Simon Mitton

Simon Mitton (born 18 December 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]

Simon Mitton
Simon Anthony Mitton 13-04-11.JPG
Simon Mitton, Parc Phoenix Nice France 2013
Born (1946-12-18) 18 December 1946 (age 73)
Bristol, England
Alma materTrinity College, Oxford
St. Edmund's College, Cambridge
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
Doctoral advisorSir Martin Ryle


Mitton was elected to Council of the Royal Astronomical Society 2012–2016, and chairman of the RAS library committee. He is a 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.

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]

Jointly with Jacqueline Mitton, he occasionally gives astronomy lectures on cruise ships.[citation needed]

He stood as the Conservative Party candidate for Castle ward in the Cambridge City Council election, 2015,[9] finishing in third place with 22.6% of the vote.[10]


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, and reissued in 2011.



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. ^ "Simon Mitton - People - HPS".
  6. ^ "Department of History and Philosophy of Science".
  7. ^ "Total Astronomy media consultancy : Home".
  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. ^
  10. ^