Robert Temple - Author of The Sphinx Mystery
In June, 2002, many of us who had known Fred Hoyle convened for a conference to discuss some of the many-faceted "world of Fred", or, as it was more appropriately called, "Fred Hoyle's Universe". Certain aspects of his life and work, such as his science fiction writing, could not be covered for lack of time and because so many participants were needed to deal with his multifarious activities as it was. In our three days we found it impossible even to touch on every subject! Most of the participants were practising or retired scientists, particularly cosmologists, radio-astronomers, and theoretical physicists. Sir Arthur Clarke, who is no longer able to travel, took part by video and live satellite link from his home in Sri Lanka. He showed us the latest NASA photos of the Planet Mars, which are startlingly clear, taken by an orbiting satellite, and unmistakably show vegetation growing there, including what looked very like trees. Some of the photos even reminded me of the East African savannah. He had just been given these photos by his NASA chums. For some reason no mention of these discoveries has ever appeared in the media, and they have never been published. Arthur wryly mentioned "the Mars cover-up", which at the time we thought must be a little joke of his, and that within days all would be on the front pages of the papers. But as months have gone by and no member of the public has been informed of the vegetation on Mars, it appears that he was right. My modest contribution was a paper entitled The Prehistory of the Steady State Theory of the Universe, which was published afterwards in the the book Fred Hoyles Universe (see cover above). It can also be downloaded from the links above.

images from the conference

The late Professor Sir Fred Hoyle, whose 'universe' we were celebrating. Many fascinating personal reminiscences of Fred surfaced during both the formal proceedings and our private discussions. Fred was one of the most remarkable men most of us had ever met.
Professor Sir Hermann Bondi when he was younger. The Steady State Theory of the Universe was originated by Fred, Sir Hermann, and Professor Thomas Gold. Unfortunately, Tommy Gold was unable to join us at the conference.
Professor Bill Tifft at the Conference.
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and his wife Priya. Chandra and Geoff Burbidge were the organisers of the conference, which was hosted at Chandra's university, Cardiff University in Wales.
Professor Don Clayton at the Conference.
Professor Geoffrey Burbidge. Geoff was co-organiser of the Conference.
Professor Sir Hermann Bondi & Lady Bondi at the Conference.

© Robert Temple 2009
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