Oct 28, 2021 - Sale 2584

Sale 2584 - Lot 42

Price Realized: $ 30,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
ARCHIVE REVEALING HIS CROSS-DISCIPLINARY INTERESTS SPANNING DECADES (SCIENTISTS.) DYSON, FREEMAN. Archive of 29 Autograph Letters Signed and a Typescript Signed and Inscribed, to physicist Jeremy Bernstein. The letters, "Freeman" or "Freeman and Imme [Jung, his wife]" or "F" or "F & I," on personal and professional topics. Together 57 pages. 4to or 8vo, most on "Institute for Advanced Study" stationery; a few with moderate staining, otherwise generally good condition. The typescript, 14 lines on cover page beginning "It is strange that this idea, which seemed like a joke when we discussed it in April, now suddenly became serious . . . ," draft of his article "Volcano Theory of Pulsars," published in the August 2, 1969, issue of Nature. 4 1/2 pages, 4to, stapled together at upper left; moderate scattered staining, folds. Vp, 1958-90; Np, [1969]

Additional Details

6 February 1959: ". . . Tommy Gold was here with a new scheme for a power-source for satellites in the kilowatt range. This is an excellent idea and can increase the usefulness of satellites by an order of magnitude. There is a good chance G.A. will manufacture it, if [it] is not connected with the space-ship and might be in operation within a few months. . . ."
14 October 1968: ". . . I have been in the full tide of happiness these last days, proving that one-dimensional Ising models with an interaction going like (distance)-[alpha] have a phase-transition when 1<[alpha]<2. Now it is midnight and I just wrote the last words of the proof in a strangely luminous state of mind, as Gibbon described in his autobiography how he wrote the last words of the 'Decline and Fall'. . . ."
6 May 1969: "I was woken by a shattering explosion, followed by moans and cries for help. I was too scared and stunned to run down immediately. While I hesitated a man was burning to death. . . .
"The bomb was presumably intended only to burn down the Faculty Club where I am staying. Unfortunately the caretaker found it and it blew up in his hands. . ." [Although no motive was ever established, some have speculated that the pipe bomb that exploded at the UCSB Faculty Club on April 11, 1969 was intended to assassinate Freeman Dyson for his involvement in nuclear weapons research].
15 February 1970: ". . . I would like to . . . write about the modern weapons, A[nti-]B[allistic] M[issile] and M[ultiple] I[ndependently targetable] R[eentry] V[ehicle] and such. . . . [P]artly because I think it would be valuable to make these things understandable to the N.Y. public. But I don't see yet how to do it."
15 December 1971: ". . . I read the article 'Über die Untersuchung des Aetherzustandes im magnetischen Felde' which Einstein wrote at the age of 15 . . . . I found it extremely illuminating. In fact it has very much the same value for the understanding of Einstein's development as the decipherment of Linear B had for the understanding of Greek history. In both cases we were suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with a written document from a period far earlier than anybody had believed possible. . . .
". . . He was obviously impressed by the elegance of Hertz's experiments and the contrast between the elegance of the experiments and the clumsiness of the mechanical models. But he never explicitly questions the mechanical picture.
"The most remarkable thing . . . is that it contains not the slightest hint of relativity. . . . ."
22 March 1977: ". . . The reason it makes no sense to confine recombinant DNA to national laboratories is that it is a versatile tool that can be used for all kinds of purposes, some dangerous and some not . . . . The problem is comparable to the use of radioisotopes in science and medicine. You need strict rules, but it makes no sense to make every patient go to Los Alamos for a radio-iodine thyroid test."
1 December 1977: ". . . I believe we are in fact on the eve of the appearance of the Principia [Newton's Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica] of evolutionary biology."
15 May 1978: ". . . You are right about the Doppler broadening of epithermal resonances being important in the Triga [reactor]. But this is much less important in power-reactors. I think in power-reactors the main negative temperature coefficient comes from expulsion of water, which at operating temperature is more like a gas than a liquid. If you had to wait for mechanical expansion of the core to shut it down then the thing would indeed explode like a bomb. . . ."
21 August 1981: ". . . Mercator's is not a linear projection but a logarithmic one. So far as I know, there is no geometric model for it. Precisely that was the originality of Mercator's idea.
". . . The really extraordinary thing about Mercator's projection is that it gives useful maps up to very high latitudes. This is possible because the latitude-scale is logarithmic. . . ."
24 May 1983: ". . . I have been reading the Catholic Bishops' Pastoral Letter on War and Peace ["The Challenge of Peace, God's Promise and Our Response" (1983)]. It is a magnificent document. In fact I agree with it so completely that it makes my book [Weapons and Hope (1984)] almost superfluous."
9 November 1985: ". . . [T]here is not any deep mystery about the failure to predict the effects of Argus and Starfish [nuclear weapons tests]. It is the same failure which destroyed the hopes of the fusion reactor people to build efficient fusion reactors in the 1960s. The fact is that high-temperature plasmas which are supposed to be confined in a magnetic field leak rapidly across the field-lines. The processes responsible for the leakage are more-or-less understood a posteriori but were never predicted a priori. . . ."
26 December 1990: ". . . To me the single most illuminating contribution to the whole Q[uantum] M[echanics] debate is the Kochen-Specker paper 'The Problem of Hidden Variables in Quantum Mechanics' [1967] . . . . Like [John Stewart] Bell's 1964 paper ['On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox'] this was published in an obscure journal, and to make matters worse, it is reviewed . . . by a jackass of a logician who said it was wrong. It is, of course, not wrong. . . .
". . . [A] mapping of a partial quantum algebra into a complete commutative algebra is impossible. . . . ."
Provenance: From the files of Jeremy Bernstein.