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.


Bohr's critiques


Physics journals and refereeing of papers
John Wheeler Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments
Life in physics in those days was as it is today, one of trying to understand something, showing over to other people to help clarify it, writing up the results and getting the thing published, although it doesn't have the speed of e-mail of today. But I certainly sympathized with the editors of journals and their problems of dealing with the great masses of material that came in, getting it refereed and simplified to the point where it would act to the credit of the journal. John Tate, of the University of Minnesota, was a great conscience of American physics, and a lot of the credit for the prestige of The Physical Review, the American journal of physics, goes to him, his care in getting papers reviewed by proper reviewers. But one time, that policy came into trouble. Einstein sent in a paper and Tate wrote back saying- appreciate it, we're sending it as a standard practice for a referee to be reviewed. And Einstein wrote back, he didn't want the paper refereed, he wanted it published. And he withdrew the paper and he published it in a different journal, the journal of the Franklin Institute. It's a great thing to have in this world of science, this referee mechanism to sort out errors and mushy thinking and erroneous reasoning, and get credits right.

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, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008