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Physics journals and refereeing of papers


Listening to Niels Bohr
John Wheeler Scientist
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I had heard Niels Bohr speak at the Chicago World Fair. I believe that was 1932. I realized that I didn't understand what he said and probably nobody else did. But later, when I saw other occasions when audiences had the same trouble in understanding what Bohr said, I came to sympathize with the organizers of the meeting in Geneva. They had interpreters for Russian and French and German to translate what the speaker said, but they'd added an extra one, one who would interpret Bohr's English in English that the audience could get. And the French, especially had trouble with his way of speaking. They used the phrase 'La brume du Nord'- the fog from the North. It was not so much that Bohr didn't know what he was saying, he did, but he wanted to be very cautious in what he said, and that's where the trouble came. People wanted something simple, direct, definite and positive. That's the last thing he wanted to do.

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, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008