Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters, by Freeman Dyson
Both recalling his life story and recounting many of the major advances in twentieth-century science, a renowned physicist shares his autobiography through letters.
Dyson has worked with many of the twentieth century’s most renowned physicists, mathematicians, and intellectuals, and Maker of Patterns presents not only his personal story but chronicles through firsthand accounts an exciting era of twentieth-century science.
Begun in the dark year of 1941 when Hitler’s armies had already conquered much of Europe, Dyson’s early letters to his parents often burst with the curiosity of a precocious seventeen-year-old while his postwar letters reflect the quandaries faced by an entire scientific generation that was dealing with the after effects of nuclear detonations and concentration camp killings.
Arriving in America in 1947, Dyson continued to send weekly missives to England that were never technical but written with grace and candour, creating a portrait of a generation that was eager, as Einstein once stated, to solve ‘deep mysteries that Nature intend[ed] to keep for herself.’
“Advocates of science will find in Dyson an admirable model. Why go to Mars when we could irrigate the Sahara, he asks. The science of space travel may be 10 times the benefit in the end, he writes, but 'the main purpose is a general enlargement of human horizons.' A pleasure for science students and particularly of science humanely practiced.” - Kirkus Reviews