Physicist Freeman Dyson, a professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, was awarded the 2000 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on Wednesday. One of the largest monetary awards in the world, the Templeton prize is valued at $948,000.
In his work, Dyson has proposed the development of technologies for the benefit of mankind, regardless of economic costs or cultural situations, according to a statement from the Templeton Foundation. Dyson argues technology should be used as a social equalizer and raise the standard of living for everyone in all areas of the world, the statement said.
Institute professor John Bahcall, a colleague of Dyson's who has worked with him at the Institute for 35 years, said Dyson is an "excellent choice" for the prestigious award.
"I think it is very appropriate for Freeman to get the prize because he's always been concerned about human beings," Bahcall said. "The effort he has put into his books and technical work have been for the good of humanity."
The prize is awarded annually by the Templeton Foundation for outstanding original work that advances the world's understanding of spirituality. It was created in 1972 by Sir John Templeton, a Wall Street financier, to reward research in the area of religion not covered by the Nobel Prizes. Past recipients include Rev. Billy Graham, Paul Davies and Mother Teresa.
Dyson was en route to England yesterday to receive the prize and was unavailable for comment.