Dyson is best-known for his contribution to quantum electrodynamics. The observation in 1946 by Willis Lamb of a small difference between the lowest energy levels of the hydrogen atom was an experimental result against which such theories could be tested. In the period 1946–48 independent formulations of quantum electrodynamics were put forward by Julian Schwinger, Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, and Richard Feynman. Dyson showed that the three methods were all consistent and brought them together into a single general theory.
Dyson later became known to a wider public through his work on the nuclear test ban treaty and for his quite serious considerations of space travel and the ‘greening of the galaxy’. He also reached a wider audience with the publication of his autobiography Disturbing the Universe (1980) and his 1985 Gifford Lectures, Infinite in All Directions (1988).
Dyson has published a number of collections of speculations and observations about technology, science, and the future. In 1996 he was awarded the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science.
In 2000, Dyson was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion and in 2003, he was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology in Telluride, Colorado.