Freeman Dyson at the Institute for Advanced Study, in 2007.
Image 1: Freeman Dyson at the Institute for Advanced Study, in 2007. | Freeman Dyson was Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Freeman Dyson, whose full name is Freeman John Dyson, is an English-American theoretical physicist and mathematician known for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy, and nuclear engineering. He was a professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, in addition to being a member of the Board of Visitors of Ralston College and a member of the board of sponsors of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Freeman Dyson originated many concepts during his scientific career, such as –

  • Dyson’s transformation, a fundamental technique in summative number theory, which he developed as part of his proof of Mann’s theorem.
  • The Dyson tree, a fictitious genetically engineered plant capable of growing in comets,
  • The Dyson series, an unproductive series where a Feynman diagram represents each term,
  • Dyson sphere is a thought experiment that tries to explain how a more advanced space civilization would meet its energy requirements with a fictional megastructure called the Dyson sphere that would completely incorporate a star And capture a large percentage of its power output, and
  • Dyson’s eternal intelligence is a means by which an immortal society of intelligent beings in an open universe escapes the possibility of death from the Universe’s heat by expanding subjective time to infinity while expanding only a finite amount of energy.

Apart from this, Freeman Dyson is known in Science, especially for subjects like Circular ensemble, Random matrix theory, Advocacy against nuclear weapons, Project Orion, TRIGA, etc.

Freeman Dyson believed that increased carbon dioxide causes global warming through fossil fuels. Still, some of its effects are also unfavorable to climate scientists, such as increasing agricultural yield. For that reason, they did not agree with the simulation model used to predict climate change, arguing that political efforts to reduce the causes of climate change divert our attention from other global problems. According to Freeman Dyson, there is no “climate emergency,” saying he has also signed the World Climate Declaration.

Early Life of Freeman Dyson

Freeman John Dyson was born on December 15, 1923, in Crawthorn, Berkshire, England. Dyson’s mother was Mildred Lucy, and George Dyson was his father. His father, a prominent musician, was later named a knight. His mother was a law student, and after Dyson’s birth, he worked as a social worker. According to Dyson’s older sister Alice, Freeman was always surrounded by encyclopedias and calculating on paper. When Freeman was four years old, he tried to figure out the number of atoms in the Sun. As a child, he showed great interest in the solar system and was heavily influenced by Eric Temple Bell’s book Man of Mathematics. Politically, Dyson states that “he was brought up as a socialist.”

From 1936 to 1941, Dyson was a scholar at Winchester College, where his father was the music director. At 17, he studied mathematics with GH Hardy at Trinity College, Cambridge (where he won a scholarship at 15). At the age of 19, he received the Operational Research Section (ORS) of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command and was assigned the task of war. He developed analytical methods for calculating ideal densities for bombing structures to help the German Air Force bomb German targets during World War II. After the war, Dyson was again admitted to Trinity College, where he obtained a BA degree in mathematics. From 1946 to 1949, he remained his college fellow, holding the post just below the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who resigned from his professorship in 1947. In 1947 Dyson published two papers on Number Theory.

Freeman John Dyson’s friends and colleagues described him as shy and self-feared; Steven Weinberg said his friend neurologist and author Oliver Sachs said Freeman’s one about Science and creativity. The preferred term is the word ‘destroyer.’ They feel that it is essential not only to be conservative but also to be subversive.

Freeman Dyson’s family

Freeman Dyson’s first wife was the Swiss mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson, who had two children, Esther and George. In 1958, she married Imme Jung, a master runner, and had four more children, Dorothy, Mia, Rebecca, and Emily Dyson. Dyson’s eldest daughter, Esther, is a digital technology consultant and investor whom people call the most influential woman in the computer world. His son George is a historian of Science with a book called Project Orion: The Atomic Spaceship 1957–1965.

Freeman Dyson’s thoughts

Freeman Dyson’s views on Science and religion:

Freeman Dyson used to say, “Science and religion are two windows through which people are trying to understand the larger Universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. Both windows give different views, but they see the same Universe. Both scenes are one-sided, not complete. Both omit essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect Trouble arises when either Science or religion claims universal jurisdiction when either religious or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creators and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. Their ego brings both science and religion disdain. The media increases their number and importance. The media hardly mentions this fact. So do most religious people belong to liberal sects that treat Science with respect or that great scientists respect scientists for so long that religion does not claim jurisdiction over scientific questions.”

Freeman Dyson’s views on climate change:

Dyson agreed that anthropogenic global warming exists and that the main reason is the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, he added that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is also beneficial in many ways, increasing organic growth, agricultural yields, and forests. He also believed that current climate simulation models could not follow some essential factors and have many errors in estimating future trends.

Many people criticized Dyson’s views on global warming, and Dyson at times responded that “my objection to the promotion of global warming is no more than technical facts, which I don’t know much about, but it is the behavior of those people Is against the way and intolerance of criticism which many of them have.”

In 2008, Dyson supported “global warming” as a synonym for global anthropogenic climate change but also argued that political efforts to reduce the causes of climate change divert attention from other global problems, which Priority should be taken. In the 1970s, Dyson suggested that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be controlled by planting fast-growing trees, adding that it would take a trillion trees to remove all carbon from the atmosphere. In a 2014 interview, he said, “I am convinced that we do not understand the climate … it will be challenging before it is resolved.”

Freeman Dyson’s views on war and weapons

Freeman Dyson said, “I am convinced it is not enough to be afraid to avoid nuclear war. Fear is necessary, but it is equally important to understand. And the first step in understanding that the problem of nuclear war is technical, Not human and historical. To avoid destruction, we must first understand the human and historical context from which destruction occurs.”

Dyson also opposed the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the invasion of Iraq.

Freeman Dyson’s career, honors, and awards

Between 1947 and 1948, on the advice and recommendation of G. I. Taylor, Dyson moved to the United States as a Commonwealth Fellow at Cornell University with Hans Bethe to earn a doctorate in physics. There he made the acquaintance of Richard Feynman. The budding English physicist recognized and worked with the fiercest American talent. He then moved to the Institute for Advanced Study before returning to England from 1949–51, where he became a research associate at the University of Birmingham.

In 1949, Dyson demonstrated the equivalence of two aggregates of quantum electrodynamics (QED): the diagram of Richard Feynman and the operator method developed by Julian Schwinger and Shinichiro Tomonaga. Dyson was the first person after his creator to appreciate the power of Feynman diagrams, and his paper written in 1948 and published in 1949, was the first experiment. He stated in that paper that Feynman diagrams were not just a computational tool but a physical theory and developed rules for diagrams that completely solved the recombination problem.

Dyson’s paper and lectures also presented Feynman’s theories of QAid in a way that other physicists could easily understand, allowing the physics community’s approval of Feynman’s work. J. Robert Oppenheimer, in particular, was persuaded by Dyson that Feynman’s new theory was as valid as Schwinger and Tomonaga’s. Also, in 1949, in related work, Dyson invented the Dyson series. This letter inspired John Ward to obtain his famous Ward-Takahashi identity.

Dyson joined the faculty at Cornell as a professor of physics in 1951, although he still had no doctorate. In December 1952, Oppenheimer, director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, offered Dyson a lifetime appointment to the institute. Dyson remained at the institute until the end of his career. In 1957 he became an American citizen. From 1957 to 1961, Dyson worked on Project Orion, which proposed the possibility of space flight using nuclear propulsion.

A prototype using conventional explosives was demonstrated, but the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which included and supported Dyson, only allowed underground nuclear weapons testing. As a result, the project was abandoned in 1965. In 1958, Dyson was a member of the design team under Edward Taylor for a small, naturally safe nuclear reactor used worldwide in hospitals and universities to produce medical isotopes.

A seminal paper from Dyson arrived in 1966, when Andrew Lennard and Elliot H., Independently of Lieb and Walter Thirring, convincingly proved that the Pauli exclusion principle plays the leading role in the stability of the bulk case. It is, therefore, not the electromagnetic repulsion between the outer-shell orbital electrons that prevents two steep wooden blocks from accumulating in a single piece but the exclusion principle applied to electrons and protons that create the classical macroscopic force. Finally, in condensed matter physics, Dyson analyzed the phase transition of the Easing model in one dimension and spin waves.

Dyson also worked in various mathematics disciplines, such as topology, analysis, number theory, and random metrics. For example, in 1973, the number therapist Hugh Lovell came to the Montgomery Institute for Advanced Study and made his pairwise correlated inference concerning the distribution of zeros of the Reiman 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 a Gaussian unitary ensemble, which physicists have extensively studied. It suggested that there may be an unexpected relationship between the distribution of primes (2, 3, 5, 7, 11,…) and the energy levels in the nucleus of heavy elements such as uranium. Around 1979 Dyson worked with the Institute of Energy Analysis on Climate Studies. Under the direction of Alvin Weinberg, the group pioneered multi-disciplinary 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. In 1998, he joined the board of the Solar Electric Light Fund. Until 2003 he was president of the Space Studies Institute, which is Gerd’s. It was a space research organization founded by O. Neil; As of 2013, he was on his Board of Trustees. In addition, Dyson was a longtime member of the JASON group.

Dyson won several scientific awards but never received the Nobel Prize. Nobel Physics writer Steven Weinberg stated that the Nobel committee excluded “Dyson,” but Dyson commented in 2009, “I think it’s almost true without exception. If you want to win a Nobel Prize, you get Long-term attention, catch some serious and significant problems, and live with them for ten years. It was not my style. “Dyson was a regular yoga reviewer in New York books. I was a dancer and, in 2018, a memoir, Pattern Maker: An Autobiography Through Letters.

In 2012 Dyson (with William H. Press) published a seminal new result about the prisoner’s dilemma in the Proceedings of the United States National Academy of Sciences. In addition, he wrote an article for a treatise on mental phenomena, stating that “ESP is real… but cannot be tested with the clumsy tools of science”.

Dyson was a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Projects in which Dyson collaborated

Lumpers and Splitters: According to Dyson, philosophers can be rough, if simplified, divided into lumpers and splitters. These roughly correspond to Platonists, who consider the world to be made up of ideas, and materialists, who imagine that it is divided into atoms.

Freeman Dyson writes books and articles.

  • “Freeman Dyson: By the Book.” Sunday Book Review. The New York Times (Interview). April 18, 2015. p. 8.
  • “Birds and Frogs,” Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 2009
  • Symmetry Groups in Nuclear and Particle Physics, 1966 (Academic-oriented text)
  • Interstellar Transport, Physics Today 1968
  • Disturbing the Universe, 1979, ISBN 978-0-465-01677-8. Review (scroll down)
  • Weapons and Hope, 1984 (Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award). Review
  • Origins of Life, 1985. Second edition, 1999. Review
  • Infinite in All Directions, 1988, ISBN 0-14-014482-X. Review
  • From Eros to Gaia, 1992. PDF is available at arXiv:quant-ph/0608140. Original mimeograph available at Caltech web site.
  • Selected Papers of Freeman Dyson, (Selected Works up to 1990) American Mathematical Society, 1996.
  • Imagined Worlds, Harvard University Press 1997, ISBN 978-0-674-53908-2. Review
  • The Sun, the Genome and the Internet, 1999. Review
  • L’importanza di essere imprevedibile, Di Renzo Editore, 2003
  • The Scientist as Rebel, 2006. Review
  • Advanced Quantum Mechanics, World Scientific, 2007, ISBN 978-981-270-661-4. Freely available at arXiv:quant-ph/0608140. (Dyson’s 1951 Cornell lecture notes transcribed by David Derbes)
  • A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe, University of Virginia Press, 2007. Review
  • Birds and Frogs: Selected Papers, 1990–2014, World Scientific Publishing Company, 2015.
  • Dreams of Earth and Sky. New York Review Books. 2015. ISBN 9781590178546.
  • The maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters. Liveright Publishing. 2018. ISBN 9780871403865.

Awards and honors

  • In 1952 Dyson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).
  • Dyson received the Danny Heineman Award for Mathematical Physics in 1965, the Laurentz Medal in 1966, the Max Planck Medal in 1969, and J. in 1970. The Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize, the Harvey Prize in 1977, and the Wolf Prize in 1981.
  • In 1989, Dyson was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge.
  • In 1990, Dyson taught at Duke University as Fritz London Memorial Lecturer.
  • Dyson published a collection of many speculations and observations about technology, Science, and the future. In 1996, he was awarded the Lewis Thomas Prize for writing about Science.
  • In 1993, Dyson was awarded the Enrico Fermi Award.
  • In 1995, he delivered the Jerusalem-Harvard lecture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, jointly sponsored by the Hebrew University and Harvard University Press, and developed into the book Imagined Worlds.
  • In 2000, Dyson was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.
  • In 2003, Dyson was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology in Telluride, Colorado.
  • In 2011, Dyson received the Ed Portas ceremony as one of twenty distinguished Old Weekehamists, the highest honor at Winchester College.
  • In 2018, Dyson received the first Presidential Science and Humanism Award from the American University of Beirut.


Dyson died at a hospital near Princeton, New Jersey, on February 28, 2020, at the age of 96 from complications after falling.

Concepts, given by Freeman Dyson

  • Dyson’s eternal intelligence
  • Dyson’s Transformation
  • Dyson Series
  • Quantum Physics and Prime Numbers
  • The rank of a division
  • A split crank
  • Astrochicken
  • Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering
  • Origin of life
  • Dyson Area
  • Dyson tree
  • Space colonies
  • Space exploration


  • Freeman Dyson Website –
  • Freeman Dyson, Origin of Life, Second edition, Cambridge University Press, 1999
  • Freeman Dyson | School of Natural Sciences
  • Professor Freeman Dyson FRS. London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on November 16, 2015.
  • Scientists as Rebel.” Retrieved December 5, 2017. Joy E. Wild River Review Interview by Stocky.
  • “Physicist Freeman Dyson dies at 96”. February 28, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  • Stone, Andrea (February 28, 2020). “Freeman Dyson, a great theoretical physicist, dies in 96”. National Geographic. Retrieved on February 29, 2020.
  • Freeman Dyson in Ted
  • “Freeman Dyson Brain,” interviewed by Stewart Brand in Wired, 1998
  • Freeman J. Oral history interview transcript with Dyson December 17, 1986, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library and Archives
  • 2008 Video Interview with Freeman Dyson by The Atomic Interview Foundation, Voice of Manhattan Project
  • Roberts, Rus (March 7, 2011). “Dyson on Heresy, Climate Change, and Science.” EconTalk. Library of Economics and Independence.
  • “Freeman Dyson: ‘I kept quiet for thirty years; maybe it’s time to speak.” 52 insights. June 15, 2018. Retrieved on November 25, 2019.

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