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The physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson has died at age 96 after a fall. He was also a wonderful writer who produced several books of interest to the general reader. I haved "Disturbing the Universe" and "Infinite in All Directions."

I’m happy to write that he appears to have been in good shape for his age and sharp as a tack to the end. RIP.

Obituary from The Daily Princetonian.

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Dyson, even at 96, was a highly involved member of the Princeton community and continued to welcome students. Last year, four students — Miles Simpkins ’22, Mason Wasserman ’22, Edward Tian ’22, and Satya Nayagam ’22 — visited  Dyson’s office after he offered to help them on their documentary project for their freshman seminar, FRS 134: Scientists Against Time.

Interview from 2018.

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But purpose seems to you the most important set of circumstances that you can attribute to the question of what is the meaning of it all?  

Yes, in fact, I would say it’s more probable that there are many different purposes competing. If there is a God, there probably is a collection of gods rather than a single one. The polytheistic view historically came first. Ancient religions all had many gods rather than one. Monotheistic religion was a later development.

But I think it’s quite likely that the older views were right, and really there’s a competing bunch of gods, like the ones that the Greeks believed in, and that explains why the universe is full of contradictions.

 

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