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The conception of an electron moving backward in time


'Boiled down' explanation of 'action at a distance' concept
John Wheeler Scientist
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These particles -- this particle here acts and as a result a particle over there is affected, and let's leave out a count of what happens in between, that's the idea of action at a distance. It's a boiled down way of describing what goes on, and it's appealing because it is boiled down. My own feeling is that in time to come we're going to boil things down more. But that's another story.

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: 48 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008