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IPFS News Link • Energy

Wonderful Youtube Series : Freeman Dyson Talks Physics and Geniuses

• by Brian Wang

You get a sense of the people who are involved in laying the foundations of physics. Freeman tells you about the nature of the geniuses involved.

Freeman Dyson was a genius. He tells you about the genius of Enrico Fermi. Fermi's physics intuition and genius saved Freeman Dyson from wasting 5 years working on a physics theory that was wrong. Dyson and a team had already spent many months working on it.

There are interesting insights into high-level math and physics and how to think rigorously at a high level.

Fermi said, When one does a theoretical calculation there are two ways to do it. Either you should have a clear physical model in mind or you should have a rigorous mathematical basis.

Dyson: What do you think of the numerical agreement?

Fermi: How many parameters did you use for the fitting and how many free parameters were there in your method.

Dyson: There are four

Fermi: You know Johnny Von Neumann always used to say with four parameters I could a fit an elephant and with five I could make him wiggle his trunk. I do not find the numerical method very impressive either.