Fred Hoyle was one of those pre-Carl Sagan individuals that attempted to bridge the gap between science and the general population, proposed an explanation for the origin of elements heavier than hydrogen ["nucleosynthesis"], and offered the cosmological hypothesis of the "steady state" universe as contrasted to the "big bang" hypothesis. His relationship with orthodox cosmology was a mixed bag with the "nucleosynthesis" and "steady state" concepts--one accepted and one untenable in light of identification of the "back ground radiation" thus supporting the expanding/"big bang" idea. It is unfortunate that Fred Hoyle in later life should be labeled a crank scientist whose company included Immanuel Velikovsky. Extrapolation of the "nucleosynthesis" idea to include bacteria ridding stellar dust particles and thus allowing dispersion of life throughout the universe ["panspermia"], devastating diseases dispersed in the same manner, evolution was to intricate to happen naturally and thus the result of some alien consciousness--all threw him into the crackpot category. Exaggerated eccentricities are not uncommon among high profile scientists: Carl Sagan's SETI or Stephen Hawking's promotion of genetic engineering to thwart errant global minded robots. I think his contributions far outweigh the "crackpot" label and should be considered mere eccentricities--the wheat can be extracted from the chaff.
Sir Fred hoyle
Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001)
Frontiers Of Astronomy
Sir Hermann Bondi--steady state universe