Summary of “A Flash of Illumination on the Greyhound Bus: Physicist Freeman Dyson on Creative Breakthrough and the Unconscious Mind – Brain Pickings”

A captivating account of one such moment of creative breakthrough comes from the great physicist Freeman Dyson in Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters.
During his time at Trinity, where he lived in a room just below Wittgenstein’s, Dyson was awarded a Commonwealth Fellowship that sent him to the United States in pursuit of a doctorate in physics.
“The two ways of explaining the experiments looked totally different,” Dyson recalls, “Feynman drawing little pictures and Schwinger writing down complicated equations.”
In the spring of 1948, Dyson took a cross-country road trip with Feynman.
Upon his return, Dyson headed to Ann Arbor to spend six weeks studying with Schwinger.
Suddenly, in what Dyson terms a “Flash of illumination on the Greyhound bus,” everything fell into place – he saw the equivalence of the two competing formulations with a clarity that had evaded everyone else, including Feynman and Schwinger themselves.
Seventeen years later, Feynman and Schwinger would share the Nobel Prize “For their fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles” – a depth of consequence the twenty-four-year-old Dyson had been the first to demonstrate in a coherent and compelling way after his revelation on the Greyhound bus.
Complement this particular portion with Rilke on how inspiration strikes, physicist David Bohm on creativity, and neurologist Oliver Sacks on its three essential components, then revisit Dyson on the future of science and finding meaning in the randomness of life.

The orginal article.