You ask: what is the meaning or purpose of life? I can only answer with another question: do you think we are wise enough to read God's mind?

— Freeman Dyson

The most breathtaking Freeman Dyson quotes that will inspire your inner self

If you want to have a program for moving out into the universe, you have to think in centuries not in decades.

48

The greatest unsolved mysteries are the mysteries of our existence as conscious beings in a small corner of a vast universe.

48

All stable processes we shall predict.

All unstable processes we shall control. Describing John von Neumann's aspiration for the application of computers sufficiently large to solve the problems of meteorology, despite the sensitivity of the weather to small perturbations.

48

A good scientist is a person with original ideas.

A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering.

32

I see a bright future for the biotechnology industry when it follows the path of the computer industry, the path that von Neumann failed to foresee, becoming small and domesticated rather than big and centralized.

29

A good cause can become bad if we fight for it with means that are indiscriminately murderous. A bad cause can become good if enough people fight for it in a spirit of comradeship and self-sacrifice. In the end it is how you fight, as much as why you fight, that makes your cause good or bad.

26

Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious dogma or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute.

20

Technology must be guided and driven by ethics if it is to do more than provide new toys for the rich.

19

The idea that God may be approached and understood through intellectual analysis is uniquely Christian... It is probably not an accident that modern science grew explosively in Christian Europe and left the rest of the world behind.

15

Every orchid or rose or lizard or snake is the work of a dedicated and skilled breeder. There are thousands of people, amateurs and professionals, who devote their lives to this business. Now imagine what will happen when the tools of genetic engineering become accessible to these people.

14

In the end it is how you fight, as much as why you fight, that makes your cause good or bad.

13

The question that will decide our destiny is not whether we shall expand into space. It is: shall we be one species or a million? A million species will not exhaust the ecological niches that are awaiting the arrival of intelligence.

13

About Freeman Dyson

Quotes 186 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Physicist
Birthday 15 December 1923

...the computer models are very good at solving equations of fluid dynamics but very bad at describing the real world. The real world is full of things like clouds and vegetation and soil and dust which the models describe very poorly.

12

In the future, a new generation of artists will be writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses.

11

The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple.

10

So long as you have courage and a sense of humor, it is never too late to start life afresh.

10

The pain of childbirth is not remembered. It's the child that's remembered.

10

Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God's gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences.

10

CO2 is so beneficial...it would be crazy to try to reduce it

9

The purpose of thinking about the future is not to predict it but to raise people's hopes.

9

We have these amazing gifts of music and mathematics and painting and Olympic running. I mean, we're the animal that is best of all the animals at long-distance running. Why? It is quite amazing. Superfluous gifts you don't really need to survive.

9

It is characteristic of all deep human problems that they are not to be approached without some humor and some bewilderment.

9

It is better to be wrong than to be vague.

8

I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God.

God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.

8

When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories.

8

There is a great satisfaction in building good tools for other people to use.

8

We should try to introduce our children to science today as a rebellion against poverty and ugliness and militarism and economic injustice.

7

In the history of science it has often happened that the majority was wrong and refused to listen to a minority that later turned out to be right.

6

We do not need to have an agreed set of goals before we do something ambitious!

6

No matter how far we go into the future, there will always be new things happening, new information coming in, new worlds to explore, a constantly expanding domain of life, consciousness, and memory.

5

To me, mathematics is like playing the violin.

Some people can do it - others can't. If you don't have it, then there's no point in pretending.

5

We cannot hope to either understand or to manage the carbon in the atmosphere unless we understand and manage the trees and the soil too.

4

For a physicist mathematics is not just a tool by means of which phenomena can be calculated, it is the main source of concepts and principles by means of which new theories can be created.

4

One of the memorable moments of my life was when Willard Libby came to Princeton with a little jar full of crystals of barium xenate. A stable compound, looking like common salt, but much heavier. This was the magic of chemistry, to see xenon trapped into a crystal.

4

For me too, the periodic table was a passion.

... As a boy, I stood in front of the display for hours, thinking how wonderful it was that each of those metal foils and jars of gas had its own distinct personality.

4

Younger people have so many opportunities. I don't see any pessimism among them.

3

To give us room to explore the varieties of mind and body into which our genome can evolve, one planet is not enough.

3

Mind and intelligence are woven into the fabric of our universe in a way that altogether surpasses our understanding.

3

I think it's a big mistake to decide too soon what you're going to do with your life.

3

If we want to go to space with humans, that's for fun not for science.

Human adventures in space are just sporting events.

3

If we had a reliable way to label our toys good and bad, it would be easy to regulate technology wisely. But we can rarely see far enough ahead to know which road leads to damnation. Whoever concerns himself with big technology, either to push it forward or to stop it, is gambling in human lives.

3

The bottom line for mathematicians is that the architecture has to be right.

In all the mathematics that I did, the essential point was to find the right architecture. It's like building a bridge. Once the main lines of the structure are right, then the details miraculously fit. The problem is the overall design.

3

I'm happy that I've raised six kids, and not one of them is a Ph.D.

3

One factor that has remained constant through all the twists and turns of the history of physical science is the decisive importance of the mathematical imagination.

3

The reason why new concepts in any branch of science are hard to grasp is always the same; contemporary scientists try to picture the new concept in terms of ideas which existed before.

3

Vegetation is really controlling what happens.

..whereas the emphasis in the climate models has always been on the atmosphere.

3

The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming.

3

Everything in my life was luck. The key to having an interesting life is to always say "yes" to anything crazy.

2

It's better to get mugged than to live a life of fear.

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