Freeman Dyson has spent most of his life as a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, taking time off to advise the US government and write books for the general public. He was born in England and worked as a civilian scientist for the Royal Air Force during World War II. He came to Cornell University as a graduate student in 1947 and worked with Hans Bethe and Richard Feynman, producing a user-friendly way to calculate the behavior of atoms and radiation. He also worked on nuclear reactors, solid-state physics, ferromagnetism, astrophysics, and biology, looking for problems where elegant mathematics could be usefully applied. Dyson's books include Disturbing the Universe (1979), Weapons and Hope (1984), Infinite in All Directions (1988), Origins of Life (1986, second edition 1999), and The Sun, the Genome and the Internet (1999). He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the Royal Society of London. In 2000 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.
Helping to illuminate the culture wars, the Nobel prize-winning physicist collects papers that address not only the practice of science but also its relation to religion, literature, and society. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Dyson opens the window into his world of the most extraordinary people -- those scientists, physicists and mathematicians in particular -- who plunge into the darkest and deepest mysteries of matter and life as rebels to unlock their secrets." --Winnipeg Sun
"A collection of essays and speeches by the British physicist. Fred Bortz said the book's readers 'will be stimulated, challenged, entertained and enlightened by topics as varied as science, politics and the arms race.'" --Seattle Times "Essays from the iconoclastic physicist who has become one of science's most eloquent interpreters." -The New York Times, Editor's Choice Starred Review. "An eclectic but deeply satisfying collection, Dyson, a prize-winning physicist and prolific author (Weapons and Hope), presents 33 previously published book reviews, essays and speeches (15 from the New York Review of Books). Dyson expresses his precise thinking in prose of crystal clarity, and readers will be absolutely enthralled by his breadth, his almost uncanny ability to tie diverse topics together and his many provocative statements...Virtually every chapter deserves to be savored." -Publishers Weekly "Physicist and futurist Dyson embodies the ideal of the scientist as iconoclast. In this spirited collection, he muses on the ethics of nanotech and genetic engineering, the crucial role of amateurs in science, and the richness of 'nature's imagination.' Provocative, touching, and always surprising." -Steve Silberman, Wired Magazine "Dyson is a clear and compelling writer, gifts highlighted in this collection of 33 previously published, and frequently updated essays and reviews. Organized into sections on contemporary issues in science, war and peace, history of science and scientists, and personal and philosophical ruminations, these works demonstrate Dyson's far-ranging interests and skill in writing for educated and curious generalists, qualities that ensure this volume's wide appeal. Some readers may feel a thrill reading Dyson's comments on military strategy; others may prefer Dyson's thoughts on such physics-related people and issues as Isaac Newton, Edward Teller, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman, Norbert Wiener, and string theory. But whatever a reader's passion, Dyson's emphasis on rebels within science rather than upholders of the status quo makes the book especially satisfying."-Booklist "Readers should view The Scientist as Rebel as a science project of their own. Dyson asks his audience not for agreement but only for their active engagement with his original and provocative notions. Their questions need not be his questions, and they may dispute his conclusions. But they will be stimulated, challenged, entertained and enlightened about topics as varied as science, politics and the arms race. They will discover unique perspectives on religion, global warming, and even the paranormal...readers will have no difficulty recognizing rebellion of the most valuable kind in this enlightening collection and will eagerly engage with it." -The Philadelphia Inquirer "Dyson offers a lovely collection of essays from his writing for The New York Review of Books. Part 1 and 3 focus on scientists and rebels, while parts 2 and 4 are a reminder that science could be more rebellious and radical than it is. The 29 individual chapters are organized into four categories: contemporary issues, war and peace, history of science, and personal reflections...Recommended." --Choice "One of the world's most original minds." -Times (London)
In an eclectic but deeply satisfying collection, Dyson, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and prolific author (Weapons and Hope), presents 33 previously published book reviews, essays and speeches (15 from the New York Review of Books). Dyson expresses his precise thinking in prose of crystal clarity, and readers will be absolutely enthralled by his breadth, his almost uncanny ability to tie diverse topics together and his many provocative statements. In the title essay, Dyson writes, "Science is an alliance of free spirits in all cultures rebelling against" the tyranny of their local cultures. In a 2006 review of Daniel Dennett's book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Dyson, himself a man of faith, takes issue with Dennett's quoting of physicist Stephen Weinberg that "for good people to do bad things-that takes religion." The converse is also true, says Dyson: "for bad people to do good things-that takes religion." Three of the best chapters (reprinted from Weapons and Hope) deal with the politics of the cold war. And his writings on Einstein, Teller, Newton, Oppenheimer, Norbert Wiener and Feynman will amuse while presenting deep insights into the nature of science and humanity. Virtually every chapter deserves to be savored. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.