Hermann Bondi was born 1 November 1919, the son of the late Samuel and Helene Bondi. He was educated at the Realgymnasium in Vienna then Trinity College, Cambridge where he became a fellow in 1943. In 1947 he married Christine Stockman, with whom he had two sons and three daughters.
His varied career has included: work as Temporary Experimental Officer for the Admiralty (1942-45); Assistant Lecturer in Mathematics, Cambridge University (1945-48), Lecturer (1948-54); Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (1943-49, 1952-54); Professor of Mathematics King's College, London (1954-); Director General of ESRO (1967-71); Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence (1971-77); Chief Scientist for the Dept of Energy (1977-80); Chairman and Chief Executive of NERC (1980-84); Research Associate (1951); and later Visiting Professor of Cornell University (1960).
From 1983-1990 Professor Bondi was Master of Churchill College, Cambridge and continued as a Fellow of the College.
His honours have included: KCB 1973; FRS 1959; FRAS; Einstein Society Gold Medal (1983); Gold Medal of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (1988); the G.D. Birla International Award for Humanism (1990); the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (2002).
Publications range from "The Steady State Theory of the Expanding Universe" (with Professor Thomas Gold) in the 1940s, "The Universe at Large" 1961, "Relativity and Common Sense" 1964, "Assumption and Myth in Physical Theory" in 1968 (with Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw), editor of The Universe Unfolding in 1998, as well as various articles in the humanist press. Professor Bondi's autobiography, "Science, Churchill and me" was published in 1990.
Sir Hermann died on 10 September 2005, aged 85.
The papers include: material relating to Bondi's Mastership of Churchill College; personal material; some correspondence on scientific matters; texts and other papers from Bondi's lectures, speeches and seminars; papers relating to Bondi's position as Chief Scientist for the Department of Energy; publications by Bondi and others; research papers on topics including the Thames Barrage/London Flood Barrier, British Rail, and the Severn Barrage; papers relating to Bondi's membership of various scientific, educational and academic bodies; material on Bondi's interests in ecology and the environment and in the alternative to nuclear arms.
The papers of Professor Sir Hermann Bondi were deposited at Churchill Archives Centre in several separate acquisitions between 1983 and 2012.
1 archive box relating to Bondi's M.Phil supervisions was destroyed in 2013 as it related solely to students' work and should duplicate similar material at Cambridge University Graduate School.
Invoices removed from BOND 1/34 were destroyed in 2013.
Old lists of files were removed from a recent accession and added to the collection file in 2013.
The original order of the papers has been broadly retained, with files being arranged within subject areas, and, where possible, by date.
The collection is owned by Churchill College.