Year of Birth
GB / US
Field of Knowledge
Freeman John Dyson (15 December 1923 – 28 February 2020) was a British-American theoretical and mathematical physicist, mathematician, and statistician known for his works in quantum field theory, astrophysics, random matrices, mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and engineering. He was Professor Emeritus in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a member of the Board of Visitors of Ralston College, and a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.Dyson originated several concepts that bear his name, such as Dyson’s transform, a fundamental technique in additive number theory, which he developed as part of his proof of Mann’s theorem; 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 disagreed with the establishment scientific position that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a material driver of planetary temperature increases. He believed that some of the effects of increased CO2 levels are favourable and not taken into account by climate scientists, such as increased agricultural yield, and further that the positive benefits of CO2 likely outweigh the negative effects. He was skeptical 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. He also signed the World Climate Declaration entitled “There is No Climate Emergency”.