Authorised form of nameGold; Thomas (1920 - 2004)
Dates1920 - 2004
Place of birthVienna
Date of birth22/05/1920
Place of deathIthaca, New York
Date of death22/06/2004
OccupationAstronomer, physicist, biophysicist, astrophysicist, cosmologist, geophysicist
Zuoz College, Switzerland; Trinity College, Cambridge (engineering)
Interned during WW2 as an enemy alien (May 1940-1941); researched radar ground clutter with Bondi and Hoyle for Admiralty, becoming Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence; Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge (1947-1951); proposed "steady state" hypothesis of the universe with Fred Hoyle and fellow former internee Hermann Bondi; staff, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge (1946-1947, 1949-1952); staff, Medical Research Council Zoological Laboratory, Cambridge (1947-1949) to work on human hearing; Senior Principal Scientific Officer, Royal Greenwich Observatory (1952-1956); moved to USA to become Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University (1957-1958); Robert Wheeler Wilson Professor of Applied Astronomy, Harvard University (1958-1959); member of US President's Space Science Panel for seven years; John L Wetherill Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University (1971-1986, Emeritus), founder and director of Cornell Center for Radiophysics and Space Research (1959-1981) where he demonstrated that the newly discovered "pulsar" phenomenon must contain a rotating neutron star (a star more massive than the Sun but just 10 km in diameter) This 'opened the door' to Stephen Hawking, as it is a short step form accepting neutron stars to accepting black holes'; subsequently advanced another controversial theory, that of the "abiotic" origin of oil; wrote The Deep Hot Biosphere (1992) concerning existence of bacteria at depths far greater than previously believed - predicted that Mars would also have a deep hot biosphere; awarded gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society; member of US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election19/03/1964
Age at election43
RelationshipsMarried (1947) Merle Tuberg, marriage dissolved; married (1972) Carvel Beyer
Published worksThe Deep Hot Biosphere
Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 2006 vol 52 pp 117-135, plate, by Sir Hermann Bondi
Obituaries in The Guardian (24/06/2004); The Times (28/06/2004); The Independent (29 June 2004)
Sir Bernard Lovell, 'The Royal Society, the Royal Greenwich Observatory and the Astronomer Royal' in NR 1994 vol 48 pp 283-297
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA1529
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
IM/001693Gold, Thomasnd
IM/001691Gold, Thomasnd
RR/71/122Referee's report by Archibald Vivian Hill, on a paper 'Hearing. II. The physical basis of the action of the cochlea' by Thomas Gold[1948]
RR/71/123Referee's report by Hamilton Hartridge, on a paper 'Hearing. II. The physical basis of the action of the cochlea' by Thomas Gold[1948]
RR/71/119Referee's report by Archibald Vivian Hill, on a paper 'Hearing. I. The cochlea as a frequency analyzer' by Thomas Gold and Richard Julius Pumphrey[1948]
EC/1964/13Gold, Thomas: certificate of election to the Royal Society
TG/1/2/40A new joint American-Australian Astronomy Center, descriptive article by Thomas Gold and H Messel11 July 1964
TGCorrespondence and papers of Thomas GoldNov 1944-Sep 2004
RR/71/120Referee's report by Hamilton Hartridge, on a paper 'Hearing. I. The cochlea as a frequency analyzer' by Thomas Gold and Richard Julius Pumphrey[1948]
RR/71/121Referee's report by Edgar Douglas Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian, on a paper 'Hearing. I. The cochlea as a frequency analyzer' by Thomas Gold and Richard Julius Pumphrey24 April 1948
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