Freeman Dyson

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Freeman Dyson
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| image = Freeman Dyson (2005).jpg| alt =| caption = Dyson at the Long Now Seminar in San Francisco, California, in 2005| birth_name = Freeman John Dysondf=yes12|15}}| birth_place = Crowthorne, Berkshire, England| nationality = British-AmericanEsther Dyson, George Dyson (science historian)>George Dyson, Dorothy Dyson, Mia Dyson, Rebecca Dyson, Emily Dyson| death_date = | death_place =| field = Physics, mathematics Richard FeynmanFREEMAN DYSON > School of Natural SciencesAbram Samoilovitch BesicovitchDYSON>FIRST=FREEMANURL=HTTP://WWW.WEBOFSTORIES.COM/PLAY/4332?O=MS,}} He is the son of George Dyson.}}Verena Huber-Dyson (1950–1958)HTTP://MOLESFAREWELLTRIBUTES.COM/TRIBUTE/DETAILS/1427/VERENA-HUBER-DYSON/OBITUARY.HTML DATE=12 MARCH 2016 ACCESS-DATE=3 DECEMBER 2017, Imme Jung (1958–)}}{{Quantum field theory}}{{Modern physics}}Freeman John Dyson {{post-nominals|country=GBR|FRS}} (born 15 December 1923) is a theoretical physicist and mathematician known for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering.NEWS,weblink BBC News, Scientist wins $1m religion prize, 9 May 2000, 2010-05-02, {{harvp|Dyson, F.J.|1979}}. Disturbing the Universe, p. 131, "I had finally become an American ... The decision to abjure my allegiance to Queen Elizabeth might have been a difficult one, but the Queen's ministers made it easy for me." He is professor emeritus in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a Visitor of Ralston College{{cn|date=May 2019}} and a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.Board of Sponsors. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 3 December 2017.Dyson originated several concepts that bear his name, such as Dyson's transform, a fundamental technique in additive number theory,Additive Number Theory: Inverse Problems and the Geometry of Sumsets By Melvyn Bernard Nathanson, Springer, Aug 22, 1996, {{ISBN|0-387-94655-1}},weblink p. 42 which he developed as part of his proof of Mann's theorem;BOOK, Halberstam, H., Heini Halberstam, Roth, K. F., Klaus Roth, Sequences, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1983, revised, 978-0-387-90801-4, the Dyson tree, a hypothetical genetically-engineered plant capable of growing in a comet; the Dyson series, a perturbative series where each term is represented by Feynman diagrams; the Dyson sphere, a thought experiment that attempts to explain how a space-faring civilization would meet its energy requirements with a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures a large percentage of its power output; and Dyson's eternal intelligence, a means by which an immortal society of intelligent beings in an open universe could escape the prospect of the heat death of the universe by extending subjective time to infinity while expending only a finite amount of energy. Dyson believes global warming is caused by increased carbon dioxide through burning fossil fuels, but is sceptical about the simulation models used to predict climate change, arguing that political efforts to reduce causes of climate change distract from other global problems that should take priority.


Early life

Born on 15 December 1923, at Crowthorne in Berkshire, Dyson is the son of the English composer George Dyson, who was later knighted. His mother had a law degree, and after Dyson was born she worked as a social worker.WEB,weblink The Scientist as Rebel, 5 December 2017, Wild River Review Interview by Joy E. Stocke Dyson had one sibling, his older sister, Alice, who remembered him as a boy surrounded by encyclopedias and always calculating on sheets of paper.Freeman Dyson Turns 90 Published by on October 7, 2013, retrieved on April 22, 2019 At the age of four he tried to calculate the number of atoms in the sun.Freeman Dyson Published by in the Summer of 2017, retrieved on April 22, 2019 As a child, he showed an interest in large numbers and in the solar system, and was strongly influenced by the book Men of Mathematics by Eric Temple Bell. Politically, Dyson says he was "brought up as a socialist".BOOK, Ghodsee, Kristen, 2015, The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe, Durham, NC, Duke University Press, 5, 978-0-822-35823-7, From 1936 to 1941 Dyson was a scholar at Winchester College, where his father was Director of Music. At age 17 he studied mathematics with G.H. Hardy at Trinity College, Cambridge (where he won a scholarship at age 15) and at age 19 was assigned to war work in the Operational Research Section (ORS) of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command,WEB, Dyson, Freeman, A Failure of Intelligence,weblink MIT Technology Review Magazine, MIT Technology Review, 20 October 2013, 1 November 2006, Prominent physicist Freeman Dyson recalls the time he spent developing analytical methods to help the British Royal Air Force bomb German targets during World War II., where he developed analytical methods to help the Royal Air Force bomb German targets during the Second World War. After the war, Dyson was readmitted to Trinity College, Cambridge,Fractals in Physics: Essays in Honor of Benoit B. Mandelbrot : Proceedings of the International Conference Honoring Benoit B. Mandelbrot on His 65th Birthday, Vence, France, 1–4 October 1989, p. 66 where he obtained a BA degree in mathematics.WEB, Freeman Dyson,weblink Institute for Advanced Study, School of Natural Sciences, Princeton University, 15 April 2014, From 1946 to 1949 he was a Fellow of his college, occupying rooms just below those of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who resigned his professorship in 1947.Dyson, F. (10 Nov 2011) "What Can You Really Know", New York Review of Books In 1947 Dyson published two papers in number theory."The Approximation to Algebraic Numbers by Rationals," Acta Mathematica (Uppsala), 89, 1947, pp. 225–240."On Simultaneous Diophantine Approximations," Proceedings of the LondonMathematical Society, Series 2, 49, 1947, pp. 409–420. Friends and colleagues describe him as shy and self-effacing, with a contrarian streak that his friends find refreshing but his intellectual opponents find exasperating. "I have the sense that when consensus is forming like ice hardening on a lake, Dyson will do his best to chip at the ice", Steven Weinberg said of him. His friend the neurologist and author Oliver Sacks said: "A favourite word of Freeman's about doing science and being creative is the word 'subversive'. He feels it's rather important not only to be not orthodox, but to be subversive, and he's done that all his life."MAGAZINE, Dawidoff, Nicholas,weblink The Civil Heretic, The New York Times Magazine, 25 March 2009, {{clarify|reason=How does the following pertain to character?|date=November 2013}}

Career in the United States

On G. I. Taylor's advice and recommendation, Dyson moved to the United States in 1947 as a Commonwealth Fellow to earn a physics doctorate with Hans Bethe at Cornell University (1947–48).INTERVIEW, Freeman Dyson, Finn Aaserud, Freeman Dyson,weblink American Institute of Physics, Princeton, New Jersey, 17 December 1986, Oral History Interviews, BOOK, QED and the Men Who Made It, Schweber, Silvan S., Princeton University Press, 1994, Princeton, NJ, 392ff, There he made the acquaintance of Richard Feynman. The budding English physicist recognized the brilliance of the flamboyant American, and attached himself as quickly as possible. He then moved to the Institute for Advanced Study (1948–49), before returning to England (1949–51), where he was a research fellow at the University of Birmingham.WEB, Freeman Dyson,weblink The American Institute of Physics, 23 August 2013, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 17 October 2013, dmy-all, In 1949 Dyson demonstrated the equivalence of two formulations of quantum electrodynamics (QED): Richard Feynman's diagrams and the operator method developed by Julian Schwinger and Shin'ichirō Tomonaga. He was the first person after their creator to appreciate the power of Feynman diagrams and his paper written in 1948 and published in 1949 was the first to make use of them. He said in that paper that Feynman diagrams were not just a computational tool but a physical theory and developed rules for the diagrams that completely solved the renormalization problem. Dyson's paper and also his lectures presented Feynman's theories of QED in a form that other physicists could understand, facilitating the physics community's acceptance of Feynman's work. J. Robert Oppenheimer, in particular, was persuaded by Dyson that Feynman's new theory was as valid as Schwinger's and Tomonaga's. Oppenheimer rewarded Dyson with a lifetime appointment at the Institute for Advanced Study, "for proving me wrong", in Oppenheimer's words.Also in 1949, in related work, Dyson invented the Dyson series. It was this paper that inspired John Ward to derive his celebrated Ward–Takahashi identity.JOURNAL, J. C. Ward, Phys. Rev., 78, 182, 1950, 1950PhRv...78..182W, 10.1103/PhysRev.78.182, An Identity in Quantum Electrodynamics, 2, . [Note: this Ward letter opens with "It has been recently proven by Dyson ..."]In 1951 Dyson joined the faculty at Cornell as a physics professor, though he still had no doctorate, and in 1953 he received a permanent post at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he has remained. In 1957 he became a naturalized citizen of the United States and renounced his British nationality. One reason he gave decades later is that his children born in the United States had not been recognized as British subjects.From 1957 to 1961 Dyson worked on Project Orion,Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Project Orion, a nuclear bomb and rocket – all in one Published by on August 31, 2016, retrieved on April 25, 2019 which proposed the possibility of space-flight using nuclear pulse propulsion. A prototype was demonstrated using conventional explosives, but the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, which Dyson was involved in and supported, permitted only underground nuclear weapons testing, so the project was abandoned.In 1958 Dyson was a member of the design team under Edward Teller for TRIGA,An Essay on Freeman Dyson, Designer of the TRIGA Reactor Published by on October 7, 2014, retrieved on April 25, 2019 a small, inherently safe nuclear reactor used throughout the world in hospitals and universities for the production of medical isotopes.A seminal paper by Dyson came in 1966, when, together with Andrew Lenard and independently of Elliott H. Lieb and Walter Thirring, he proved rigorously that the Pauli exclusion principle plays the main role in the stability of bulk matter.JOURNAL, E. H. Lieb, W. Thirring, Phys. Rev. Lett., 35, 687–689, 1975, 10.1103/PhysRevLett.35.687, Bound for the Kinetic Energy of Fermions Which Proves the Stability of Matter, 11, 1975PhRvL..35..687L, Hence it is not the electromagnetic repulsion between outer-shell orbital electrons that prevents two stacked wood blocks from coalescing into a single piece, but the exclusion principle applied to electrons and protons that generates the classical macroscopic normal force. In condensed matter physics, Dyson also analysed the phase transition of the Ising model in 1 dimension and spin waves.F. J. Dyson, E. H. Lieb, Selected papers by Freeman Dyson, AMS (1996).Dyson also did work in a variety of topics in mathematics, such as topology, analysis, number theory and random matrices. In 1973 the number theorist Hugh Lowell Montgomery was visiting the Institute for Advanced Study and had just made his pair correlation conjecture concerning the distribution of the zeros of the Riemann zeta function. He showed his formula to the mathematician Atle Selberg, who said that it looked like something in mathematical physics and that Montgomery should show it to Dyson, which he did. Dyson recognized the formula as the pair correlation function of the Gaussian unitary ensemble, which physicists have studied extensively. This suggested that there might be an unexpected connection between the distribution of primes (2, 3, 5, 7, 11,  ...) and the energy levels in the nuclei of heavy elements such as uranium.John Derbyshire, Prime Obsession, 2004, {{ISBN|0309085497}}.Around 1979 Dyson worked with the Institute for Energy Analysis on climate studies. This group, under Alvin Weinberg's direction, pioneered multidisciplinary climate studies, including a strong biology group. Also during the 1970s, Dyson worked on climate studies conducted by the JASON defense advisory group.Dyson retired from the Institute for Advanced Study in 1994.WEB,weblink 2011-12-19, InterViews Freeman Dyson, 2004-07-23, National Academy of Sciences,weblink" title="">weblink 1 December 2017, yes, dmy-all, In 1998 he joined the board of the Solar Electric Light Fund. {{As of|2003}} he was president of the Space Studies Institute, the space research organization founded by Gerard K. O'Neill; as of 2013 he is on its board of trustees.WEB,weblink Officers and Board, Space Studies Institute, 6 January 2013, Dyson is a longtime member of the JASON group.Dyson has won numerous scientific awards, but never a Nobel Prize. Nobel physics laureate Steven Weinberg has said that the Nobel committee has "fleeced" Dyson, but Dyson himself remarked in 2009, "I think it's almost true without exception if you want to win a Nobel Prize, you should have a long attention span, get hold of some deep and important problem and stay with it for ten years. That wasn't my style." Dyson is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books.In 2012 Dyson published (with William H. Press) a fundamental new result about the prisoner's dilemma in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.A new approach to the Prisoner's Dilemma Published by on July 8, 2012, retrieved on April 26, 2019


With his first wife, the Swiss mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson, Dyson had two children, Esther and George. In 1958 he married Imme Jung, a masters runner, and they had four more children, Dorothy, Mia, Rebecca, and Emily Dyson.Dyson's eldest daughter, Esther, is a digital technology consultant and investor; she has been called "the most influential woman in all the computer world".NEWS,weblink Esther Dyson: Breaking through tech's glass ceiling, McKelvey, Tara, 27 May 2014, 11 February 2017, BBC, His son, George, is a historian of science,See excerpt from Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite by John Brockman (HardWired Books, 1996) one of whose books is Project Orion: The Atomic Spaceship 1957–1965.


Biotechnology and genetic engineering

{{see also|The Sun, the Genome and the Internet}}Dyson admits his record as a prophet is mixed, but thinks it is better to be wrong than vague, and that in meeting the world's material needs, technology must be beautiful and cheap.Dyson has coined the term "green technologies", based on biology instead of physics or chemistry, to describe new species of microorganisms and plants designed to meet human needs. He argues that such technologies would be based on solar power rather than the fossil fuels whose use he sees as part of what he calls "gray technologies" of industry. He believes that genetically engineered crops, which he describes as green, can help end rural poverty, with a movement based in ethics to end the inequitable distribution of wealth on the planet.Freeman Dyson envisions biotech solutions to rural poverty Published by Stanford University on 16 March, 2001, retrieved on May 1, 2019

The Origin of Life

Dyson favors the dual origin theory: that life first formed as cells, then enzymes, and finally, much later, genes. This was first propounded by the Russian Alexander Oparin.Oparin, A. I. The Origin of Life, Moscow Worker publisher, 1924 (Russian) J. B. S. Haldane developed the same theory independently.The Origin of Life, J.B.S.Haldane, The Rationalist Annual, 1929 In Dyson's version of the theory life evolved in two stages, widely separated in time. Because of the biochemistry he regards it as too unlikely that genes could have developed fully blown in one process. Current cells contain adenosine triphosphate or ATP and adenosine 5'-monophosphate or AMP, which greatly resemble each other but have completely different functions. ATP transports energy around the cell, and AMP is part of RNA and the genetic apparatus. Dyson proposes that in a primitive early cell containing ATP and AMP, RNA and replication were invented accidentally because of the similarity between AMP and RNA. He suggests that AMP was produced when ATP molecules lost two of their phosphate radicals, and then one cell somewhere performed Eigen's experiment and produced RNA.There is no direct evidence for the dual origin theory, because once genes developed, they took over, obliterating all traces of the earlier forms of life. In the first origin, the cells were probably just drops of water held together by surface tension, teeming with enzymes and chemical reactions, and having a primitive kind of growth or replication. When the liquid drop became too big, it split into two drops. Many complex molecules formed in these "little city economies" and the probability that genes would eventually develop in them was much greater than in the prebiotic environment.Freeman Dyson, Origins of Life,,. Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 1999File:Dyson rings.PNG|thumb|Artist's concept of Dyson rings, forming a stable Dyson swarm, or "Dyson sphere"]]

Dyson sphere

In 1960 Dyson wrote a short paper for the journal Science titled "Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation".JOURNAL, Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation, 10.1126/science.131.3414.1667, Science, 131, 1667–1668, Freeman J., Dyson, 3 June 1960, 3414, 17780673, 1960Sci...131.1667D, In it he speculated that a technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization might surround its native star with artificial structures to maximize the capture of the star's energy. Eventually the civilization would enclose the star, intercepting electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths from visible light downward and radiating waste heat outward as infrared radiation. One method of searching for extraterrestrial civilizations would be to look for large objects radiating in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum.}}Dyson conceived that such structures would be clouds of asteroid-sized space habitats, though science fiction writers have preferred a solid structure: either way, such an artefact is often called a Dyson sphere, although Dyson used the term "shell". Dyson says that he used the term "artificial biosphere" in the article to mean a habitat, not a shape.20 minutes into a video The general concept of such an energy-transferring shell had been advanced decades earlier by author Olaf Stapledon in his 1937 novel Star Maker, a source Dyson has credited publicly.SPEECH, Living Through Four Revolutions, Freeman, Dyson, Perimeter Institute Public Lecture Series, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1 June 2011,weblink {{harvp|Dyson, F.J.|1979}}. Disturbing the Universe, p. 211, "Some science fiction writers have wrongly given me the credit of inventing the artificial biosphere. In fact, I took the idea from Olaf Stapledon, one of their own colleagues"

Dyson tree

Dyson has also proposed the creation of a Dyson tree, a genetically engineered plant capable of growing on a comet. He suggested that comets could be engineered to contain hollow spaces filled with a breathable atmosphere, thus providing self-sustaining habitats for humanity in the outer Solar System.

Space colonies

Dyson has been interested in space travel since he was a child, reading such science fiction classics as Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker. As a young man, he worked for General Atomics on the nuclear-powered Orion spacecraft. He hoped Project Orion would put men on Mars by 1965, Saturn by 1970. For a quarter-century Dyson has been unhappy about how the government conducts space travel:He still hopes for cheap space travel, but is resigned to waiting for private entrepreneurs to develop something new and inexpensive.Dyson also proposed the use of bioengineered space colonies to colonize the Kuiper Belt on the outer edge of our Solar System. He proposed that habitats could be grown from space hardened spores. The colonies could then be warmed by large reflector plant leaves that could focus the dim, distant sunlight back on the growing colony. This was illustrated by Pat Rawlings on the cover of the National Space Society's Ad Astra magazine.

Space exploration

Dyson's eternal intelligence

Dyson proposed that an immortal group of intelligent beings could escape the prospect of heat death by extending time to infinity while expending only a finite amount of energy.Freeman J. Dyson, "Time without end: Physics and biology in an open universe," Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 51, Issue 3 (July 1979), pp. 447-460; {{doi|10.1103/RevModPhys.51.447}} This is also known as the Dyson scenario.

Dyson's transform

His concept "Dyson's transform" led to one of the most important lemmas of Olivier Ramaré's theorem: that every even integer can be written as a sum of no more than six primes.

Dyson series

The Dyson series, the formal solution of an explicitly time-dependent Schrödinger equation by iteration, and the corresponding Dyson time-ordering operator mathcal T,, an entity of basic importance in the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, are also named after Dyson.File:Freeman dyson.jpg|thumb|upright|Freeman Dyson in 2007 at the Institute for Advanced StudyInstitute for Advanced Study

Quantum physics and prime numbers

Dyson and Hugh Montgomery discovered together an intriguing connection between quantum physics and Montgomery's pair correlation conjecture about the zeros of the Zeta function. The primes 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, ... are described by the Riemann Zeta function, and Dyson had previously developed a description of quantum physics based on m by m arrays of totally random numbers.JOURNAL, Dyson, Freeman J., 1962, A Brownian?Motion Model for the Eigenvalues of a Random Matrix, J. Math. Phys., 3, 6, 1191, 10.1063/1.1703862, 1962JMP.....3.1191D, Montgomery and Dyson discovered that the eigenvalues of these matrices are spaced apart in exactly the same manner as Montgomery conjectured for the nontrivial zeros of the Zeta function. Andrew Odlyzko has verified the conjecture on a computer, using his Odlyzko–Schönhage algorithm to calculate many zeros. Dyson recognized this connection because of a number-theory question Montgomery asked him. Dyson had published results in number theory in 1947, while a Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, and so was able to understand Montgomery's question. If Montgomery had not been visiting the Institute for Advanced Study that week, this connection might not have been discovered.There are in nature one, two, and three dimensional quasicrystals. Mathematicians define a quasicrystal as a set of discrete points whose Fourier transform is also a set of discrete points. Odlyzko has done extensive computations of the Fourier transform of the nontrivial zeros of the Zeta function, and they seem to form a one-dimensional quasicrystal. This would in fact follow from the Riemann hypothesis.Freeman Dyson, Selected papers, 1990-2014, pp. 41–42, World Scientific, 2015

Rank of a partition

File:Rank of a partition.svg|thumb|300px|The rank of a partition, shown as its Young diagramYoung diagramIn number theory and combinatorics rank of a partition of a positive integer is a certain integer associated with the partition. Dyson introduced the concept in a paper published in the journal Eureka.JOURNAL, F. Dyson, Some guesses in the theory of partitions, Eureka (Cambridge), 1944, 8, 10–15, It was presented in the context of a study of certain congruence properties of the partition function discovered by the mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. A different concept, sharing the same name, is used in combinatorics, where the rank is taken to be the size of the Durfee square of the partition.

Crank of a partition

In number theory, the crank of a partition is a certain integer associated with the partition in number theory. Dyson first introduced the term without a definition in a 1944 paper in a journal published by the Mathematics Society of Cambridge University.JOURNAL, Freeman J. Dyson, Some Guesses in The Theory of Partitions, Eureka (Cambridge), 1944, 8, 10–15,weblink He then gave a list of properties this yet-to-be-defined quantity should have. In 1988, George E. Andrews and Frank Garvan discovered a definition for the crank satisfying the properties Dyson had hypothesized.JOURNAL, George E. Andrews, F.G. Garvan, Dyson's crank of a partition, Bulletin (New Series) of the American Mathematical Society, April 1988, 18, 2,weblink 26 November 2012,


Astrochicken is the name given to a thought experiment Dyson expounded in his book Disturbing the Universe (1979). He contemplated how humanity could build a small, self-replicating automaton that could explore space more efficiently than a manned craft could. He attributed the general idea to John von Neumann, based on a lecture von Neumann gave in 1948 titled The General and Logical Theory of Automata. Dyson expanded on von Neumann's automata theories and added a biological component.


Climate change

{{see also|Climatology}}Dyson agrees that anthropogenic global warming exists and that one of its main causes is the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.WEB,weblink Edge, Heretical Thoughts about Science and Society, 8 August 2007, Freeman Dyson, 2007-09-05, dl He has said that in many ways increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is beneficial,The benefits of carbon dioxide Published by on October 20, 2015, retrieved on May 1, 2019 and that it is increasing biological growth, agricultural yields and forests.Video: Earth is actually growing greener Published by the Vancouver Sun on April 20, 2015, retrieved on May 1, 2019 He believes that existing simulation models of climate change fail to account for some important factors, and that the results thus contain too great a margin of error to reliably predict future trends.Dyson: Climate models are rubbish Published by on August 14, 2007, retrieved on April 28, 2019Dyson's views on global warming have been criticized. In reply, he notes that "[m]y objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it's rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have."weblink" title="">"Freeman Dyson Takes On The Climate Establishment", interview published 2 June 2009 by Yale University's Environment 360In 2008 Dyson endorsed the now common usage of "global warming" as synonymous with global anthropogenic climate change,Dyson, F. (12 June 2008) "The Question of Global Warming", The New York Review of Books. Retrieved on 2011-10-07. but argued that political efforts to reduce the causes of climate change distract from other global problems that should take priority.WEB,weblink" title="">weblink 31 August 2006,weblink University of Michigan 2005 Winter Commencement Address, University of Michigan, Since originally taking interest in climate studies in the 1970s, Dyson has suggested that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could be controlled by planting fast-growing trees. He calculates that it would take a trillion trees to remove all carbon from the atmosphere.Freeman J. Dyson, "Can we control the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?", Energy, Volume 2, Issue 3, September 1977, Pages 287–291. {{doi|10.1016/0360-5442(77)90033-0}} In a 2014 interview he said, "What I'm convinced of is that we don't understand climate ... It will take a lot of very hard work before that question is settled."NEWS, Lin, Thomas, At 90, Freeman Dyson Ponders His Next Challenge,weblink 2014-04-02, Wired, 2014-03-31, Dyson is a member of the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic think tank chaired by Nigel Lawson.WEB,weblink Academic Advisory Council, The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), 2017-01-19, Global Warming Policy Foundation Published by Retrieved on April 30, 2019"Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more", interview published 2 June 2009 by The Register

Warfare and weapons

At the British Bomber Command, Dyson and colleagues proposed removing two gun turrets from the RAF Lancaster bombers, to cut the catastrophic losses due to German fighters in the Battle of Berlin. A Lancaster without turrets could fly {{convert|50|mph|-1|abbr=on}} faster and be much more maneuverable.. "The Children's Crusade" in Disturbing the Universe}}On hearing the news of the bombing of Hiroshima:. "The Blood of a Poet" in Disturbing the Universe}}In 1967, in his capacity as a military adviser, Dyson wrote an influential paper on the issue of possible US use of tactical nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War. When a general said in a meeting, "I think it might be a good idea to throw in a nuke now and then, just to keep the other side guessing ..."{{harvp|Dyson, F.J.|1979}}. "The Ethics of Defense" in Disturbing the Universe, p. 149. Dyson became alarmed and obtained permission to write a report on the pros and cons of using such weapons from a purely military point of view. (This report, Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Southeast Asia, published by the Institute for Defense Analyses, was obtained, with some redactions, by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability under the Freedom of Information act in 2002.)F.J. Dyson, R. Gomer, S. Weinberg, S.C. Wright "Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Southeast Asia" (March 1967) [declassified December 2002] It was sufficiently objective that both sides in the debate based their arguments on it. Dyson says that the report showed that, even from a narrow military point of view, the US was better off not using nuclear weapons. Dyson stated on the Dick Cavett show that the use of nuclear weaponry was a bad idea for the US at the time because "our targets were large and theirs were small." (His unstated assumption was that the Soviets would respond by supplying tactical nukes to the other side.)Dyson opposed the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq. He supported Barack Obama in the 2008 US presidential election and The New York Times has described him as a political liberal. He was one of 29 leading US scientists who wrote Obama a strongly supportive letter about his administration's 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.WEB, Broad, William J., 8 August 2015, 29 U.S. Scientists Praise Iran Nuclear Deal in Letter to Obama,weblink The New York Times, 9 August 2015,

Science and religion

Dyson was raised in what he has described as a “watered-down Church of England Christianity”. He is a nondenominational Christian and has attended various churches, from Presbyterian to Roman Catholic. Regarding doctrinal or Christological issues, he has said, "I am neither a saint nor a theologian. To me, good works are more important than theology."SPEECH,weblink Freeman Dyson, Templeton Prize Lecture, Progress In Religion,, 15 March 2000, 2011-10-07, Dyson partially disagrees with the famous remark by his fellow physicist Steven Weinberg that "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion."WEB, Religion from the Outside, Freeman Dyson,weblink 22 June 2006, The New York Review of Books, 2011-10-07, While Dyson has called himself a Christian, he identifies himself as agnostic about some of the specifics of his faith.BOOK, Back to Hell, Xulon Press, 9781591608158, Moses Gbenu,weblink 110, The cash part of this award is over $1 million. Three facts are significant about this award. First, the same award was given to an agnostic Mathematician Freeman Dyson, the Buddhist Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, and Charles R. Filmore, son of the founder of the mind-science cult, Unity., 15 February 2014, June 2003, BOOK, Species of Origins: America's Search for a Creation Story, 2002, Rowman & Littlefield, 9780742507654, Karl Giberson, Donald A. Yerxa,weblink 141, Dyson is not a hard-nosed materialist and, in fact, criticizes his colleagues who champion that viewpoint. Officially, he calls himself an agnostic, but his writings make it clear that his agnosticism is tinged with something akin to deism., 15 February 2014, For example, in reviewing The God of Hope and the End of the World by John Polkinghorne, Dyson wrote:}}In The God Delusion (2006), biologist Richard Dawkins criticized Dyson for accepting the religious Templeton Prize in 2000: "It would be taken as an endorsement of religion by one of the world's most distinguished physicists."BOOK, The God Delusion, Dawkins, Richard, Bantam Press, 2006, 978-0-61868-000-9, 152, The God Delusion, In 2000 Dyson declared that he is a (non-denominational) Christian, and he has disagreed with Dawkins on several occasions, as when he criticized Dawkins' understanding of evolution.WEB, John Brockman,weblink Richard Dawkins—Freeman Dyson: an exchange, 2007,, 21 October 2015,

Named after Dyson

Honors and awards



{{external media | width = 210px | align = right | headerimage=(File:Freeman Dyson at Harvard cropped.jpg|210px)
| video1 =Freeman Dyson: Let's look for life in the outer solar system, TED Talks, February 2003
| video2 =Freeman Dyson 1 - My middle class upbringing, Web of Stories (1st of a series)
| video3 =Big Ideas: Freeman Dyson on Living Through Four Revolutions, TVO, 1 June 2011 at Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, Canada


  • INTERVIEW, Freeman Dyson: By the Book, The New York Times, Sunday Book Review, 18 April 2015, 8, INTERVIEW, Freeman Dyson: By the Book,weblink The New York Times, 16 April 2015,
  • "Birds and Frogs" â€“ Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 2009JOURNAL, Dyson, Freeman, February 2009, Birds and Frogs,weblink Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 56, 2, 212–223, 1088-9477,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-03-04, no, 2015-04-23


See also



Further reading

  • Brower, Kenneth, 1978. The Starship and the Canoe, Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • BOOK, Schweber, Silvan S., Silvan S. Schweber, QED and the Men Who Made It: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga, Princeton University Press, 1994, 978-0-691-03327-3,weblink harv,
  • Schewe, Phillip F., 2014. Maverick Genius: The Pioneering Odyssey of Freeman Dyson. St. Martin's Griffin: {{ISBN|978-1250042569}}.

External links

{{Commons category}}
  • {{official website}}

By Dyson

About Dyson

{{Authority control }}{{Wolf Prize in Physics}}{{Matteucci Medallists}}{{Templeton Prize Laureates}}{{John von Neumann Lecturers}}

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