George Dyson is best described as a technological historian. Something of a Renaissance man, his father, Freeman Dyson, inventor of the Dyson sphere, was a physicist and his grandfather, Sir George Dyson, a classical composer. The genetic combination of these two is obvious in the career of George Dyson.

Born in Ithaca, NY in 1953, Dyson moved to the Pacific Northwest to live in a self constructed tree house at the age of 16. He began studying Aleutian kayak design, eventually reconstructing a baidarka, which resulted in his first novel, Baidarka, published in 1986. In it, Dyson detailed his reconstruction of the Aleutian kayak by hand from modern materials as well as the history behind the canoe design.

Later years saw Dyson turning his attentions to computers. Darwin Among the Machines, published in 1997, takes a biological look at the technological world. In it, Dyson theorizes that nature's laws are inviolable and eventually the natural order will exert itself on the development of technology. In other words, computers will eventually evolve like everything else. He views the World Wide Web as a sentient being, and the most obvious example of his theory.

Besides the novel, Dyson also has done extensive research into early computing, specifically the efforts of John von Neumann's and Nils Aal Baricelli's research at the Institute for Advanced Study, where Dyson is currently the Director's Visitor. He presented on this subject at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) 2003.

Project Orion, the most recent of Dyson's works, details the development of hydrogen bomb powered spacecraft in the middle 20th century. The work is of special interest to Dyson, as his father, Freeman Dyson, played a large part in the program. I haven't read it, but everything I've heard has been good. It's published online at (direct link below).

Project Orion:, then first result.

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