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Early introduction to algebra and letters
John Wheeler Scientist
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My mother's father liked to show me about algebra. If you add equals to equals you get equals. And these were elementary rules of algebra that had all the force of the seven commandments- or the ten commandments. It made it quite plausible. But the school in Washington also had a lot of training in writing. One had to make his letters all slope the same degree and be rounded and open. And in the end, it made writing easier and a pleasure.

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, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008