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Charles Cockell re-writes history; Willfully ignores founders of Astrobiology

Gross contempt for one’s better Part I: The Plait Affair

Charles S. Cockell deeply injured his discipline and reputation in an upcoming June editorial in Astronomy and Geophysics from the Royal Astronomical Society. His objective in the piece was to review the history of Astrobiology, yet he fails to reference the founders of the modern field: Sir Fred Hoyle and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe.

No, really. Cockell actually attempted a history of a subject barely sixty years old, and left out the two scientists who made its original, most widely publicized, and most fundamental contributions.

Beginning in the late 60’s, when Charlie was burped by his mum, H-W took “his” field from zero-to-sixty intellectually and forensically in the space of less than a decade. They predicted and then produced the spectral signature graphs proving complex organic molecules would be found on interstellar dust.

That work is the inarguable origin of modern Astrobiology (timid creature that it is) and was willfully ignored by Cockell.

H-W’s original discovery of organic molecules in space was controversial, but digestible. But by 1980 H-W concluded that not only do the parts of life exists in space, but life itself in desiccated, hibernated and shielded states of suspension resides throughout the universe. The digestion ended there. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe’s conclusions had far outraced the tolerance of the fields that would be overturned and powerful people proven wrong.

Unfortunately — but admirably — H-W’s understanding also preceded by decades the instruments and discoveries which now properly support the hypothesis.

Why would Cockell leave these two giants out? Because he is embarrassed.

H-W is being vindicated after being dismissed and persecuted by his predecessors and his peers, so Cockrell is hopeful the earlier work will stay forgotten – as it is proven right.

It should surprise no one that the field of “Astrobiology” remains suspended — like life itself in space — in a timeless and oblivious fashion. Leaders like Charles Cockell ensure it.


The first article below is Cockell’s false narrative, the second is an accurate review from Professor Wickramasinghe.

Download the PDF file .

Download the PDF file .


5 Responses

  1. Cockell wants to project himself as leading UK Astrobiology, names his Edinburgh Uni institute as the “UK Centre for Astrobiology” and claims to work across “microbiology, paleobiology, planetary sciences, space engineering and missions, and space policy and philosophy”. Such grandiose projections are anathema to the diversity that’s essential to science endeavours. Hence the orwellian re-writing of the history of astrobiology.

  2. Hi George –

    You need to understand that NASA Ames was named the NASA astrobiology center after JPL was named the NASA NEO center.
    “Astrobiology” in the US largely concerns trying to minimize the danger of the possibility of bringing back a deadly life form from Mars. I’ve followed the various Mars fossils “controversies” (usually howlings by various manned Mars enthusiats) for many years (right from the start) and this is a very serious problem.

    I do not knows if corona viruses contain any fragments of non-Earth origin, but I have seen no reports of any, despite the extensive work being done on their genetic sequences. Yes, there are variants of the current C-19 virus.

    A normal President, and not a TV actor playing president, would have called up the National Guard several months ago, given them decontamination training, and deployed them to the NYC subway and Chicago Metro systems, followed by decontaminations of buildings in both cities.

    But in this case, there is plenty of stupid to go around, starting with Cuomo and DeBlassio.

    Could you please return to blogging impact research, a field with which you have much more familiarity?

  3. You need to familiarize yourself with Panspermia and what Im talking about E.P., the proposition is that the virus IN TOTO, not a fragment, is alien. Just like every other virus when “novel.” I’m in touch with two dozen or so global medical professionals who are damn close to proving it.

  4. EP ā€œI do not knows if corona viruses contain any fragments of non-Earth origin, but I have seen no reports of any, despite the extensive work being done on their genetic sequences.ā€
    If I understand panspermia correctly, it proposes a interstellar source for a percentage of the DNA found on earth. Iā€™m curious then what you would anticipate would be a marker of non-earth origin DNA? Particularly as we have no concrete proof that there is any DNA from off planet, how would we know?

  5. “I do not know if corona viruses contain any fragments of non-Earth origin, but I have seen no reports of any, despite the extensive work being done on their genetic sequences.ā€

    Not to put too fine a point on it but are we not missing the proverbial elephant in the room that aids in confirming all of this? Point being, how did we all get here in the first place then? How did the microbial, the amoeba, the cocktail of renown that supposedly started all life here begin? Would it have begun without all those extraterrestrial bodies hitting the earth and deploying all that came with them into the biosphere? NO, it would not have and most would agree on that. So then what in the end is actually FROM here? Seems to me nothing is originally FROM here. It all arrived here in one form or another and developed.

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