The legendary physicist and a visionary theorist Freeman Dyson died at the age of 96 in New Jersey after a fall earlier this week. He was the scientist who made advancements in subatomic physics before confronting earth's environmental future and imagined a universe in which alien civilizations equip the energy of the stars.

After his death on Friday, February 28, Institute for Advanced Study wrote in an obituary that "Dyson generated revolutionary scientific insights, including calculations bridging the quantum and human worlds. His contributions stem from his work in numerous areas, including nuclear engineering, solid-state physics, ferromagnetism, astrophysics, biology and applied mathematics."

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson Wikimedia commons

Freeman Dyson: A revolutionary theorist

Dr Dyson was born in England in 1923. He moved to the US in 1947 and spend most of his life at the Princeton University Institute for Advanced Study as a professor or professor emeritus. He first became widely known for his research paper that expanded the understanding of how matter and light interact to create a tangible world.

His research also included the study on the future of the universe as well as a nuclear-explosion-powered spacecraft that was never built. Dyson had also developed new ideas in mathematics, as well as in philosophy and imagined how humans of the far future and alien civilizations might have lived in space. His theory put forth an idea called quantum electrodynamics, also known as QED, which is one of the greatest achievements of modern science.

The scientist was doubtful that superstrings (an attempt to explain all of the particles and fundamental forces of nature in one theory by modelling them as vibrations of tiny supersymmetric strings) or anything else, would ultimately lead to a "Theory of Everything".

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson Wikimedia commons

During World War II and Cold War

The British scientist started his career as the UK's Bomber Command during World War II. At that time his statistical analysis helped to find out that many Briton airmen died while attacking Germany because their planes' aircraft hatches were impractically small.

During the Cold War, Dyson worked on cutting nuclear weapons testing and urged the creation of the US government's Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. In an interview, which was taken in 2013, the legendary scientist stated that "The military knows that our nuclear weapons are essentially useless for fighting real wars. The problem is to educate politicians."

Being a fan of space exploration, during his career, Dyson also worked on Project Orion, a study of a spacecraft intended to be directly propelled by a series of explosions of atomic bombs behind the craft.

What is the Dyson sphere

Dyson sphere sometimes referred to as a Dyson shell or megastructure, it is a theoretical mega-engineering project which encircles a star with platforms orbiting in tight formation. Dyson first explored this idea as a thought experiment in 1960 and published his research paper, entitled with Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation. He proposed that searching for evidence of the existence of such structures might lead to the discovery of advanced civilizations elsewhere in the galaxy.