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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

John A. Wheeler has passed away

John Archibald Wheeler, one of the pioneers of nuclear fission and quantum mechanics - and also the man who came up with the terms "black hole" and "wormhole" - has passed away at 96.

Wheeler received early fame when he assisted Albert Einstein and Neils Bohr with the process of splitting uranium atoms to create controlled fission. After World War II he devoted much of his time toward the study of Einsteinian gravity, and helped to popularize the theory of general relativity. And it was while pondering some of the apparently self-violating principles of relativity that Wheeler was the first to come up with not only a possible solution, but one of the most mind-blowing concepts of the Twentieth Century: the black hole.

Later on Wheeler became just as famous for his work on quantum physics, and his theories eventually led to the "many worlds" hypothesis and quantum foam, often called "Wheeler foam".

He was the last of the first generation of modern physicists. And a man well worthy of honor and remembrance here.