Simon Mitton

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Simon Mitton
Simon Anthony Mitton 13-04-11.JPG
Simon Mitton, Parc Phoenix Nice France 2013
Born (1946-12-18)18 December 1946
Bristol, England
Residence UK
Nationality British
Fields Astronomer
Institutions University of Cambridge
Alma mater Trinity College, Oxford
Doctoral advisor Sir Martin Ryle

Simon Mitton (born 1946) is an astronomer and writer. He is based at St Edmund's College, Cambridge. He has written numerous astronomical works.[1][2][3] The most well known of these is his biography of fellow Cambridge astronomer Fred Hoyle.[4]


Elected Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society 2012–2014, and chairman of the RAS library committee. Mitton is Director of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, and is College Fellow[5] of the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge.[6]

He is a founder Director of Total Astronomy Limited,[7] a company based in Cambridge that provides media services for the astronomy and space industries.

Mitton is former managing editor of the International Journal of Astrobiology.

Earlier in his career, while employed by the Cambridge University Press, he was the editor in question when "Stephen Hawking famously put the success of his bestseller A Brief History of Time down to advice from his editor that for every equation in the book the readership would be halved. As a result the book included only a single equation, E = mc2." [8]

Current interests are outreach lecturing on astronomy as RAS Guest Lecturer for Cunard line.

He is standing as the Conservative Party candidate for Castle ward in the 2015 elections to Cambridge City Council.[9]


Simon Mitton studied physics and astrophysics. His undergraduate studies were at the Clarendon Laboratory and Trinity College, Oxford. For his doctoral research in high-energy astrophysics he studied at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, under Nobel Laureate Sir Martin Ryle FRS. His postdoctoral career started under Sir Fred Hoyle FRS at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge.


Recently his principal research project has been in the history of astronomy, now his academic field. He has completed a large biography of the British cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle (1915–2001), published in April 2005. His current research centres on the long history of attempts to understand the origin of structure in the universe. His other research interests include science and religion, the history of attempts to measure the velocity of light, the life of Mary Somerville, and the life of Copernicus.

Currently he is collaborating with a colleague at Princeton University Observatory with whom he is writing a major book on our present understanding of the nature of the universe. This book has been accepted by Princeton University Press.

He has also contributed to research on the Cambridge astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington (1882–1944), and has an interest in Georges Lemaître, one of the College's most distinguished former members (1923–24)



Named after him


  1. ^ The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy, 1978.
  2. ^ Exploring the Galaxies, 1974
  3. ^ Cambridge Scientific Minds 2000
  4. ^ "Fred Hoyle a life in Science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2011
  5. ^
  6. ^ ""
  7. ^
  8. ^ Review of 'The Quantum Universe: Everything that can happen does happen.' by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw.[Hannah Devlin, Science Correspondent, The Times, October 31, 2011]
  9. ^