Hermann Bondi

Austrian-British mathematician and cosmologist

Sir Hermann Bondi, KCB, FRS (1 November 1919 – 10 September 2005) was an Anglo-Austrian mathematician and cosmologist. He is best known for developing the Steady State theory of the universe with Fred Hoyle and Thomas Gold as an alternative to the Big Bang theory, but his most lasting legacy will probably be his important contributions to the theory of general relativity.


  • On the most usual assumption, the universe is homogeneous on the large scale, i. e. down to regions containing each an appreciable number of nebulae. The homogeneity assumption may then be put in the form: An observer situated in a nebula and moving with the nebula will observe the same properties of the universe as any other similarly situated observer at any time.
    • Sir Hermann Bondi, "Review of Cosmology," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 1948, p. 107-8, as cited in: Hermann Friedmann. Wissenschaft und Symbol, Biederstein, 1949, p. 472
  • The kind of lecture which I have been so kindly invited to give, and which now appears in book form, gives one a rare opportunity to allow the bees in one's bonnet to buzz even more noisily than usual.
    • Hermann Bondi, Assumption and Myth in Physical Theory, (1967) p. v
  • All science is full of statements where you put the best face on your ignorance, where you say: true enough, we know awfully little about this, but more or less irrespective of the stuff we don't know about, we can make certain useful deductions.
    • Hermann Bondi, Assumption and Myth in Physical Theory, (1967) p. 11
  • Time is that which is measured by a clock. This is a sound way of looking at things. A quantity like time, or any other physical measurement, does not exist in a completely abstract way. We find no sense in talking about something unless we specify how we measure it. It is the definition by the method of measuring a quantity that is the one sure way of avoiding talking nonsense about this kind of thing.
    • Hermann Bondi (1980), Relativity and Common Sense: A New Approach to Einstein, p. 65
  • The landscape has been so totally changed, the ways of thinking have been so deeply affected, that it is very hard to get hold of what it was like before... It is very hard to realize how total a change in outlook Isaac Newton has produced.
    • Hermann Bondi, "Newton and the Twentieth Century—A Personal View" in Let Newton Bel A New Perspective on his Life and Works (1988) R. Flood, J. Fauvel, M. Shortland, R. Wilson p. 241
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