Acclaimed scientist Freeman Dyson has died aged 96. A man who felt real science needed to be subversive and anti-authority, hence a rather contrarian approach to climate change in later life, he displayed natural brilliance in physics from an early age and worked under the brilliant Richard Feynman. Under Edward Teller he helped come up with safe nuclear reactors for the production of medical isotopes in fighting cancer. His work in astronomy brought us theories such as The Dyson Sphere, about how energy would be created in space, a mindbogglingly theoretical proposal rather unconvincingly brought to life in an episode of Star Trek. He brought physical understanding to space, and philosophical understanding to physics. Eternal Intelligence suggests the pairing of the two can allow people to survive the heat death of the universe. In doing so, he inspired countless thousands of scientists, philosophers and writers in his stead. Despite being one of the most influential scientists of the 20th Century, he never came close to the Nobel Prize. With charitable self-modest, he claimed this was because Nobel Prize winning scientists spent 20 years on one problem, whereas he preferred to solve as many problems as possible! Dyson served in the RAF during World War Two, and picked up the Templeton Prize in 2000, quite possibly specifically because Richard Dawkins implored him not to do so.
Dyson died after a fall, a disappointingly mundane way out for a independent minded contrarian par excellence.
He was picked by 4 teams in this years DDP, including former leaders Roasting Bodies in Redcar, and the returning Grobler. Also newcomers Yvonne’s Gone Too.
15 December 1923 – 28 February 2020