Picture of author.

Freeman Dyson (1923–2020)

Autor(a) de Disturbing the Universe

42+ Works 2,894 Membros 36 Reviews 9 Favorited

About the Author

Freeman Dyson, editor, professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, has contributed to the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, and biology. He is the author of numerous books, including Weapons and Hope, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1984.
Image credit: Freeman Dyson Photo from Long Now Seminar, San Francisco, October 05, 2005

Obras de Freeman Dyson

Disturbing the Universe (1979) 580 cópias, 8 resenhas
Infinite in All Directions (1988) 565 cópias, 7 resenhas
The Scientist as Rebel (New York Review Books) (2008) 311 cópias, 6 resenhas
Imagined Worlds (1997) 211 cópias, 4 resenhas
Origins of Life (1985) 186 cópias, 1 resenha
Weapons and Hope (1984) 180 cópias, 1 resenha
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010 (2010) — Editor — 177 cópias, 2 resenhas
From Eros to Gaia (1992) 167 cópias
Dreams of Earth and Sky (2015) 54 cópias, 1 resenha
Advanced Quantum Mechanics (2007) 29 cópias
Mundos del futuro (1998) 6 cópias
Początki życia 3 cópias
Światy wyobraźni 1 exemplar(es)
Zeit ohne Ende (1989) 1 exemplar(es)
The Love of Gaia (1990) 1 exemplar(es)
Freeman Dyson 1 exemplar(es)
Turbare l'universo 1 exemplar(es)

Associated Works

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999) — Prefácio, algumas edições2,690 cópias, 31 resenhas
The Cosmic Connection (1973) — Contribuinte, algumas edições1,023 cópias, 9 resenhas
The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing (2008) — Contribuinte — 807 cópias, 6 resenhas
What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable (1914) — Contribuinte — 632 cópias, 8 resenhas
The Listeners (1972) — Posfácio, algumas edições344 cópias, 10 resenhas
No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman (1994) — Contribuinte — 334 cópias, 2 resenhas
A Glorious Accident: Understanding Our Place in the Cosmic Puzzle (1993) — Contribuinte — 222 cópias, 6 resenhas
I Wish I'd Been There, Book Two: European History (2008) — Contribuinte — 155 cópias, 4 resenhas
The Best American Science Writing 2001 (2001) — Contribuinte — 133 cópias
The Quotable Einstein (1996) — Prefácio — 122 cópias
The New Quotable Einstein (2005) — Prefácio, algumas edições90 cópias, 1 resenha
Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI) (1973) — Contribuinte — 51 cópias, 1 resenha
Readable Relativity (1926) — Prefácio, algumas edições46 cópias
Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon (2013) — Contribuinte — 35 cópias, 2 resenhas


anthology (84) astronomy (175) autobiography (85) biography (201) biology (64) collection (30) cosmology (83) ebook (24) essay (28) essays (290) evolution (52) Feynman (68) fiction (35) general science (34) history (96) history of science (52) humor (36) ideas (26) lectures (31) math (42) memoir (82) nature (28) non-fiction (586) own (24) paperback (24) philosophy (195) philosophy of science (46) physics (535) popular science (131) quotations (29) read (71) religion (27) science (1,423) science fiction (101) sf (28) space (59) technology (38) to-read (446) unread (64) wishlist (24)

Conhecimento Comum



What a weird mind, but definitely worth reading. At times totally obtuse, at others genious and visionary.
yates9 | outras 5 resenhas | Feb 28, 2024 |
Interesting perspectives from a scientist known for contrarian views. There are many problems with the text from the general lose format, to the out of date information, to impressive failures in predicting problems we deal with in the futures he describes.

Still you can learn interesting ideas from books like this about how different our world is, and strategies that make sense vs ones that don’t.

The general premise that there is infinite science in all directions and diversity of kinds of science remains interesting and valid today.… (mais)
yates9 | outras 6 resenhas | Feb 28, 2024 |
In 2012, for the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, New Scientist held a contest for its readers to vote for a curated list of what it called the 25 Most Influential Popular Science books. I resolved to eventually read all of them and after a couple year hiatus, this makes number 16 for me.

I didn’t realize this was a memoir. I was somewhat familiar with Dyson, the sphere being one (but he only popularized it, it turns out, “Some science fiction writers have wrongly given me the credit for inventing the idea of an artificial biosphere. In fact, I took the idea from Olaf Stapledon, one of their own colleagues”). And that he was on the wrong side of climate change. He was involved with quite a bit and I found his story enlightening. Like the source of the title:

“And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair...
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?

t. s. eliot, The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1917”

Dyson includes several poem fragments. I’ve not yet been able to get enough understanding of poetry to pull anything from it, so, props to him. “For insight into human affairs I turn to stories and poems rather than to sociology. This is the result of my upbringing and background. I am not able to make use of the wisdom of the sociologists because I do not speak their language. ” Great fiction asks great questions… Tom Peters. I have more work to do.

I’m not sure why it was on that original list of 25, but it is still a good read. Now to decide which will be next.

Curated notes:

“She [Edith Nesbit] wrote The Magic City in 1910, when she was fifty-two. By that time her personal struggles were over and she could view the world with a certain philosophic calm.”
I like that.

“It makes no sense to me to separate science from technology, technology from ethics, or ethics from religion. I am talking here to unscientific people who ultimately have the responsibility for guiding the growth of science and technology into creative rather than destructive directions. If you, unscientific people, are to succeed in this task, you must understand the nature of the beast you are trying to control.”

[on Isaac Newton] “If he were not gifted with extraordinary strength of character, he could not do what he does in science.”
Newton? The man who excoriated anyone who disagreed with him?Yeah… strength of character… right.

“E. T. Bell’s book Men of Mathematics, a collection of biographies of the great mathematicians. This is a splendid book for a young boy to read (unfortunately, there is not much in it to inspire a girl, with Sonya Kowalewska allotted only half a chapter),”
One for The List that grows beyond the time I have to read.

“Technology has made evil anonymous. Through science and technology, evil is organized bureaucratically so that no individual is responsible for what happens.”
And it has only gotten more so.

“After a few months I was able to identify the quality that I found strange and attractive in the American students, They lacked the tragic sense of life which was deeply ingrained in every European of my generation. They had never lived with tragedy and had no feeling for it. Having no sense of tragedy, they also had no sense of guilt. They seemed very young and innocent although most of them were older than I was. They had come through the war without scars. ”
Pre 9/11 of course, but even with that, not much has changed.

[on Feynman] “Dick was also a profoundly original scientist. He refused to take anybody’s word for anything. This meant that he was forced to rediscover or reinvent for himself almost the whole of physics. It took him five years of concentrated work to reinvent quantum mechanics. He said that he couldn’t understand the official version of quantum mechanics that was taught in textbooks, and so he had to begin afresh from the beginning. ”

[on Edward Teller] “A careful reading of his testimony at the trial shows that he intended no personal betrayal. He wanted only to destroy Oppenheimer’s political power, not to damage Oppenheimer personally. But the mood of that time made such fine distinctions meaningless. ”

“Already in 1958 we could see that Von Braun’s moon ships, the ships that were to be used for the Apollo voyages to the moon ten years later, would cost too much and do too little. In many ways the Apollo ships were like the V-2 rockets. Both were brainchildren of Wernher von Braun. Both were magnificent technological achievements. Both were far too expensive for the limited job they were designed to do. ”
This still has not changed.

[on the Cuban Missile Crisis] “For example, in I960 we enjoyed a superiority in offensive missiles while the Soviet Union concealed its weakness by maintaining a missile bluff. We then demolished the Soviet missile bluff as conspicuously as possible with public statements of the results of U-2 photography, and so forced the Soviet Union to replace its fictitious missile force by a real one. It would have been much wiser for us to have left the Soviet bluff intact.”

[on a paper by John Phillips] “The media, as soon as they got hold of John’s story, exploited it with little regard for truth and with absolutely no regard for public safety. ”
Nothing new to see here. Move along.

“Most of the biological inventions which Aldous Huxley used a few years later as background for his novel Brave New World were cribbed from Haldane’s Daedalus. Haldane’s vision of a future society, with universal contraception, test-tube babies, and free use of psychotropic drugs, became a part of the popular culture of our century through Huxley’s brilliant dramatization. ”

“It is easy to imagine a highly intelligent society with no particular interest in technology. It is easy to see around us examples of technology without intelligence. When we look into the universe for signs of artificial activities, it is technology and not intelligence that we must search for. ”
SETT doesn’t ring as nicely as SETI

“The difference between green and gray is better explained by examples than by definitions. Factories are gray, gardens are green. Physics is gray, biology is green. Plutonium is gray, horse manure is green. Bureaucracy is gray, pioneer communities are green. Self-reproducing machines are gray, trees and children are green. Human technology is gray, God’s technology is green. Clones are gray, clades are green. Army field manuals are gray, poems are green.”

“In other words, to provide a permanently renewable energy supply for the whole world would only require us to duplicate on a worldwide scale the environmental and financial sacrifices that the United States has made for the automobile. The people of the United States considered the costs of the automobile to be acceptable. I do not venture to guess whether they would consider the same costs worth paying again for a clean and inexhaustible supply of energy. ”

“In space as on earth, technology must be cheap if it is to be more than a plaything of the rich.”
Predicting the future of today?

“These notes are not intended to be complete. I put them here to avoid peppering the text with footnotes.”
I don’t find footnotes bothersome. Quite the opposite, actually.
… (mais)
Razinha | outras 7 resenhas | Feb 7, 2024 |
A good book written by a great thinker.
mykl-s | outras 7 resenhas | Aug 9, 2023 |


You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by

Tabelas & Gráficos