The man who could have taken humankind to the farthest reaches of the solar system is gone. He was a personal hero of mine due to his work on Nuclear Pulse Propulsion and is the second named scientist in the Parker-Dyson-Spudis continuum.
I was never really a space enthusiast until 2003 when I read George Dyson’s Project Orion. The book profoundly changed my worldview. In 2006 I read the Scientific American article “Shielding Space Travelers” by Eugene Parker and this also shaped my view on space exploration in a fundamental way. The third most influential work I read was probably “Angle of Attack” by Mike Gray.
Of all the people in these books the most interesting was Freeman Dyson. One detail about his life that caught my attention was when, during World War 2, he advised the British to remove the gun turrets from their bombers to improve their performance and avoid being shot down. Those in charge did not accept the numbers Dyson gave them of course…and people died because of that close-mindedness. Dyson was “open” to the truth and did not let pre-existing bias distract him from the best solution. We need more of that if we are going to survive.