A couple of great ones are gone: Katherine Johnson and Freeman Dyson

Just under a week ago, we lost Katherine Johnson:

Katherine Johnson Dies at 101; Mathematician Broke Barriers at NASA (NY Times link)

She was one of a group of black women mathematicians at NASA and its predecessor who were celebrated in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.”

PZ has written more about her here.

Today, we have lost another important figure – this one more well know and celebrated through his working life.

Freeman Dyson, quantum physicist who imagined alien megastructures, has died at 96 (livescience link)

Freeman Dyson, Math Genius Turned Visionary Technologist, Dies at 96 (NY Times link)

Freeman Dyson, like so many scientists before him, did some brilliant work, and the turned towards less scientific ideas. This shouldn’t make you dismiss his importance, just make you weary of his later works.



  1. friedfish2718 says

    “Pro-Science” writes:

    “…the turned towards less scientific ideas.”

    “…just make you weary of his later works.”

    1- What are these “less scientific ideas”?
    2- What makes “Pro-Science” weary of Dyson’s later works? What Dyson’s later works in specific make “Pro-Science” weary?


    “Pro-Science” writes sloppily.

    Does “Pro-Science” know the difference between weary and wary? Probably not.

    From https://www.merriam-webster.com:

    weary: exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness
    : having one’s patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted

    wary: : marked by keen caution, cunning, and watchfulness especially in detecting and escaping danger
    : alert, careful, cautious


  2. StevoR says

    Science s sceince. Evidence is evidence. People are people.

    Vale Katherine Johnson & Freeman Dyson. Gone but not forgotten. Remembered. Increased our knowledge, made world better for that and made people imagine think and dream whilst awake. Thankyou. Shoulders of giants. Minds of giants. Imperfect, another metaphorical step or more forwards.. Towards ..? Well, we decide by what we do now and what use we make of their works and ideas. Choose wisely people.

  3. says

    friedfish2718, “Pro-science” is the name of the blog. The name of the author, i.e. me, is at the bottom of the post.

    Regarding Dyson turning unscientific, I am of course referring to his anti-scientific stance regarding global warming.

    And it is true that I write sloppily, but I also write in my second language. It is fine to point out when I use the wrong word, but keeping up the snide tone when doing so, will result in getting banned. This is your only warning.