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About Hilton Ratcliffe

Hilton Ratcliffe is a South African-born physicist, mathematician, and astronomer. He is a member of both the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA) and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He became a founding member of the Alternative Cosmology Group (ACG—an association of some 700 leading scientists from all corners of the globe), which conducted its inaugural international conference in Portugal in 2005.

He was an active member of the organisational, scientific, and proceedings committees for the second ACG conference, which was held in the USA in September 2008. Hilton has been frequently interviewed in the press, radio, and television, and has authored a number of papers for scientific journals, books, and conferences. For many years he wrote a monthly astrophysical column for “Ndaba”, newsletter of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa’s Durban Centre, and is editor of the Monthly Notes of the Alternative Cosmology Group. He serves as consulting astrophysicist on the steering committee of the Durban Space Science Centre and Planetarium, a project of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (Durban Centre). Hilton Ratcliffe is best known in formal science as co-discoverer, together with eminent nuclear chemist Oliver Manuel and solar physicist Michael Mozina, of the CNO nuclear fusion cycle on the surface of the Sun, nearly 70 years after it was first predicted.

Hilton Ratcliffe has also made his mark as a photographer and an author. He has published three books (The Virtue of Heresy; The Static Universe; and Stephen Hawking Smoked My Socks) and contributed chapters to two others. In 2013, Ratcliffe’s first book The Virtue of Heresy was nominated for the London School of Economics’ prestigious Lakatos Award for literature judged to have been of exceptional service to science.

In his capacity as Fellow of the (British) Institute of Physics, he involves himself in addressing the decline in student interest in physical sciences at both high school and university level, and particularly likes to encourage the reading of books.

Hilton Ratcliffe may be reached by email at