Thursday, July 9, 2009

Meandering we go . . .

Today is the birthday of John Archibald Wheeler (July 9, 1911 – April 13, 2008), theoretical physicist. He gave us the terms black hole, wormhole and the phrase "it from bit". He argued about the nature of reality with Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, while at the same time trying to achieve Albert Einstein's vision of a unified field theory. He has been referred to as the father of modern general relativity.

"The universe does not exist 'out there,' independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators. In some strange sense, this is a participatory universe. Physics is no longer satisfied with insights only into particles, fields of force, into geometry, or even into time and space. Today we demand of physics some understanding of existence itself." - John Archibald Wheeler

"It is my opinion that everything must be based on a simple idea. And it is my opinion that this idea, once we have finally discovered it, will be so compelling, so beautiful, that we will say to one another, yes, how could it have been any different." - John Archibald Wheeler

"We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." - John Archibald Wheeler

"No phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon." - John Archibald Wheeler

"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once." - John Archibald Wheeler

Trivia bit: "John Archibald Wheeler was also the son, brother, father and uncle of librarians. In 1984, he gave the graduation address to the University of Texas library school. The theme of his speech, which focused on his father’s work as a public library director, was on Selling Library Service. It is well worth reading." direct quote source (1)

Wheeler image source (1)


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