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Science and religion


Shift in priorities from career to global problems
Freeman Dyson Scientist
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I've become much more involved, of course, in... in trying to do something about the state of the world and I'm no longer concerned about my career. My career is done and I shall continue as I... as I have been for the last 10 or 20 years and as long as I'm capable I'll continue writing and lecturing. But there's no urgency about producing some great work which there used to be when I was young. But also I just feel much more feeling of responsibility since I've become a public figure and people pay attention to what I say, it's an opportunity to say something that might be helpful, that's why I suppose I'm paying much more attention to problems of war and peace and problems of climate, problems of the environment, of biotechnology and so forth, all of which I'm not expert in but I have some strong opinions, so I might as well speak my mind.

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).

Duration: 1 minute, 1 second

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008