Loneliness in Time: Physicist Freeman Dyson on Immigration

In her reflection on immigration and the importance of the past, Brain Pickings' Maria Popova recalls a letter written by Professor Emeritus Freeman Dyson, dated January 2, 1948, a piece of which she excerpts from his epistolary memoir Maker of Patterns (Liveright, 2018):

“Several of my friends are second-generation Americans, whose parents came over from Germany or Poland or Lithuania or some such place, and I am always curious to ask them questions about their parents’ histories in Europe and their reasons for emigrating and their emotional backgrounds. Always I have been amazed to find that the young people know practically nothing, and apparently care little, about such matters. It is very strange when one thinks how much we have absorbed about the history and society to which our family belonged.”

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