English born Nobel Prize winning physicist. Long time researcher at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies. Father of Esther Dyson and author George Dyson, among others. Author of Disturbing the Universe, Weapons and Hope, Infinite in All Directions, and other books.

Not in charge of, but active participant in, the mass bombardment on German cities in WW II.
Only a few cities and towns escaped.
Dyson admits he didn't know, and still doesn't know,
whether or not these mass bombardments helped to end the war. At the time, his main concern was the safety of the pilots.
Thanks to the Marshall plan, American money was used to rebuild Western Germany from the ruins.

I had dinner tonight with Freeman Dyson, and I was quite impressed with a number of things about him.

First, Dyson is a kook magnet. He gave a talk this afternoon at Haverford and was questioned by: a man who wanted to explain his non-mathematical disproof of Gödel's incompleteness theorem, and who wanted a critique of three limericks he'd written about Schrödinger's Cat; a person who wanted to know about the connection between language and God; a person who believed in hidden variables. But Freeman Dyson listened to what these people had to say, and thoughtfully replied. A lesser person (like me) could very easily have been frustrated with and brushed these people off, and I found it very admirable that he did not.

Foremost, Dyson strikes me as being thoughtful (and knowledgable) about a wide range of topics. He has interesting things to say about math, physics, war, nuclear arms, children, biology, politics, religion, science fiction and so on -- or he has a book to recommend or an insightful question to ask if he isn't familiar with the topic at hand.

Finally, Freeman Dyson seems almost permanently amused. Whether he is speaking or simply sitting and watching other people, he is always smiling.

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