# John Archibald Wheeler

**John WheelerJohn A. WheelerWheelerJ. A. WheelerJ.A. WheelerJohn A WheelerWheeler, John ArchibaldJ. A. Wheeler’sJ. WheelerProf John Archibald Wheeler**

John Archibald Wheeler (July 9, 1911 – April 13, 2008) was an American theoretical physicist.wikipedia

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### Quantum foam

**spacetime foamfoam-like structurefoamy quantum texture**

He is best known for linking the term "black hole" to objects with gravitational collapse already predicted early in the 20th century, for coining the terms "quantum foam", "neutron moderator", "wormhole" and "it from bit", and for hypothesizing the "one-electron universe".

The idea was devised by John Wheeler in 1955.

### One-electron universe

**they are all the same electronone-electron**

He is best known for linking the term "black hole" to objects with gravitational collapse already predicted early in the 20th century, for coining the terms "quantum foam", "neutron moderator", "wormhole" and "it from bit", and for hypothesizing the "one-electron universe".

The one-electron universe postulate, proposed by John Wheeler in a telephone call to Richard Feynman in the spring of 1940, is the hypothesis that all electrons and positrons are actually manifestations of a single entity moving backwards and forwards in time.

### Digital physics

**Pancomputationalismit from bitNaturalist computationalism**

He is best known for linking the term "black hole" to objects with gravitational collapse already predicted early in the 20th century, for coining the terms "quantum foam", "neutron moderator", "wormhole" and "it from bit", and for hypothesizing the "one-electron universe".

Related ideas include Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker's binary theory of ur-alternatives, pancomputationalism, computational universe theory, John Archibald Wheeler's "It from bit", and Max Tegmark's ultimate ensemble.

### Semi-empirical mass formula

**liquid drop modelBethe–Weizsäcker formulanuclear pairing effects**

In 1939 he collaborated with Bohr to write a series of papers using the liquid drop model to explain the mechanism of fission.

The liquid drop model, first proposed by George Gamow and then developed by Niels Bohr and John Archibald Wheeler, treats the nucleus as a drop of incompressible fluid of very high density.

### General relativity

**general theory of relativitygeneral relativity theoryrelativity**

He was largely responsible for reviving interest in general relativity in the United States after World War II.

Paraphrasing the relativist John Archibald Wheeler, spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve.

### Metallurgical Laboratory

**Met LabUniversity of Chicago Metallurgical LaboratoryChicago Met Lab**

During World War II, he worked with the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, where he helped design nuclear reactors, and then at the Hanford Site in Richland, Washington, where he helped DuPont build them.

Niels Bohr and John Wheeler theorized that heavy isotopes with odd atomic numbers, such as plutonium-239, were fissile.

### Breit–Wheeler process

**create matter from light**

Together with Gregory Breit, Wheeler developed the concept of the Breit–Wheeler process. In a 1934 paper, Breit and Wheeler introduced the Breit–Wheeler process, a mechanism by which photons can be potentially transformed into matter in the form of electron-positron pairs.

The photon–photon Breit–Wheeler process was described theoretically by Gregory Breit and John A. Wheeler in 1934 in Physical Review.

### S-matrix

**scattering matrixS matrixS-matrix elements**

In a 1937 paper "On the Mathematical Description of Light Nuclei by the Method of Resonating Group Structure", Wheeler introduced the S-matrix – short for scattering matrix – "a unitary matrix of coefficients connecting the asymptotic behavior of an arbitrary particular solution [of the integral equations] with that of solutions of a standard form."

The S-matrix was first introduced by John Archibald Wheeler in the 1937 paper "On the Mathematical Description of Light Nuclei by the Method of Resonating Group Structure".

### Positron

**positronsantielectrone +**

In a 1934 paper, Breit and Wheeler introduced the Breit–Wheeler process, a mechanism by which photons can be potentially transformed into matter in the form of electron-positron pairs.

Wheeler invoked this concept to explain the identical properties shared by all electrons, suggesting that "they are all the same electron" with a complex, self-intersecting worldline.

### Niels Bohr

**BohrNiels Henrik David BohrBohr, Niels**

Wheeler also worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission. He received a National Research Council fellowship, which he used to study under Gregory Breit at New York University in 1933 and 1934, and then in Copenhagen under Niels Bohr in 1934 and 1935.

Bohr thought about it for a few minutes and then announced to Placzek, Léon Rosenfeld and John Wheeler that "I have understood everything."

### Quantum field theory

**quantum field theoriesquantum fieldquantum theory**

Due to the problematic divergences present in quantum field theory at that time, Heisenberg was motivated to isolate the essential features of the theory that would not be affected by future changes as the theory developed.

Faced with these infinities, John Archibald Wheeler and Heisenberg proposed, in 1937 and 1943 respectively, to supplant the problematic QFT with the so-called S-matrix theory.

### Gregory Breit

**Breit**

Together with Gregory Breit, Wheeler developed the concept of the Breit–Wheeler process. He received a National Research Council fellowship, which he used to study under Gregory Breit at New York University in 1933 and 1934, and then in Copenhagen under Niels Bohr in 1934 and 1935.

In 1934, together with John A. Wheeler, Breit described the Breit–Wheeler process.

### Princeton University Department of Physics

**professor of physics**

For most of his career, Wheeler was a professor of physics at Princeton University, which he joined in 1938, remaining until his retirement in 1976.

Along with Oskar Morgenstern, a professor in the economics department, Wigner and John Archibald Wheeler were part of the Princeton Three, who sought to establish a national science laboratory as part of the American space race.

### Manhattan Project

**Manhattan Engineer DistrictThe Manhattan ProjectManhattan District**

During World War II, he worked with the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, where he helped design nuclear reactors, and then at the Hanford Site in Richland, Washington, where he helped DuPont build them.

Fermi, Woods, Donald J. Hughes and John Archibald Wheeler then calculated the nuclear cross section of xenon-135, which turned out to be 30,000 times that of uranium.

### Richard Feynman

**FeynmanRichard P. FeynmanRichard Phillips Feynman**

His graduate student, Richard Feynman, found this hard to believe, but the idea that positrons were electrons traveling backwards in time intrigued him and Feynman incorporated the notion of the reversibility of time into his Feynman diagrams.

Feynman received a Ph.D. from Princeton in 1942; his thesis advisor was John Archibald Wheeler.

### Katharine Way

**Katherine Way**

Wheeler's Chapel Hill graduate student Katharine Way also presented a paper, which she followed up in a subsequent article, detailing how the liquid drop model was unstable under certain conditions.

She next went to the University of North Carolina, where John Wheeler stimulated an interest in nuclear physics, and she became his first PhD student.

### Karl Herzfeld

**Karl Ferdinand HerzfeldHerzfeldKarl F. Herzfeld**

Wheeler earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University under the supervision of Karl Herzfeld, and studied under Breit and Bohr on a National Research Council fellowship.

John Archibald Wheeler, who became a prominent physicist, took his PhD under Herzfeld in 1933.

### New York University

**NYUUniversity of the City of New YorkNew York**

He received a National Research Council fellowship, which he used to study under Gregory Breit at New York University in 1933 and 1934, and then in Copenhagen under Niels Bohr in 1934 and 1935.

For example, cardiac defibrillator and artificial cardiac pacemaker (Barouh Berkovits), closed-chest cardiac defibrillator (William B. Kouwenhoven), laser (Gordon Gould), atom bomb (Frederick Reines), polio vaccine (Albert Sabin), RFID (Mario Cardullo), telephone handset (Robert G. Brown), wireless microphone (Hung-Chang Lin), first digital image scanner (Russell A. Kirsch), television (Benjamin Adler), light beer (Joseph Owades), non-stick cookware (John Gilbert), black hole thermodynamics (Jacob Bekenstein), polymer science (Herman Francis Mark), microwave (Ernst Weber), X-ray crystallography (Paul Peter Ewald), barcode (Jerome Swartz), structure of the DNA (Francis Crick), tau lepton (Martin Lewis Perl), processes for creating food coloring, decaffeination and sugar substitute (Torunn Atteraas Garin), processes for the mass production of penicillin (Jasper H. Kane), X-ray generator and rotational radiation therapy (John G. Trump), nuclear reactor and hydrogen bomb (John Archibald Wheeler), and contact lenses (Norman Gaylord), among many others.

### Kenneth W. Ford

**Kenneth FordKen Ford**

Two of his graduate students from Princeton, Ken Ford and John Toll, joined him there.

He received his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 1953, studying under John Archibald Wheeler.

### Richland, Washington

**RichlandRichland, WA Richland,WA**

During World War II, he worked with the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, where he helped design nuclear reactors, and then at the Hanford Site in Richland, Washington, where he helped DuPont build them.

### Geometrodynamics

**geometrodynamic**

During the 1950s, Wheeler formulated geometrodynamics, a program of physical and ontological reduction of every physical phenomenon, such as gravitation and electromagnetism, to the geometrical properties of a curved space-time.

It was enthusiastically promoted by John Wheeler in the 1960s, and work on it continues in the 21st century.

### Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

**Project MatterhornPPPLFurth Plasma Physics Library**

In 1951 Wheeler obtained permission from Bradbury to set up a branch office of the Los Alamos laboratory at Princeton, known as Project Matterhorn, which had two parts.

In 1950, John Wheeler was setting up a secret H-bomb research lab at Princeton University.

### James Hartle

**HartleJames Burkett HartleJim Hartle**

Joe left a widow and baby daughter, Mary Jo, who later married physicist James Hartle.

With Dieter Brill in 1964, he discovered the Brill–Hartle geon, an approximate solution realizing Wheeler's suggestion of a hypothetical phenomenon in which a gravitational wave packet is confined to a compact region of spacetime by the gravitational attraction of its own field energy.

### Quantum gravity

**quantum theory of gravityquantum theories of gravityQuantization of gravity**

Wheeler was also a pioneer in the field of quantum gravity due to his development, with Bryce DeWitt, of the Wheeler–DeWitt equation in 1967.

General relativity models gravity as curvature of spacetime: in the slogan of John Archibald Wheeler, "Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve."

### Goddard Institute for Space Studies

**GISSGoddard InstituteNASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies**

He used the term black hole in 1967 during a talk he gave at the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS).

At a GISS workshop in 1967, John Wheeler popularized the term "black hole" as a short-hand for 'gravitionally completely collapsed star', though the term was not coined there.