Authorised form of nameBondi; Sir; Hermann (1919 - 2005)
Dates1919 - 2005
Place of birthVienna, Austria
Date of birth01/11/1919
Place of deathCambridge
Date of death10/09/2005
OccupationMathematican; Cosmologist; Science adviser and administrator
Research fieldGeneral relativity
Realgymnasium, Vienna; encouraged by Sir Arthur Eddington to apply in 1937 to Trinity College, Cambridge
Interned and sent to Canada (1940) where on his first night he met his future lifelong friend Thomas Gold, another Viennese Jew studying at Trinity; returned (1942) to work in the Admiralty with Fred Hoyle, the astrophysicist, on the refinement of radar technique; Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge (1943-1949, 1952-1954); Assistant Lecturer in Mathemetics, Cambridge University (1945-1948); University Lecturer (1948-1954), Professor of Mathematics (1954-1971), revised his opinion on steady state theory following discovery of microwave background radiation by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson which suggested Big Bang theory more likely explanation; Fellow (1968), Titular Professor (1971-1985) (Emeritus), King's College London; Director-General, European Space Research Organisation (1967-1971); Chief Scientific Adviser, Ministry of Defence (1971-1977); Chief Scientist, Department of Energy (1977-1980); Chariman and Chief Executive, NERC (1980-1984); Master, Churchill College, Cambridge (1983-1990), Fellow (1990-2005); President, Hydrographic Society (1985-1987); President, Society for Research into Higher Education (1981-1997); President; British Association of Science Writers (1981-1985); President of the British Humanist Association (1982-1990); President Rationalist Press Association (from 1982); winner of Einstein Gold Medal (1983); Decoration of Honour for Science and Art, Austria (1997); Gold Medal, Royal Astronomical Society (2001); honorary doctorates from the universities of Sussex, Bath, Surrey, York, Southampton, Salford, Birmingham, St Andrews, Portsmouth and Vienna.
KCB 1973
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election19/03/1959
Age at election39
RelationshipsSon of Samuel Bondi, a medical heart specialist; married (1947) Christine Stockman, whom he met while she was working as an astrophysics research student with Fred Hoyle
Published works'Cosmology' (1952)
General contextDeveloped 'steady state' theory for the origin of the universe; originally proposed by Sir James Jeans in 1920; with Thomas Gold and Fred Hoyle; report on flooding of London led to Thames Barrier
Obituary in 'The Independent' (12 September 2005); 'The Telegraph' (13 September 2005); 'The Times' (13 September 2005), 'The Guardian' (13 September 2005)
Biographical Memoir by I W Roxburgh in Volume 53 (2007) pp 45-62
N Calver and M Parker ' The logic of scientific Unity? Medawar, the Royal Society and the Rothschild controversy 1971-2.' In Notes and Records, Vol 70, Issue 1, March 2016 pp 83-100
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA4320
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
PB/9/1/12Correspondence with Sir Hermann Bondi1966
IM/000435Bondi, Sir Hermann1959
TG/1/3/80Letter from Thomas Gold to Professor [Hermann] Bondi, Surrey, England30 August 1965
TG/1/2/5Letter from Thomas Gold to Professor Hermann Bondi, Department of Mathematics, King's College, Strand, London2 July 1964
TG/1/3/111Letter from Thomas Gold to Professor [Hermann] Bondi, University of London King's College, Department of Mathematics30 September 1965
TG/1/3/52Letter from Thomas Gold to Professor Hermann Bondi, FRS, Surrey, England28 July 1965
TG/1/3/136-137Letter from Thomas Gold to Professor H Bondi, Surrey, England12 October 1965
EC/1959/05Bondi, Sir Hermann: certificate of election to the Royal Society
RR/68/218Referee's report by Geoffrey Ingram Taylor, on a paper 'On the generation of waves on shallow water by wind' by Hermann Bondi[1942]
RR/73/39Letter from Harold Jeffreys, on a paper 'Finite strains in an anisotropic elastic continuum' by James Gardner Oldroyd to D C Martin, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society24 February 1950
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