Saturday, September 17, 2005

In Memorium: Hermann Bondi

BBC Science News is reporting that astrophysicist Sir Hermann Bondi has passed away due to Parkinon's. Apparently, he died on 9/10/05 and was 85.

From the BBC article:

Sir Hermann Bondi was an astrophysicist who helped formulate the steady-state theory of the universe - which said it has always existed.

When this theory was supplanted by the Big Bang in the 1950s, Sir Hermann did pioneering work on black holes.

Hermann Bondi graduated from Cambridge University in 1940 but as an Austrian was immediately interned as an "enemy alien" first in Britain then in Canada.

He met Thomas Gold in one of these prison camps and the pair struck up a working relationship.

Once the value of the two scientists was recognised they were set a task of developing radar systems for the British Admiralty and they met Fred Hoyle.

In 1948, the three presented their theory that the universe has always existed in a steady state.

His view that the gravitational pull of a black hole builds up gas in its vicinity led to a mathematical exercise by scientist Stephen Hawking who suggested that radiation can emerge from these mysterious objects.

In the 1960s, Sir Hermann promoted space exploration and was director-general of the European Space Research Organization between 1967 and 1971.