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Big Bang

Though many astronomers endorsed George Gamow's theory that the universe had begun in a massive explosion and had been expanding ever since (a notion supported by observations made by Edwin Hubble in the 1920s), Fred Hoyle (like Thomas Gold and Hermann Bondi) rejected the idea. They simply refused to believe that the universe had a beginning (and, presumably, would have an end), preferring to think of space as homogeneous; as galaxies moved apart, he believed, new matter appeared to maintain a sort of equilibrium (the so-called "steady state" theory).

As the debate intensified, Hoyle sarcastically began to refer to Gamow's theory as a "Big Bang" -- and was astonished when his insulting phrase became the commonly accepted term.

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