Physics in the Days of Einstein and Feynman | Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson never spoke to Einstein , but revered him from afar. He was a " totally exceptional person " —as was another colleague , Nobelist and " clown " Richard Feynman.Question: Do you have any personal recollections of Einstein?Freeman Dyson: I mean I was here in Princeton when Einstein was still alive , but I never spoke a word to him and in fact , he moved in his own circle of friends.  He didn't have anything much to do with the young people here at the institute , so we never actually contacted...  He never came to our talks or to our meetings , which was a shame , but that's the truth.Question: What misconceptions do people have about Einstein?Freeman Dyson:  Well I suppose what most of what people believe about him is true , I would say.  I mean he was a totally exceptional person in all sorts of ways.  His science was exceptional.  His humor was exceptional , his ability to say... just to answer questions in a witty way so that he got in headlines in the newspapers.  He had just this wonderful gift of talking to the public , and in addition of course he had a turbulent family life and he was a , in many ways a selfish and unpleasant character , but on the other hand he was wonderful with children and so on.  I mean there were all sorts of...  He had wonderful qualities and those things I think the public rightly appreciated.Question: Of the scientists you worked with , who inspired or mentored you?Freeman Dyson:  Well of course the one I wrote about most , the one I enjoyed most , was Richard Feynman.  He was...  When I knew him best he was quite young , so he and I were about five years apart , so he was a young professor and I was a student , and he took me for a ride across the country from here to Albuquerque in a rickety old car and we had a great time.  So I mean he was a wonderful person to be around.  In addition he was a genius and so he was doing the physics that actually made me famous.  He had the ideas and then I translated th