Thomas Gold

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Thomas Gold
Thomas Gold
Born (1920-05-22)May 22, 1920
Died (2004-06-22)June 22, 2004
Residence Ithaca, NY, United States
Nationality Austrian / USA
Known for Origin of Hydrocarbon Fuels, Cosmology, Steady State Universe
Scientific career
Fields Professor Emeritus of Astronomy

Copyright ? Cornell University

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Thomas "Tommy" Gold, a brilliant and controversial figure in 20th century science and professor emeritus of astronomy at Cornell University, died June 22 at Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca, N.Y., after a long battle with heart disease. He was 84 years of age.

Gold's reputation as a Renaissance man was surpassed only by his penchant for unconventional theories -- from the origin of the universe to the source of petroleum. Few scientists ever attempt what Gold made a career of, staking their reputations on ideas that radically challenge the methods and assumptions of an entire discipline.

Said Joseph Veverka, chairman of Cornell's Department of Astronomy and a longtime colleague: "Tommy will be remembered fondly by all of us for his incisive and provocative ideas, for his sincere dedication to his colleagues, as well as for his wide-ranging contributions to physics and astronomy extending over such varied topics as the steady-state theory of the universe, pulsars, the lunar regolith and the geochemistry of the Earth's mantle."

His "steady-state" theory, for years considered by many cosmologists a possible alternative to the "big-bang" theory of the origin of the universe. Gold developed the idea of a steady-state universe that has no beginning or end and in which matter is constantly being created, with fellow astrophysicists Fred Hoyle and Hermann Bondi while a graduate student at Cambridge.