Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about science, his career, and the future. Dyson argues for the importance of what he calls heresy—challenging the scientific dogmas of the day. Dyson argues that our knowledge of climate science is incomplete and that too many scientists treat it as if it were totally understood. He reflects on his childhood and earlier work, particularly in the area of space travel. And he says that biology is the science today with the most exciting developments.
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Prof Freeman Dyson of Princeton has long been a critic of climate change orthodoxies. Here he talks of his life as a daring proposer of ideas - such as the genetically modified trees to soak up carbon dioxide and kites flying in Antarctica to cause more snowfall and abate sea level rise.
Freeman Dyson talks to Charles Petersen about Richard Holmes’s book The Age of Wonder, his own education in chemistry and poetry, and how amateur biotechnology might help solve the problem of global warming.
"As a working hypothesis to explain the riddle of our existence," says Freeman Dyson, "I propose that our universe is the most interesting of all possible universes, and our fate as human beings is to make it so." One of the characteristics of diversity—in science, in technology, in biology, in culture, in software, or in children—is that the underlying programming tends to be open source, or connected in all directions. Freeman Dyson and George Dyson think in all directions, but each filters through a particular lens: Freeman Dyson writes about the future and George Dyson writes about the past. This discussion, moderated by Tim O’Reilly, goes in both directions. Questions from the audience are invited either spontaneously or in advance. (Unfortunately the third Dyson, Esther, was unable to participate, having been stuck in Texas.)
This keynote presentation was recorded at the Open Source Convention (OSCON) 2004 in Portland, Oregon.