Freeman Dyson was a paradox — an unquestionably brilliant physicist and science popularizer who wasn’t worried about global warming. More worried about poverty than climate change, he joined others commonly labeled “deniers” in warning that restricting fossil fuels would harm the developing world.

Anyone else who voiced such views would be labeled as anti-science. But Dyson, who died on Feb. 28 at 96, was part of science. Dyson was a math prodigy who could do mental calculations that astonished the other thinkers at the Institute for Advanced Study. As a young man, he solved hard problems that gave him entry into the physics community without the need of a Ph.D. He influenced young people, including me, with his popular books, such as “Infinite in All Directions,” which dealt with human survival after the end of our world, among other things.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.