Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus in the School of Natural Sciences, first came to the Institute as a Member in 1948 and was appointed a Professor in 1953. He has made highly original and important contributions to an astonishing range of topics, from number theory to adaptive optics. His work on quantum electrodynamics marked an epoch in physics, and the techniques he used form the foundation for most modern theoretical work in elementary particle physics and the quantum many-body problem.

Professor Emeritus Freeman Dyson reads from his book Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography through Letters, a collection of personal letters to relatives, written between 1940 and the late 1970s, followed by a conversation with Director and Leon Levy Professor Robbert Dijkgraaf

When Fang Lizhi, one of China’s most distinguished scientists, began in 1986 to talk to his students about the “universal rights” of human beings, he knew the risks. In those days, the use of the term “rights” in China was highly sensitive,...

This book was written when I spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study. It is hard to imagine an environment that is more stimulating or more congenial to writing. Many colleagues at the Institute helped shape my thinking, but six...

The Institute sometimes spends money on risky ventures, giving sustained support to people who work on unfashionable and dubious projects. One example of a risky venture was Einstein, who worked here for twenty years on unified field theories...

Christmas Day, 1942, was the three hundredth birthday of Isaac Newton. I was then an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge. Since Newton was our most famous fellow, the college organized a meeting to celebrate his birthday. Since it was war...

The Macdonald Equation is the most beautiful thing that I ever discovered. It belongs to the theory of numbers, the most useless and ancient branch of mathematics. My friend Ian Macdonald had the joy of discovering it first, and I had the almost...

In 2013, Freeman Dyson celebrated his ninetieth birthday and also marked his sixtieth year as a Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. Dreams of Earth and Sky, conceived by Dyson’s colleagues in the ...

In 2013, Freeman Dyson celebrated his ninetieth birthday and also marked his sixtieth year as a Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, the longest tenure of any Faculty member in the Institute’s history. When Dyson first arrived as a...

In 1930, the British satirical magazine Punch published a cartoon of a boy, lying on his side on the lawn, reading a book on relativity. When asked where his sister is, he replies, “Somewhere in the absolute elsewhere.”

That boy...

From the data, you have this remnant of a real object that you want to resurrect. Before you can start to do that, the first thing you need to know is, is it really coming from such and such an object? Are there some good tests or signatures for that?

John Brockman, founder and proprietor of the Edge website, asks a question every New Year and invites the public to answer it. THE EDGE QUESTION 2012 was, “What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?” He...

The Evolution of Cooperation is the title of a book by Robert Axelrod. It was published by Basic Books in 1984, and became an instant classic. It set the style in which modern scientists think about biological evolution, reducing the...