Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Physicist and writer Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, will talk about “Technology and Social Justice” in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 4:30 p.m. The talk, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Amherst College and the Forry Fund in Philosophy and Science as part of a series on “Science and Value,” will be free and open to the public. A reception in Converse Hall will follow.
Freeman Dyson was born in England and educated at Cambridge University, and has been a fellow at Cambridge, Cornell, and the University of Birmingham. He served with the Royal Air Force in the Second World War, an unusual role for a Gandhian pacifist. He continues to work for nuclear disarmament. He also worked at the General Atomic Division of general Dynamics Corporation designing a nuclear reactor, and in 1958 he was involved in the “Orion Project,” an effort to build nuclear-powered spaceships. He remains interested in the possibilities of space travel and extraterrestrial intelligence.
Dyson’s many books include Disturbing the Universe (1979), Weapons and Hope (1984), Origins of Life (1985) and Infinite in All Directions (1988). In his most recent book, The Sun, the Genome & the Internet : Tools of Scientific Revolutions (1999) Dyson argues for an ethical conscience to use technology to foster social justice.
Disturbing the Universe, a “scientific autobiography,” was nominated for the American Book Award. The New Yorker wrote of this book: “Everywhere enriched by the work of poets, it stands as the deepest and most readable account of the personal choices, influences, and interior guides of a productive scientist yet to see print.” The New York Times, in a review of Infinite in All Directions, wrote, “He is concerned about the future of mankind, both in the short term and in the very remote future. He puzzles over the meaning of life, the purpose of the universe and the nature of God. In short, he is a philosopher in the broadest sense.”
Among many honors, in 1996 Dyson received the Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize, which honors scientists for their artistic achievements. He also received the 2000 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.