Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson (Deceased)


  • B.A. in Mathematics, University of Cambridge (1945). [3]
  • Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, (1946–47). [3]
  • Attended Cornell University in 1947 with a Commonwealth Fellowship. [3]
  • Research Fellow, University of Birmingham, 1949–51. [3]
  • Professor of Physics at Cornell University, 1951. [3]


Freeman Dyson was a physics professor known for his work in the area of electrodynamics. Dyson formerly worked as a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He passed away at 96 years old in February 2020.  [3], [22]

According to Dyson’s profile at the Institute for Advanced Study, “His most useful contribution to science was the unification of the three versions of quantum electrodynamics invented by Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga. Cornell University made him a professor without bothering about his lack of Ph.D.” [3]

Dyson held honorary degrees from a number of universities, and has received numerous prizes for his work in the area of physics. [12]

In 2009, The New York Times reported on “Dyson’s coming ‘out of the closet as far as global warming is concerned’,” with his views that “whatever inflammations the climate was experiencing might be a good thing because carbon dioxide helps plants of all kinds grow.” [1]

Stance on Climate Change

April 2015

In an interview by “Conversations that Matter,” Dyson argued that CO2 is beneficial due to “greening” vegetation and that continuing to burn fossil fuels will probably “do us good”: [13]

“The fact is, carbon dioxide will increase. We will continue to burn oil and coal, and probably it does us good. The Earth will get greener as a result.”

CO2 is so beneficial […] it would be crazy to try to reduce it,” Dyson said. “Man-made climate change is, on the whole, good.”

August 2007

In an essay at Edge, Dyson wrote: [4]

“My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models.” [13]

According to Dyson, “Everyone agrees that the climate is changing, but there are violently diverging opinions about the causes of change, about the consequences of change, and about possible remedies.” [13]

[…] “There is no doubt that parts of the world are getting warmer, but the warming is not global.” [13]

[…] “Opinions differ on the relative importance of the physical and biological effects, and on whether the effects [of increased atmospheric CO2], either separately or together, are beneficial or harmful.” [13]

May 15, 2003

In a review of Vaclav Smil’s The Earth’s Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change in the The New York Review of Books, Dyson described global warming as a “misleading phrase”:

“As a result of the burning of coal and oil, the driving of cars, and other human activities, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing at a rate of about half a percent per year […] the physical effects of carbon dioxide are seen in changes of rainfall, cloudiness, wind strength, and temperature, which are customarily lumped together in the misleading phrase ‘global warming.’” [2]

Key Quotes

October 2015

Dyson wrote a foreword for a Global Warming Policy Foundation (GPWF) report on “the good news” on carbon dioxide:

“I am hoping that the scientists and politicians who have been blindly demonizing carbon dioxide for 37 years will one day open their eyes and look at the evidence.” [9]

April 2012

In an interview with Big Think, Dyson said it would be “foolish to do anything spectactular” to try to combat man-made climate change: [14]

March 2009

Dyson was quoted in a 2009 profile at The New York Times:

“’The costs of what Gore tells us to do would be extremely large,’ Dyson said. ‘By restricting CO2 you make life more expensive and hurt the poor. I’m concerned about the Chinese’.” [1]

Key Deeds

August 13, 2019

Dyson appeared in a Nature Communications article that ranked 386 “climate change contrarians” based on media visibility. The article also ranked bona fide climate scientists and found that deniers had nearly 50% more visibility in the media than mainstream scientists. [21]

Dyson was ranked #39 among other noted deniers, including Marc Morano (#1), Sen. James Inhofe, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Judith Curry, Ross McKitrick, John Hinderaker, and Roy Spencer[21]

February 4, 2018

In January 2018, more than 200 scientists endorsed an open letter calling on the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) to remove climate change denier Rebekah Mercer from its board and to “end ties to anti-science propagandists and funders of climate science misinformation.” The New York Times reported that those among the AMNH letter calling for Mercer to step down were Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, and Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. [16]

Dyson was among a group of climate change deniers who responded with their own open letter, calling for the AMNH “not to cave in to this pressure.” The letter was signed by numerous individuals with ties to groups funded by the Mercer Family Foundation such as Will Happer of the CO2 CoalitionRichard Lindzen, a fellow at the Cato InstituteCraig Idso, the chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. There are a number of signatories affiliated with the Heartland Institute, which has received over $5.78 million from the Mercer Family Foundation since 2008. [17]

The letter reads: [18]

The Earth has supported abundant life many times in the geological past when there were much higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is quite likely that future generations will benefit from the enrichment of Earth’s atmosphere with more carbon dioxide.

Make no mistake, the agitators are not defending science from quackery — quite the contrary!”

February 23, 2017

Freeman Dyson was a signatory of a petition (PDF) organized by Richard Lindzen of the Cato Institute urging President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the United Nations international convention on climate change (UNFCCC). [10]

In just a few weeks, more than 300 eminent scientists and other qualified individuals from around the world have signed the petition below,” Lindzen wrote in the letter. [10]

DeSmog investigated the list, and found that only a small handful of the signatories could be considered “even remotely ‘qualified’ or ‘eminent’ — but not in the field of climate science.” The list included individuals “interested in climate,” and one signatory who only identified as an “emailer who wished to sign the petition” while some signers provided no affiliation or address whatsoever.[11]

October 11, 2015

Freeman Dyson is interviewed in The Register‘s article, “Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more,” the same day the Global Warming Policy Foundation published “Carbon Dioxide: The Good News,” with the foreward written by Freeman Dyson. [8],[9]

In the foreward, Dyson argues that “carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does far more good than harm,” and “that the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage.” [9] Dyson concludes the foreward by stating, “I am hoping that the scientists and politicians who have been blindly demonizing carbon dioxide for 37 years will one day open their eyes and look at the evidence.” [9]

March 1, 2015

Dyson was listed as a writer/endorser of a Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPFbriefing paper titled “The Small Print: What the Royal Society Left Out“ that accused the Royal Society of “presenting a misleading picture of climate science.” [19][20]

As an example, the Royal Society addresses the question of why Antarctic sea ice is growing,” said Prof Ross McKitrick, the chairman of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council, “but in doing so they present a recently proposed hypothesis as if it were settled science. Failing to admit when the answer to an important question is simply not known does a disservice to the public. We believe that this new paper does a much better job of presenting the whole picture to the public.” [19]

The paper was written/endorsed by the following “experts”: [19]

March 25, 2009

Freeman Dyson is the feature of an 8000 word article in The New York Times titled “The Civil Heretic.” The Times quotes Dyson as saying global warming may indicate that “the climate is actually improving rather than getting worse” because increased carbon would promote forest growth and crop yields. However, the internationally-regarded IPCC concludes that “climate change is expected to lead to salinisation and desertification of agricultural land.”

Although Dyson is a brilliant mind, and is revered as a physicist, he does not have a background in climate science. DeSmogBlog speculated how it seems strange that the Times would choose Nicholas Dawidoff, a sports writer (albeit an accomplished sports writer), to research and write an article on climate change.

June 12, 2008

Freeman Dyson publishes “The Question of Global Warming“ through The New York Review of Books. Dyson writes, “the only plausible explanation of the annual wiggle,” of CO2‘s PPM measurements, “and its variation with latitude is that it is due to the seasonal growth and decay of annual vegetation, especially deciduous forests, in temperate latitudes north and south.” [7]

November 1, 2005

Dyson spoke at a talk hosted by the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future where her argued the problems of global warming are “grossly exaggerated” and “take away money and attention from other problems that are more urgent and more important.” [15]



According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, Dyson has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles mainly in the area of quantum mechanics.

Dyson has articulated his “heretical” views on climate in an extensive article of his own [4] – which has been debunked on a point-by-point basis. [5]


  1. The Civil Heretic,” The New York Times, March 25, 2009.
  2. Freeman Dyson. “What a World!”, The New York Review of Books, May 15, 2003.
  3. freemon dyson: professor emeritus, sns,” Accessed December 6, 2011.
  4. Freeman Dyson. “HERETICAL THOUGHTS ABOUT SCIENCE AND SOCIETY,” Edge, April 8, 2007.
  5. Michael Tobis. “Dyson Exegesis,” Only In It For The Gold, August 12, 2007.
  6. Freeman Dyson; Expert,” Heartland Institute.
  7. Freeman Dyson. ”The Question of Global Warming,” The New York Review of Books, June 12, 2008.
  8. Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more,” The Register, October 11, 2015. Archived November 16, 2015.
  9. Carbon Dioxide: The Good News,” The Global Warming Policy Foundation, October 11, 2015. Archived November 16, 2015.
  10. PETITION” (PDF), February 23, 2017. Richard Lindzen. PDF Archived at DeSmog.
  11. Graham Readfearn. “Climate Science Denier Richard Lindzen’s List of 300 “Scientists” Sent to Trump Is the Usual Parade of Non-Experts,” DeSmog, February 27, 2017.
  12. “Freeman J. Dyson – Biography (detailed)” (PDF), retrieved from
  13. Freeman Dyson on the Global Warming Hysteria April, 2015,” YouTube video uploaded by user “1000frolly,” April 6, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  14. Freeman Dyson: Climate Change Predictions Are ‘Absurd’,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Big Think,” April 23, 2012. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  15. Freeman Dyson: Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Boston University,” March 30, 2010. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  16. Robin Pogrebin and Somini Sengupta. “A Science Denier at the Natural History Museum? Scientists Rebel,” The New York Times, January 25, 2018. Archived February 13, 2018. URL
  17. Graham Readfearn. “Climate Science Deniers Defend New York’s American Museum of Natural History From Calls to Drop Trustee Rebekah Mercer,” DeSmog, February 6, 2018.
  18. mnh18-feb4-petitionletter (PDF – Untitled). Retrieved from Watts Up With That.
  19. THE SMALL PRINT: What the Royal Society Left Out” (PDF)Global Warming Policy Foundation, 2015.
  20. (Press Release). “Royal Society Misrepresents Climate Science,” Global Warming Policy Foundation, January 3, 2015. Archived August 17, 2014. URL
  21. Alexander Michael Petersen, Emmanuel M. Vincent, Anthony LeRoy Westerling. “Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians,” Nature Communications, August 13, 2019. Archived August 14, 2019. URL: Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  22. Freeman Dyson, Math Genius Turned Visionary Technologist, Dies at 96,” The New York Times, February 28, 2020. Archived March 4, 2020. URL:

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