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Principle of mutability (Part 1)


Hawking's pair production
John Wheeler Scientist
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So, on this [Hawking's] picture the geometry is jiggling at the surface, this is this irreducible zero point energy, and that jiggle is enough to make it possible for an electron now and again be raised out [of] a negative energy state into a positive energy state, which in physical terms means able to have a production of a positive and a negative electron pair, and this is Hawking's famous Pair Production at the nuclear surface - not at the nuclear surface, at the black hole surface.

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

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008