John Wheeler is an Important Physicist

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“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” a quote by John Wheeler. It displays the type of physicist he was, John Wheeler was a physicist who desired to never stop learning and growing. This is why John Wheeler wanted to investigate some of the world’s most intense and complicated subjects. He studied difficult topics and made insightful discoveries about S-matrices in particle physics, worked with Nicolas Bohr to explain nuclear fission, came up with an equation for cold and dead stars, popularized the term black hole, and even worked with Albert Einstein in the Grand Unified Theory.

John Wheeler was one of the most important physicist in recent physics, due to his discoveries about science, impact he had on the nuclear bomb in WW2, and the famous theories he formulated in theoretical physics which changed the world we live in today. Furthermore, John Archibald Wheeler was an American born citizen on July 9, 1911, in Jacksonville, Florida and died on April 13, 2008 in Hightstown, NJ. He was born into a family that loved books that’s because both his parents were librarians who deeply encouraged reading. John eventually became magnified in science articles and science immediately sparked John’s interest, he knew he wanted to be a scientist when he grew up.

John was the oldest of four siblings, two brothers Robert and Joseph, and one sister Mary. John and the rest of his was a family that moved around often, they lived in Florida, Ohio, Washington D.C., Maryland, Vermont, and California. As he grew older and got out of college and into his profession, he fell in love with a woman named Janette Hegner. Wheeler married Janette Hegner in 1935, and they had two daughters, Alison and Letitia, and one son, James. Unfortunately, John and Janette got divorced many years later. During the early years of his life and during his school years, John finished high school at Rayen High School in Youngstown Ohio.

After high school, John went on to college at Baltimore City College and Johns Hopkins University. John then earned his doctorate degree in Physics in 1933. After graduating John then went on to become a teacher. Wheeler first taught physics at the University of North Carolina. However, in 1938, He was offered to be associate professorship at John Hopkins University, but turned it down for a lower position at Princeton. During his early career, John already started to make an impact on the world of physics. John collaborated with famous physicist Niels Bohr and came up with the idea of the Breit Wheeler process, which is a complicated process that has to do with two photons colliding, creating one positron and one electron.

Wheeler did not invent the process, but certainly helped invent it. Since Wheeler helped discover this process at such an early stage of his life, it displays the kind of work he will produce in the future. Furthermore, some of those fantastic discoveries and creations include learning about and pioneering one of the most important topics in modern human history, nuclear fission. Nuclear fission is the core idea in building nuclear bombs. Nuclear bombs shaped the era of war forever.

In 1939, along with 2 other physicists Niels Bohr and Enrico Fermi, they was honored in being given the task to investigate nuclear fission and also help introduce it to the world of physics. In a nutshell, nuclear fission is the process where a neutron is fired at a nucleus and two new atoms are formed and 3 new neutrons are released in the form of energy. This reaction then causes another reaction occurring from other released neutrons to be fired at the released atoms, then creating a chain reaction. John Wheeler and his accomplices were tasked with investigating this theory, making sense of it all, and presenting it to the public.

When the United States was at one of its toughest times in its history, the United States called John Wheeler and a bunch of other famous physicists to help come up with a destruction weapon. From using his learned knowledge about the theory of nuclear fission, John Wheeler was asked to take up the task of making nuclear energy into a weapon and producing the first ever hydrogen bomb. In 1942, John Wheeler was honored to take up this challenge and create a device that would change human history forever.

So, Wheeler became apart of the Manhattan Project, which was the project that created the first nuclear bomb. Wheeler did not help develop this weapon without a little motivation. Wheeler’s brother Joe was fighting in WW2 during this time. Joe send John a postcard from the catastrophic war, with only 2 words, “Hurry Up.” It was clear that Joe didn’t want to be in the war during the time, and it was clear that he wanted the war to be over. Joe sent this postcard in hope that it would fuel and motivate John even more. Unfortunately, Joe was killed in action in 1944.

It was too late for John, but that didn’t let him stop his work. When John’s brother died from the war, John worked immensely hard to end the war. He put in so much work to try and stop american families from feeling the pain of death that John felt through his brother. In 1945, the construction of the nuclear bomb was complete and was used on Japan in World War 2. John Wheelers efforts and contributions in creating the first nuclear bomb, ended the war in the Pacific in America.


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John Wheeler is an Important Physicist. (2021, Jul 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/john-wheeler-is-an-important-physicist/

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