Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jun 18, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 416 pages

The autobiography of one of the preeminent figures in twentieth-century physics.

He studied with Niels Bohr, taught Richard Feynman, and boned up on relativity with his friend and colleague Albert Einstein. John Archibald Wheeler's fascinating life brings us face to face with the central characters and discoveries of modern physics. He was the first American to learn of the discovery of nuclear fission, later coined the term "black hole," led a renaissance in gravitation physics, and helped to build Princeton University into a mecca for physicists. From nuclear physics, to quantum theory, to relativity and gravitation, Wheeler's work has set the trajectory of research for half a century. His career has brought him into contact with the most brilliant minds of his field; Fermi, Bethe, Rabi, Teller, Oppenheimer, and Wigner are among those he called colleagues and friends. In this rich autobiography, Wheeler reveals in fascinating detail the excitement of each discovery, the character of each colleague, and the underlying passion for knowledge that drives him still.
 

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Geons, black holes, and quantum foam: a life in physics

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The lives of the key figures in 20th-century physics have been copiously documented in dozens of biographical and historical works. Somewhat unusually, Wheeler, perhaps best known for having coined ... Read full review

Contents

Hurry Up
13
The Manhattan Project
38
Growing Up
67
I Become a Physicist
87
I Try My Wings
105
An International Family
125
Settling Down
146
Physics after Fission
162
Quantum Foam
248
Nature and Nation
266
The Black Hole
291
Texas and the Universe
306
It from Bit
325
The End of Time
346
Appreciation
361
Acknowledgments
363

From Joe I to Mike
192
The Force of Gravity
230

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About the author (2010)

John Archibald Wheeler currently holds an emeritus professorship at Princeton University, where he spent most of his career.

Kenneth Ford is the retired director of the American Institute of Physics. He recently taught high-school physics and served as science director of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

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