool and textiles merchant, Ryle came from a privileged background—his father was physician to King George VI—and he had received the best of what private education could offer.
After some pioneering radio observations of the Sun in the late s, Ryle and his group embarked on an ambitious program to detect radio sources beyond the solar system.
Unfortunately, since most of the sources did not have visible counterparts, there was no way to determine their distances precisely. Ryle began picking apart the steady state model by evaluating one of its testable predictions—that distant parts of the universe should look exactly the same as the local cosmic environment.
He started to collect a large sample of radio sources, and to count how many of them there were at different intensity intervals. Since he had no way of knowing the actual distances to most sources they were beyond the detection range of optical telescopesRyle made the simplest assumption: He found that there were dramatically more weak sources than strong ones.
In other words, it seemed that the density of sources at distances of billions of light-years and therefore representing the universe billions of years ago was much higher than the current density nearby. This was clearly at odds with a model of a never-changing universe, but it could be made consistent with a cosmos evolving from a big bang, if one assumed correctly, as we now recognize that galaxies were more prone to emit intense radio signals in their youth than at present, in their older age.
By then, Ryle and Hoyle had become engaged in a series of intellectual skirmishes, culminating in one particularly unpleasant incident. Hoyle later described this traumatic experience in his autobiographical book Home Is Where the Wind Blows.
It all started with what appeared to be an innocent phone call from the Mullard company in early The person at the other end of the line invited Hoyle and his wife to attend a press conference at which Ryle was expected to present new results that were supposed to be of great interest to Hoyle.
Unfortunately, what Hoyle found utterly unthinkable did happen. When Ryle appeared, rather than making a brief announcement, as advertised, he launched into a technical, jargon-filled lecture on the results of his larger, fourth survey.
He finished by claiming confidently that the results now showed unambiguously a higher density of radio sources in the past, therefore proving the steady state theory wrong. The shocked Hoyle was merely asked to comment on the results.
Incredulous and humiliated, he barely mumbled a few sentences and rushed away from the event. The media frenzy that followed in the subsequent days disgusted Hoyle to the point that he avoided phone calls for a week and was absent even from the following Royal Astronomical Society meeting on February Even Ryle realized that the press conference had crossed the border of common decency.
The discovery of extremely active galaxies, in which the accretion of mass onto central, supermassive black holes releases sufficient radiation to outshine the entire galaxy, cemented the evidence against a steady state universe.
These objects, known as quasars, were luminous enough to be observed by optical telescopes. There was no escape from the conclusion that the universe was evolving and that it had been denser in the past.
At that point, the floodgates opened, and the challenges to the steady state model kept pouring in. From a Static Universe Through the Big Bang Towards Realityin which he and his collaborators, Jayant Narlikar and Geoff Burbidge, explained the details of the quasi—steady state theory and their objections to the big bang.
We have resisted the temptation to name some of the leading geese. What was it that caused this intransigent behavior? A few statements made by Hoyle himself provide the best evidence. The problem with the scientific establishment goes back to the small hunting parties of prehistory.
It must then have been the case that, for a hunt to be successful, the entire party was needed. With the direction of prey uncertain, as the direction of the correct theory in science is initially uncertain, the party had to make a decision about which way to go, and then they all had to stick to the decision, even if it was merely made at random.
The dissident who argued that the correct direction was precisely opposite from the chosen direction had to be thrown out of the group, just as the scientist today who takes a view different from the consensus finds his papers rejected by journals and his applications for research grants summarily dismissed by state agencies.
Life must have been hard in pre-history, for the more a hunting party found no prey in its chosen direction, the more it had to continue in that direction, for to stop and argue would be to create uncertainty and to risk differences of opinion breaking out, with the group then splitting disastrously apart.
This is why the first priority among scientists is not to be correct but for everybody to think the same way.
It is this perhaps instinctive primitive motivation that creates the establishment. One can hardly imagine a stronger advocacy for dissent from mainstream science. Hoyle echoes here the words of the influential second-century physician Galen of Pergamum: Science progresses not in a straight line from A to B but in a zigzag path shaped by critical reevaluation and faultfinding interaction.Hoyle became the theory's most vocal and obvious critic, and offered an alternative theory labeled the "Steady State" universe that sought to counteract the "Big Bang" model.
Central to his theory was a timeless universe in which matter was continuously being created and annihilated.
Big-bang model, widely held theory of the evolution of the universe. Its essential feature is the emergence of the universe from a state of extremely high temperature and density —the so-called big bang that occurred billion years ago.
In cosmology, the steady state model is an alternative to the Big Bang theory of the evolution of our universe. In the steady state model, the density of matter in the expanding universe remains unchanged due to a continuous creation of matter, thus adhering to the perfect cosmological principle, a principle that asserts that the observable universe is .
The only difference, he explained, was that in the big bang scenario all the matter was created in one explosive beginning, while in the steady state model matter has been created at a constant rate throughout an infinite time and .
The Steady State Universe model was an early rival to the Big Bang Theory. Steady State posits the continuous creation of matter throughout the universe as an explanation of the constant expansion. This type of universe would be infinite with no beginning or end.
To learn more about the beginning of the universe, review the accompanying video and lesson called The Steady State Theory vs. The Big Bang Theory. This lesson covers the following topics.