|Born||May 22, 1920|
|Died||June 22, 2004|
|Residence||Ithaca, NY, United States|
|Nationality||Austrian / USA|
|Known for||Origin of Hydrocarbon Fuels, Cosmology, Steady State Universe|
|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.