Bondi, Sir Hermann

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BONDI, SIR HERMANN (1919– ), British mathematician and cosmologist, born in Vienna, where he lived and studied under the shadow of fascism. He moved to England in 1937 and studied in Cambridge where he held academic posts (1945–1954). His studies were disrupted by World War ii, when he was interned and sent to Canada as an alien subject. He was allowed to return to England in 1941, joined Trinity college as a research fellow and received his M.A. in 1942. During that year he joined the Admiralty Signal Establishment to undertake secret research on radar. There he met the astronomer Fred Hoyle, and thus began his interest in cosmology. After the war he taught mathematics in Cambridge, and in 1954, Bondi was appointed professor of mathematics at King's College, London. He served as master of Churchill College, Cambridge, from 1983 to 1990. He was granted leave of absence in 1967 from King's College, to become director-general of the European Space Research Organization (1967–71), and in 1977–80) was chief scientist to the Ministry of Defense. From 1980 to 1984, he was the chairman of the Natural Environment Reseach Council. In 1959 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Bondi is best known as one of the originators of the steady-state theory of the universe. Bondi's writings include numerous papers on stellar constitution, interstellar medium, geophysics, cosmology, and general relativity. In collaboration with Thomas Gold he produced in 1948 the first paper describing the steady-state theory of the expanding universe, with its concomitant process of the continual creation of matter. His books include Cosmology (19622) and The Universe at Large (1961). Bondi took a great interest in the role of mathematics in secondary school education and in the academic administration of science in the University of London.

[Barry Spain]

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