A Great Physicist Is Gone

Although I haven’t seen the official obituary, noted physicist John Wheeler has, apparently died today, at the age of 96.  In 1939 he worked with Neils Bohr, laying the foundations of our understanding of nuclear fission.  By the 1950s, his pioneering work on the physics of the deep interior of cold, dark stars became the basis of all later theories regarding black holes.  His 1970 tome on gravitation is still the standard text on the topic.

He was a giant.

Explore posts in the same categories: Education, Personal, Science

8 Comments on “A Great Physicist Is Gone”

  1. bullishmoves Says:

    I used to read his books, I was deeply interested in this field of science. Truly a loss. Thanks for the information.

  2. joe Says:

    You’re quite welcome, bullish.
    I certainly didn’t “scoop” this, but I’m surprised at how little attention the story is getting. I never met the man, but I know of his accomplishments. More people should.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. icsouza Says:

    I am not a scientist, but a science lover. My interest lies in the dialogue between Science and Religion, Science and Bible, Reason and Faith. I study the new scientific theories and see the consequences for the society.
    Any new scientific knowledge should be welcome. Critique by competent people is in order.

  4. Wow! How sad. I actually know a fellow in Texas named John Wheeler, and I will send a link to this blog to him.

    Black holes and what transpires inside stars were some of the concepts that most stirred me about physics and, really, all of science as a child. I owe Mr. Wheeler a debt of gratitude.

    Thanks for noting this — it’s worth a public announcement.

  5. And I’m that fellow in Texas named John Wheeler. Thanks (Mr. Navel Contemplator 😉 )for noting this, and thanks (Mr. Smith) for passing it on. I haven’t been watching the news much today, so I’ll have to find a first-rate obit and photo and put it on my own blog (see Website address).

    I’ve long been wondering whether I should get in contact with my illustrious namesake. Probably many with the same first and last names have tried.

    Sad? Prof. John Archibald Wheeler went the way of all flesh, but he lived a long, full and (so far as I know) honorable life. As for the “long” part, I’ve sometimes quipped that he was well-qualified to speak about the Big Bang, inasmuch as he probably witnessed it. 🙂

  6. joe Says:

    The intersection of science and religion (and especially reason and faith) is exactly what this blog is about. At least, it is when I don’t get off track. ;>
    I hope you keep coming back and continue to comment!

    John A. Wheeler’s classic book Gravitation was given to me as a graduation gift by my classmates. We were a small, tightly knit group, and the gift (and the book) remain very special to me. I suspect that there were many more people than just the few of us here that he inspired the same way.

  7. joe Says:

    Heh! Mr. J. Wheeler, welcome!
    I once knew a girl in grad. school, whose last name was Menzel. In casual conversation, she told me that she was from Boston, and that he father’s name was indeed Donald.
    As a young astronomer, I did quite a double-take before she explained that there was no relation.
    But her father did often receive the more famous man’s mail quite often…

    Hope that doesn’t happen to you (too much, anyway).


  8. icsouza Says:

    Ouvi com pena da morte de John Archibald Wheeler, que faleceu em 13 de abril de 2008 em Hightstown, de pneumonia, aos 96 anos de idade. Foi eminente físico teórico dos Estados Unidos. Ele foi colaborador de Alberto Einstein. Ele trabalhou por uma teoria do campo unificado. Ele nasceu em Jacksonville em 9 de Julho de 1911. Ele é conhecido como quem cunhou a expressão “buraco negro” (black hole). É o fenómeno especial das estrelas colapsadas gravitacionalmente. Ele dirigiu Richard Feynman e Kip Thorne. E preciso trabalhar mais no campo de encetar um dialogo entre as teorias cientificas e a existencia de Deus…

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