a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


At 85, John Wheeler's goals for the future


Nixon and Ford
John Wheeler Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I acquired a tremendous admiration for Kissinger, he's a hard driving person. And I think it's through his influence I was put on the president's General Advisory Committee for Arms Control, Disarmament and World Peace, a commission established by Congress. So we were not only appointed by the president but had to be confirmed by Congress. Well, meeting around the cabinet table with Nixon presiding, seeing him in action with Kissinger at right hand, made me realize that if I ever got myself into some huge law suit involving money and defense problems, Nixon would be an ideal lawyer to have on my side! But I can recall also, after he had to leave office, how we all had to resign our offices because we'd been appointed by the president. Then, when Gerald Ford came in as president and re-appointed, once again take the oath of allegiance to become an active member of the committee, such a variety of people that I was not accustomed to -- I. W. Able, the retired head of the steelworkers' union; William Scranton, former Governor of the State of Pennsylvania; John J. McCoy, who had been U.S. High Commissioner in Germany after the war, in the American zone of Germany. And Dean Rusk, who had been Secretary of State. And William J. Casey, who had been head of the CIA, he was fun to talk to, and to him, life was one great adventure. General Gunther, who had been Supreme Commander of NATO. But after Ford came in, and we assembled in the cabinet room around the big table, I could see Ford in the neighboring room being briefed by some assistant. That person, his first name is James. And that person, his name is John, so when he came in the room he could greet each of us, shake hands, "John, nice to see you," and so on. The perils of being a president.

John Wheeler, one of the world's most influential physicists, is best known for coining the term 'black holes', for his seminal contributions to the theories of quantum gravity and nuclear fission, as well as for his mind-stretching theories and writings on time, space and gravity.

Listeners: Ken Ford

Ken Ford took his Ph.D. at Princeton in 1953 and worked with Wheeler on a number of research projects, including research for the Hydrogen bomb. He was Professor of Physics at the University of California and Director of the American Institute of Physicists. He collaborated with John Wheeler in the writing of Wheeler's autobiography, 'Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics' (1998).

Duration: 3 minutes, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008