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.


'Everything is particles' considered


Cosmic rays opposed to accelerators. Pair theory
John Wheeler Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments
I, somehow, had never been involved in building an accelerator, and to me it was a lot of money, a lot of expense and a lot of engineering detail, to get something that would give experiments. To me, it seemed cheaper, easier and more promising, to use Cosmic Ray particles. To be sure, they're few in number but they're huge in energy. So, after the war - no, I shouldn't jump ahead. I had not, at this point, reached that conclusion. With Gregory Breit, you worked on Pair Theory, a theory of electrons and Positrons. The creation of a pair out of electrons, one electron and one positron, out of empty space, by the collision of two Photons. You would laugh at me, I spent all day yesterday just trying to find a paper by a Russian colleague, Ivanenko, on the production of a pair, one electron, one positron, by the collision of two quanta of gravitational radiation.

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: 1 minute, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008