Field of Expertise

Freeman Dyson is a Professor Emeritus in mathematical physics and astrophysics at the Institute for Advanced Study. His work on quantum electrodynamics marked an epoch in physics. The techniques he used in this domain form the foundation for most modern theoretical work in elementary particle physics and the quantum many-body problem. He has made highly original and important contributions to an astonishing range of topics, from number theory to adaptive optics. He is also celebrated as an author conveying science to the general public.

Educational Background

Dyson was born in England and worked as a civilian scientist for the Royal Air Force in World War II. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1945 with a BA degree in mathematics. He went on to Cornell University as a graduate student in 1947 and worked with Hans Bethe and Richard Feynmann. His most useful contribution to science was the unification of the three versions of quantum electrodynamics invented by Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga. Cornell University made him a professor without bothering about his lack of Ph.D. Dyson remained at Cornell from 1951 to 1953, when he joined the Institute for Advanced Study. He has been a Professor Emeritus at the Institute since 1994.


He has written a number of books about science for the general public. DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE (1974) is a portrait-gallery of people he has known during his career as a scientist. WEAPONS OF HOPE (1984) is a study of the ethical problems of war and peace. INFINITE IN ALL DIRECTIONS (1988) is a philosophical meditation based on Dyson's Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology given at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. ORIGINS OF LIFE (1986, second edition 1999) is a study of one of the major unsolved problems of science. THE SUN, THE GENOME AND THE INTERNET (1999) discusses the question of whether modern technology could be used to narrow the gap between rich and poor rather than widen it. Dyson is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the NASA Advisory Council, and a fellow of the Royal Society of London. In 2000 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for progress in Religion. Other awards include the Dannie Heineman Prize, 1965; Max Planck Medal of the German Physical Society, 1969; Harvey Prize, 1977; Wolf Prize in Physics, 1981; Oersted Medal, American Association of Physics Teachers, 1991; Enrico Fermi Award, 1995.


University of Colorado at Boulder - Freeman Dyson Bio

Atlantis Enterprises' - Freeman Dyson Page

Salon - People: Freeman Dyson - Frog Prince of Physics

Wired Magazine - Freeman Dyson's Brain


Freeman J. Dyson. ORIGINS OF LIFE. Cambridge University Press

Freeman J. Dyson. IMAGINED WORLDS Harvard University Press


Freeman J. Dyson. FROM EROS TO GAIA Panteon Books

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