Frederic Raphael Jevons was born on September 19, 1929 in Vienna, Austria, the son of Fritz and Hedwig Bettelheim. He was educated at Langley School in Norwich, England, before going up to Cambridge University where he was awarded a BA (1950, converted into MA in 1953) and PhD (1953). In 1953 he was made a Fellow of King's College at Cambridge. This was followed by a year as Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1956 he became a University Demonstrator in Biochemistry at Cambridge. In 1959 he accepted the post of Lecturer in Biological Chemistry at the University of Manchester. In 1966 he was awarded a D.Sc. by the University of Manchester. In the same year he became the Foundation Professor of Liberal Studies at the University of Manchester, where he remained until 1975. In 1976 he became Vice Chancellor and Principal of Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria where he was involved in the setting up of the University from scratch. In 1986 he was made a Life Governor of Geelong Hospital. From 1988 to 1992 he was Professor of Science and Technological Policy at Murdoch University. He spent part of 1992 as a Simon Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. In 1994 was made an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Department of Management at Monash University, and in 1996 he became Honorary Professorial Associate in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in the University of Melbourne.
During his working life Fred Jevons sat on various committees and councils including acting as a consultant on distance education in southern Africa (1986-87); General Studies Committee, Schools Council, London (1974-75); Graduate Careers Council of Australia (1976-80); Policy Committee of the Victorian Technical and Further Education Off-Campus Network (1985-88); Joint Matriculation Board of Manchester (1969-75); Joint Committee of SRC and SSRC, London (1974-75); Education Research and Development Committee, Australia (1980-81); Council of the Science Museum of Victoria (1980-83); Council of the Museum of Victoria (1983-87); Australian Vice-Chancellors' Executive Committee (1981-82); Standing Committee on External Studies, Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission, Canberra (1985-87); Australian Science and Technology Council (1986-89); he has acted as advisor to the Leverhulme project on education objectives in applied science at Strathclyde University (1972-75); toured for the British Council in India, East Africa and Nigeria (1972-75) as well as being a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Prometheus (1972-76).
Fred Jevons has been awarded three honorary doctorates including a DUniv. (Open) in 1985, an Hon.DLitt. from Deakin University, and an Hon. DSc. from the University of Manchester (both in 1986). He was also the inaugural winner of the UNESCO prize for the study of science and technology policy in 1992.
Fred Jevons is married to Grete (nee Bradel), known as Dita, and the couple have two sons.