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Hermann Bondi: The adviser


Effect of experiences at Bomber Command
Freeman Dyson Scientist
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I should say, Bomber Command gave me a lifelong commitment to making sure this sort of tragedy doesn't happen again. I mean it turned me into a - I'm no longer a pacifist but I'm a passionate fighter for sanity as far as military questions are concerned. We need a military, but we should have a military that is sane and does sensible things and talks to the outside world. So I've always maintained communication with the military all my life. I belong to this JASON Group, which is a group of physicists working for the government. We do a lot of military consulting, and it's always seemed to me one shouldn't avoid talking to generals, but on the contrary, one should take every chance to talk to generals, to let them see that there are other points of view. And so I've kept to that all my life.

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: RAF Bomber Command, JASON

Duration: 1 minute, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: June 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008