April 15, 2002
Physicist-Author Freeman Dyson to Give a Lecture Series at Brookhaven Lab — “Unfashionable Thoughts About Science and Technology,” May 13, 14, 15
UPTON, NY — Freeman Dyson, a distinguished physicist and prize-winning author, will give a series of three lectures at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory on Monday, May 13; Tuesday, May 14; and Wednesday, May 15, at 4 p.m. each day. The free lectures, which will explore “Unfashionable Thoughts About Science and Technology,” will be held in the Laboratory’s Berkner Hall, and they are open to the public. Also, Dyson will be available for book signings after each of his three lectures. All visitors to the Laboratory age 15 and over must bring a photo ID to be admitted on site.
While Dyson’s May 13 and May 14 lectures address scientific issues, the May 15 talk, “World Economic Forum Debates the Future of Science and Technology,” is geared toward a general audience. In that talk, Dyson will describe three debates that were staged at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2001. The first debate, with Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems, examined the question: Is technology out of control? The second, with Carl Djerassi, inventor and promoter of the birth-control pill, asked: Is reproduction a fundamental human right? In the third, Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe, debated the question: When will we know it all?
Dyson’s May 14 talk, titled “Looking for Life in Unlikely Places,” is intended for an audience with some general knowledge of astronomy. Dyson will address the question of how to search effectively for life in the outer reaches of the solar system.
His May 13 talk, titled “Thought-Experiments: Exploring the Limits of Quantum Mechanics,” is a technical talk, with equations, intended primarily for physicists.
Born in Crowthorne, Berkshire, England, Dyson received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 1945. He completed fellowships at Cambridge’s Trinity College from 1946 to 1947, at Cornell University in 1947 and at the University of Birmingham from 1949 to 1951. He returned to Cornell to become a professor of physics in 1951, and, in 1953, he joined the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He eventually became a professor emeritus of physics at the Institute, where his career spanned 45 years.
A fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Dyson has received numerous awards and honors, including the 1981 Wolf Prize in Physics in 1981, and, in 1996, Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize, which honors scientists for their artistic achievements.
Dyson has written numerous articles for such publications as The New Yorker and Scientific American, and he is the author of numerous books, including Weapons and Hope (1984,) Origins of Life (1986), Infinite in All Directions (1988), From Eros to Gaia (1992), and The Sun, The Genome, and the Internet (1999).
For more information, call 631 344-2345. The Laboratory is located off of Exit 68 on the Long Island Expressway, one-and-a-half miles north on William Floyd Parkway.