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Johns Hopkins: social life


My favourite professors in English, French History and Mathematics
John Wheeler Scientist
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It was a great joy to have, as a professor of English, Wardlaw Miles. He had us reading Shakespeare, and he would stand at the end of our long table, with us students sitting around the table, reading a passage, 'Othello' or 'Desdemona'. And at one point I remember he had such enthusiasm that he fell over. He couldn't keep him- his- upright because one of his legs had been shot off in World War I. He had gone out in no-man's land to bring in a wounded comrade. But- then there was a professor of French History, and he used to lecture on French history, in French, and we had to take notes on what he said. And then afterwards he would read and correct our French. I think my favorite subjects were French and Science. The professor of Mathematics, part of science, was an Irishman, Francis Dominic Murnaghan, who used to explain to us that the Irishman's way over an obstacle was to go round it, and he would show how to go round a mathematical difficulty.

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: 2 minutes

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008