John Archibald Wheeler: A Few Highlights of His Contributions to Physics

  • Kip S. Thorne
  • Wojciech H. Zurek
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 367)


The following quotations describe in “nutshells” a few highlights of John Archibald Wheeler’s contributions to physics. The contributions are arranged in roughly the following order: (i) concrete research results, (ii) innovative ideas that have become foundations for the research of others, (iii) insights that give guidance for the development of physics over the coming decades. Since most of Wheeler’s work contains strong elements of two or even all three of these characteristics, the editors have not attempted to delineate the dividing lines between the three categories.


Black Hole Neutron Star Gravitational Attraction Crab Nebula Fission Cross Section 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Bohr, Niels, and Wheeler, John A. (1939), “The Mechanism of Nuclear Fission,” Phys. Rev. 56,426.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Feynman, Richard P. (1966), “The Development of the Space-Time View of Quantum Electrodynamics,” Phys. Today, August 1966, p.31.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Harrison, Kent, Wakano, Masami, and Wheeler, John A. (1958), “Matter-Energy at High Density; End Point of Thermonuclear Evolution,” in La Structure et L’Evolution de l’Univers, Proceedings of Eleventh Solvay Congress, Brussels, 9–13 June, 1958 (Stoops, Brussels), p.124.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lindquist, Richard W., and Wheeler, John A. (1957), “Dynamics of a Lattice Model Universe by the Schwarzschild-Cell Method,” Rev. Mod. Phys. 29,432.MathSciNetADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Misner, Charles W., Thorne, Kip S., and Wheeler, John A. (1973), Gravitation (Freeman, San Francisco), p.23.Google Scholar
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    Regge, Tullio, and Wheeler, John A. (1957), “Stability of a Schwarzschild Singularity,” Phys. Rev. 108,1063.MathSciNetADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ruffini, Remo, and Wheeler, John A. (1971), “Relativistic Cosmology and Space Platforms,” in Proceedings of Conference on Space Physics (ESRO, Paris).Google Scholar
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    Taylor, Edwin F., and Wheeler, John A. (1966), Spacetime Physics (Freeman, San Francisco).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Toll, John, and Wheeler, John A. (1951), “Some Pair-Theoretic Applications of the Dispersion Relation,” Phys. Rev. 81,654.Google Scholar
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    Wheeler, John A. (1937), “On the Mathematical Description of Light Nuclei by the Method of Resonating Group Structure,” Phys. Rev. 52,1107.ADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Wheeler, John A. (1946), “Polyelectrons,” Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 48, 219–238.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Wheeler, John A. (1949), “Some Consequences of the Electromagnetic Interaction between μ-Mesons and Nuclei,” Rev. Mod. Phys. 21,133.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Wheeler, John A. (1955), “Geons,” Phys. Rev. 97, 511.MathSciNetADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Wheeler, John A. (1957), “On the Nature of Quantum Geometrodynamics,” Ann. Phys. 2, 604–614.ADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wheeler, John A. (1960), “Neutrinos, Gravitation, and Geometry,” in Rendiconti della Scuola Internazionale di Fisica “Enrico Fermi,” XI Corso (Zanichelli, Bologna, 1960); reprinted in J.A.Wheeler, Geometrodynamics (Academic Press, New York,1962).Google Scholar
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    Wheeler, John A. (1964a), “Geometrodynamics and the Issue of the Final State,” in Relativity, Groups, and Topology, C. deWitt and B. DeWitt, eds. (Gordon and Breach, New York), pp.317–522.Google Scholar
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    Wheeler, John A. (1964b), “The Superdense Star and the Critical Nucleon Number,” in Gravitation and Relativity, H.-Y. Chiu and W. F. Hoffmann, eds. (Benjamin, New York).Google Scholar
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    Wheeler, John A. (1966), “Superdense Stars,” Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 4,393.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Wheeler, John A. (1968), “Our Universe: The Known and the Unknown,” Am. Sci. 56, 1.ADSGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Wheeler, John A. (1979a), “The Quantum and the Universe,” in Relativity, Quanta and Cosmology, Vol. II, M. Pantaleo and F. de Finis, eds. (Johnson Reprint Corp., NewYork).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wheeler, John A. (1979b), Frontiers of Time (North-Holland Publishing Co., Amsterdam); also in Rediconti della Scuola Internazionale di Fisica “Enrico Fermi,” N. Toraldo di Francia and Bas van Fraassen, eds. (North-Holland Publishing Co., Amsterdam), pp. 395–497.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wheeler, John A. (1980), “Beyond the Black Hole,” Chapter22 in Some Strangeness in Proportion, Harry Wolf, ed. (Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wheeler, John A. (1981a), “The Lesson of the Black Hole,” Proc. Am. Philos. Soc. 125,25.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Wheeler, John A. (1981b), “Delayed-Choice Experiments and the Bohr–Einstein Dialogue,” The American Philosophical Society and the Royal Society, pp.25–37, papers read at the Meeting, June 5, 1980 (American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Wheeler, John A. (1982), “The Computer and the Universe,” Int. J. Theor. Phys. 21, Nos.6/7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Wheeler, John A. (1984), “Bits, Quanta and Meaning,” in Theoretical Physics Meeting: Commemorative Volume on the Occasion of Eduardo Caianiello’s Sixtieth Birthday, A.Giovanni, M. Marinaro, F. Mancini, and A. Rimini, eds. (Edizioni Scientifici Italiani, Naples), pp.121–134.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Wheeler, John A. (1985), quoted in Jeremy Bernstein, “Retarded Learner,” Princeton Alumni Weekly, October 9, 1985, p.28.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wheeler, John A., and Feynman, Richard P. (1945), “Interaction with the Absorver as the Mechanism of Radiation,” Rev. Mod. Phys. 17,157.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wheeler, John A., and Zurek, Wojciech H., eds. (1983), Quantum Theory and the Measurement (Princeton University Press, Princeton), Preface, p.i.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Physics and AstronomyCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.Theoretical AstrophysicsLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA

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