Freeman Dyson

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Freeman Dyson

Freeman John Dyson (born December 15, 1923) is a renowned British physicist and mathematician. He has done work in quantum field theory, astronomy, solid-state physics, and nuclear engineering. He's won a boatload of awards, but never a Nobel. Physicist Steven Weinberg claims Dyson was "fleeced" by the Nobel commission. He led the design team for the TRIGA nuclear reactor, which is in widespread use today, and is also known for his nuclear disarmament advocacy. He is currently the president of the Space Studies Institute.

Unfortunately, he is also an occasional crank, and in another life would have succumbed to the Nobel disease.

Contents

[edit] Concepts in science and futurology

Dyson has popularized many concepts in scientific and futurist circles:

  • Dyson sphere: A theoretical structure to catch sunlight for energy that would eventually enclose an entire star.
  • Dyson tree: A theoretical genetically engineered plant capable of growing on a comet.
  • Theorized space colonies.
  • Astrochicken: A theoretical combination nanotech-biological spacecraft.
  • Dyson's transform: A technique later used to prove that every even integer is the sum of at most 6 primes.

[edit] Wackiness

Dyson considers himself a non-denominational Christian and believes in non-overlapping magisteria; some of the material he has written on metaphysics, though, is much less Christian than it is reminiscent of various theories of quantum consciousness, panentheism, panpsychism, and other sorts of New Agey science woo.

Dyson has succumbed to old age crank syndrome as well, becoming a global warming denier. However, he hasn't done any actual criticizing of climate science besides dismissing the models as flawed and saying that if it is a real problem, we can easily cook up some super-tree to suck the carbon dioxide out of the air. Dyson's support for deniers seems to be the result of wanting to stick it to the scientific man:

My 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. I think that’s what upsets me.[1]

So... yeah, thanks for that.

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Dyson on global warming, see also A response to Freeman Dyson's "Heretical Thoughts" and In it for the Gold's debunkings
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