Professor Sir Fred Hoyle was one of the most distinguished, creative, and controversial scientists of the twentieth century. He was a Fellow of St John’s College (1939-1972, Honorary Fellow 1973-2001), was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1957, held the Plumian Chair of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy (1958-1972), established the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy in Cambridge (now part of the Institute of Astronomy), and (in 1972) received a knighthood for his services to astronomy.

Hoyle was a keen mountain climber, an avid player of chess, a science fiction writer, a populariser of science, and the man who coined the phrase 'The Big Bang'.