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Tullio Regge. Work on black holes (Part 2)

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Tullio Regge. Work on black holes (Part 1)
John Wheeler Scientist
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Our friends in the world of elementary particle physics had a conference which was called The Rochester Conference, typically once a year. It used to be at Rochester, but then it began to move from one place to another. I went to one and there I met a young chap I was told was a very good, able, graduate student at Rochester, named Tullio Regge. And I got into conversation with him. And a year or two later, I was at the University of Leiden, and I wanted to analyze what happens around a black hole when there's a disturbance that takes place. What happens to the disturbance? How fast does it move in or out? And so on. So I wrote a paper in which I left slots for the mathematics, and I just gave the ideas and the conclusions. And I sent it to Regge, with his name and mine on it as authors, to see if he felt that he could fill in. Well, he, on his way from Rochester to his native Italy one time, stopped in to see me in the Netherlands. And he had it all filled in, so we could send in this paper for publication. But Regge had a disease, an infirmity, that had been inherited from his father. That infirmity is, as life goes on, to become more and more crippled, less and less able to stand up on one's own feet. And I saw him in May of this year, in Rome, and he is in a wheelchair now.

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, 28 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008