Born 10th February 1896 in Nottingham, England, Sir Alister Clavering Hardy FRS, was the son of an architect. He had intended, and in fact was accepted to Oxford University in 1914, but the outbreak of war meant he enrolled in the army instead.
Post-war, he went to Oxford and started studying zoology in 1919, going on to graduate with distinction. His interest in marine plankton came when he was awarded the Naples Scholarship, and from here he was taken on as zoologist on the RRS Discovery voyage to the Antarctic 1925-1927. It was on this voyage he invented the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR). This and his ground-breaking research into plankton forms the basis of the work of SAHFOS today.
Sir Alister was knighted in 1957 for his work in marine biology.
On retiring, he founded the Religious Experience Research Unit at Oxford University, highlighting his interests in religion. Another of his loves, art, was brought to the fore when he travelled in his later years. He went East to the likes of India, Asia, China and Japan, painting with watercolours so his artwork is a mix of marine life and Far Eastern temples.
Sir Alister Hardy died aged 90, in Oxford on 22nd May, 1985.