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Freeman Dyson

Data de nascimento: 15. Dezembro 1923
Outros nomes: Freeman John Dyson

Freeman John Dyson é um físico e matemático inglês.Trabalhou para o British Bomber Command durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial. Após seu fim, mudou-se para Princeton e nacionalizou-se estadounidense.

Nos anos posteriores à guerra, Dyson demonstrou a equivalência das formulações da eletrodinâmica quântica de Richard Feynman com as desenvolvidas por Julian Schwinger e Shin'ichiro Tomonaga. Entre 1957-1961, trabalhou no Projeto Orion que pretendia realizar o voo espacial utilizando a propulsão nuclear. Um protótipo chegou a ser construído, mas a Declaração para o Uso Pacífico do Espaço da ONU proibiu qualquer tipo de explosão nuclear na atmosfera e no espaço, o que provocou o abandono do projeto.

Dyson teorizou sobre a possibilidade de que uma sociedade avançada pudesse circundar completamente uma estrela para maximizar a captura da energia emitida, mediante nuvens de asteróides, o que foi denominado esfera de Dyson.

Também propôs a árvore de Dyson, uma planta desenhada geneticamente para crescer num cometa. O objetivo imaginado era que a árvore transformaria o cometa numa estrutura oca com uma atmosfera respirável no seu interior, utilizando-se da luz do sol distante e material do cometa para crescer e produzir o oxigênio necessário, e assim poderiam ser criados habitats para a humanidade no sistema solar exterior.

Dyson publicou suas especulações e observações sobre a tecnologia e o futuro: Mundos imaginados, De Eros a Gaia, Perturbando o Universo.

Notabilizou-se também em seus estudos sobre a origem da vida, ao propor origens independentes para o metabolismo e para a reprodução.

Desde 2003 Dyson é presidente do Space Studies Institute, organização fundada por Gerard Kitchen O'Neill.

Casado com Verena Huber-Dyson, é pai de Esther Dyson e do historiador da tecnologia George Dyson.

Foi laureado com a Medalha Max Planck em 1969 e em 2000 com o Prêmio Templeton. Ele também foi um dos que assinaram uma petição para o presidente Barack Obama em 2015 para que o Governo Federal dos Estados Unidos fizesse um pacto de desarmamento nuclear e de não-agressão.

Citações Freeman Dyson

„To talk about the end of science is just as foolish as to talk about the end of religion. Science and religion are both still close to their beginnings, with no ends in sight.“

—  Freeman Dyson

Progress In Religion (2000)
Contexto: To talk about the end of science is just as foolish as to talk about the end of religion. Science and religion are both still close to their beginnings, with no ends in sight. Science and religion are both destined to grow and change in the millennia that lie ahead of us, perhaps solving some old mysteries, certainly discovering new mysteries of which we yet have no inkling.

„In the time of Jesus and for many centuries afterwards, there was a free market in human bodies. The institution of slavery was based on the legal right of slave-owners to buy and sell their property in a free market. Only in the nineteenth century did the abolitionist movement, with Quakers and other religious believers in the lead, succeed in establishing the principle that the free market does not extend to human bodies.“

—  Freeman Dyson

Progress In Religion (2000)
Contexto: In the time of Jesus and for many centuries afterwards, there was a free market in human bodies. The institution of slavery was based on the legal right of slave-owners to buy and sell their property in a free market. Only in the nineteenth century did the abolitionist movement, with Quakers and other religious believers in the lead, succeed in establishing the principle that the free market does not extend to human bodies. The human body is God's temple and not a commercial commodity. And now in the twenty-first century, for the sake of equity and human brotherhood, we must maintain the principle that the free market does not extend to human genes. Let us hope that we can reach a consensus on this question without fighting another civil war.

„The dominance of grey technology is now coming to an end.“

—  Freeman Dyson

Progress In Religion (2000)
Contexto: All through our history, we have been changing the world with our technology. Our technology has been of two kinds, green and grey. Green technology is seeds and plants, gardens and vineyards and orchards, domesticated horses and cows and pigs, milk and cheese, leather and wool. Grey technology is bronze and steel, spears and guns, coal and oil and electricity, automobiles and airplanes and rockets, telephones and computers. Civilization began with green technology, with agriculture and animal-breeding, ten thousand years ago. Then, beginning about three thousand years ago, grey technology became dominant, with mining and metallurgy and machinery. For the last five hundred years, grey technology has been racing ahead and has given birth to the modern world of cities and factories and supermarkets.
The dominance of grey technology is now coming to an end.

„I have to clear away a few popular misconceptions about space as a habitat … It is generally considered that planets are important. Except for Earth, they are not.“

—  Freeman Dyson

Part IV: Personal and Philosophical Essays, Ch. 24 : "The World, the Flesh, and the Devil" (1972)
The Scientist As Rebel (2006)
Contexto: I have to clear away a few popular misconceptions about space as a habitat … It is generally considered that planets are important. Except for Earth, they are not. Mars is waterless, and the others are, for various reasons, basically inhospitable to man. It is generally considered that beyond the sun’s family of planets there is absolute emptiness extending for light-years until you come to another star. In fact, it is likely that the space around the solar system is populated by huge numbers of comets, small worlds a few miles in diameter, rich in water and the other chemicals essential to life.

„I am saying to modern scientists and theologians: don't imagine that our latest ideas about the Big Bang or the human genome have solved the mysteries of the universe or the mysteries of life. Here are Bacon's words again: "The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding".“

—  Freeman Dyson

Progress In Religion (2000)
Contexto: I am saying to modern scientists and theologians: don't imagine that our latest ideas about the Big Bang or the human genome have solved the mysteries of the universe or the mysteries of life. Here are Bacon's words again: "The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding". In the last four hundred years, science has fulfilled many of Bacon's dreams, but it still does not come close to capturing the full subtlety of nature.

„I don't say that this personal theology is supported or proved by scientific evidence. I only say that it is consistent with scientific evidence.“

—  Freeman Dyson

Progress In Religion (2000)
Contexto: My personal theology is described in the Gifford lectures that I gave at Aberdeen in Scotland in 1985, published under the title, Infinite In All Directions. Here is a brief summary of my thinking. The universe shows evidence of the operations of mind on three levels. The first level is elementary physical processes, as we see them when we study atoms in the laboratory. The second level is our direct human experience of our own consciousness. The third level is the universe as a whole. Atoms in the laboratory are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The universe as a whole is also weird, with laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension. God may be either a world-soul or a collection of world-souls. So I am thinking that atoms and humans and God may have minds that differ in degree but not in kind. We stand, in a manner of speaking, midway between the unpredictability of atoms and the unpredictability of God. Atoms are small pieces of our mental apparatus, and we are small pieces of God's mental apparatus. Our minds may receive inputs equally from atoms and from God. This view of our place in the cosmos may not be true, but it is compatible with the active nature of atoms as revealed in the experiments of modern physics. I don't say that this personal theology is supported or proved by scientific evidence. I only say that it is consistent with scientific evidence.

„It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles — this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.“

—  Freeman Dyson

As quoted in The Day After Trinity: J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb (1981), a documentary film directed by Jon Else, written by David Peoples, Janet Peoples, and Jon Else.
Contexto: I have felt it myself. The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it's there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles — this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.

„The biggest breakthrough in the next 50 years will be the discovery of extraterrestrial life.“

—  Freeman Dyson

"Freeman Dyson forecasts the future" at NewScientist.com (15 November 2006) http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/science-forecasts/dn10481-freeman-dyson-forecasts-the-future.html
Contexto: The biggest breakthrough in the next 50 years will be the discovery of extraterrestrial life. We have been searching for it for 50 years and found nothing. That proves life is rarer than we hoped, but does not prove that the universe is lifeless. We are only now developing the tools to make our searches efficient and far-reaching, as optical and radio detection and data processing move forward.

„There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Science is a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions.“

—  Freeman Dyson, livro The Scientist as Rebel

Part I : Contemporary Issues in Science, Ch. 1 : "The Scientist as Rebel"; this first appeared in New York Review of Books (25 May 1995).
The Scientist As Rebel (2006)
Contexto: There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Science is a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions. But there is one common element in these visions. The common element is rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture, Western or Eastern as the case may be. It is no more Western than it is Arab or Indian or Japanese or Chinese. Arabs and Indians and Japanese and Chinese had a big share in the development of modern science. And two thousand years earlier, the beginnings of science were as much Babylonian and Egyptian as Greek. One of the central facts about science is that it pays no attention to East and West and North and South and black and yellow and white. It belongs to everybody who is willing to make the effort to learn it. And what is true of science is true of poetry.... Poetry and science are gifts given to all of humanity.

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„There’s very good news from the asteroids. It appears that a large fraction of them, including the big ones, are actually very rich in H2O.“

—  Freeman Dyson

As quoted in "The Danger of Cosmic Genius" https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/12/the-danger-of-cosmic-genius/308306/ by Kenneth Brower, The Atlantic (December 2010)
Contexto: There’s very good news from the asteroids. It appears that a large fraction of them, including the big ones, are actually very rich in H2O. Nobody imagined that. They thought they were just big rocks … It’s easier to get to an asteroid than to Mars, because the gravity is lower and landing is easier. Certainly the asteroids are much more practical, right now. If we start space colonies in, say, the next 20 years, I would put my money on the asteroids.

„I have five minutes left to give you a message to take home. The message is simple. "God forbid that we should give out a dream of our own imagination for a pattern of the world".“

—  Freeman Dyson

Progress In Religion (2000)
Contexto: I have five minutes left to give you a message to take home. The message is simple. "God forbid that we should give out a dream of our own imagination for a pattern of the world". This was said by Francis Bacon, one of the founding fathers of modern science, almost four hundred years ago. Bacon was the smartest man of his time, with the possible exception of William Shakespeare.

„A good cause can become bad if we fight for it with means that are indiscriminately murderous. A bad cause can become good if enough people fight for it in a spirit of comradeship and self-sacrifice. In the end it is how you fight, as much as why you fight, that makes your cause good or bad.“

—  Freeman Dyson

Disturbing the Universe (1979)
Contexto: A good cause can become bad if we fight for it with means that are indiscriminately murderous. A bad cause can become good if enough people fight for it in a spirit of comradeship and self-sacrifice. In the end it is how you fight, as much as why you fight, that makes your cause good or bad. <!-- Pt. 1, Ch. 4

„It's a real problem, but it's nothing like as serious as people are led to believe.“

—  Freeman Dyson

Interview in Salon (29 September 2007) http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/09/29/freeman_dyson/
Contexto: I believe global warming is grossly exaggerated as a problem. It's a real problem, but it's nothing like as serious as people are led to believe. The idea that global warming is the most important problem facing the world is total nonsense and is doing a lot of harm. It distracts people's attention from much more serious problems.

„Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious dogma or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute.“

—  Freeman Dyson

Progress In Religion (2000)
Contexto: Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious dogma or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute. The media exaggerate their numbers and importance. The media rarely mention the fact that the great majority of religious people belong to moderate denominations that treat science with respect, or the fact that the great majority of scientists treat religion with respect so long as religion does not claim jurisdiction over scientific questions.

„If we start space colonies in, say, the next 20 years, I would put my money on the asteroids.“

—  Freeman Dyson

As quoted in "The Danger of Cosmic Genius" https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/12/the-danger-of-cosmic-genius/308306/ by Kenneth Brower, The Atlantic (December 2010)
Contexto: There’s very good news from the asteroids. It appears that a large fraction of them, including the big ones, are actually very rich in H2O. Nobody imagined that. They thought they were just big rocks … It’s easier to get to an asteroid than to Mars, because the gravity is lower and landing is easier. Certainly the asteroids are much more practical, right now. If we start space colonies in, say, the next 20 years, I would put my money on the asteroids.

„Progress in religion means that, as time goes on, religion more and more takes the side of the victims against the oppressors.“

—  Freeman Dyson

Progress In Religion (2000)
Contexto: One of the great but less famous heroes of World War Two was Andre Trocme, the Protestant pastor of the village of Le Chambon sur Lignon in France, which sheltered and saved the lives of five thousand Jews under the noses of the Gestapo. Forty years later Pierre Sauvage, one of the Jews who was saved, recorded the story of the village in a magnificent documentary film with the title, "Weapons of the Spirit". The villagers proved that civil disobedience and passive resistance could be effective weapons, even against Hitler. Their religion gave them the courage and the discipline to stand firm. Progress in religion means that, as time goes on, religion more and more takes the side of the victims against the oppressors.

„It is too early yet to come to conclusions.“

—  Freeman Dyson, livro Infinite in All Directions

Fonte: Infinite in All Directions (1988), Ch. 2 : Butterflies and Superstrings, p. 18
Contexto: What philosophical conclusions should we draw from the abstract style of the superstring theory? We might conclude, as Sir James Jeans concluded long ago, that the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a Pure Mathematician, and that if we work hard enough at mathematics we shall be able to read his mind. Or we might conclude that our pursuit of abstractions is leading us far away from those parts of the creation which are most interesting from a human point of view. It is too early yet to come to conclusions.

„Science is not a monolithic body of doctrine. Science is a culture, constantly growing and changing.“

—  Freeman Dyson, livro Infinite in All Directions

Fonte: Infinite in All Directions (1988), Ch. 1 : In Praise of Diversity
Contexto: Science is not a monolithic body of doctrine. Science is a culture, constantly growing and changing. The science of today has broken out of the molds of classical nineteenth-century science, just as the paintings of Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock broke out of the molds of nineteenth century art. Science has as many competing styles as painting or poetry. The diversity of science also finds a parallel in the diversity of religion.

„I have felt it myself. The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it's there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding.“

—  Freeman Dyson

As quoted in The Day After Trinity: J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb (1981), a documentary film directed by Jon Else, written by David Peoples, Janet Peoples, and Jon Else.
Contexto: I have felt it myself. The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it's there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles — this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.

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