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Survival in an older and colder universe


Being outside of general relativity
Freeman Dyson Scientist
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Well there again, I've always been sort of looking at general relativity from the outside rather than from the inside. I mean this seismological paper is the only the paper I've published, I think, which was directly concerned with general relativity.

[Q] Except for some lectures at...

At Yeshiva I gave a whole year's course of lectures on general relativity, which I enjoyed very much. I mean, of course the best way to learn a subject is to teach it.

[Q] And the American Mathematical Society once published some of your lectures.

I didn't remember that. Maybe that's true. In any case, I took a year off, a year's sabbatical from Princeton, and I worked at Yeshiva and gave a one... a whole year course on general relativity which I enjoyed very much and at least one person learned the subject and that was me. It's a great subject, but I've never actually done research in it.

Freeman Dyson (1923-2020), who was born in England, moved to Cornell University after graduating from Cambridge University with a BA in Mathematics. He subsequently became a professor and worked on nuclear reactors, solid state physics, ferromagnetism, astrophysics and biology. He published several books and, among other honours, was awarded the Heineman Prize and the Royal Society's Hughes Medal.

Listeners: Sam Schweber

Silvan Sam Schweber is the Koret Professor of the History of Ideas and Professor of Physics at Brandeis University, and a Faculty Associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. He is the author of a history of the development of quantum electro mechanics, "QED and the men who made it", and has recently completed a biography of Hans Bethe and the history of nuclear weapons development, "In the Shadow of the Bomb: Oppenheimer, Bethe, and the Moral Responsibility of the Scientist" (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Tags: The Astrophysical Journal, American Mathematical Society

Duration: 1 minute, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008