Past Member

John Archibald Wheeler

Mathematics / Natural Sciences
Field of Study

From the American Philosophical Society: 

John Archibald Wheeler (1911-2008) was a leading theoretical physicist of the twentieth century, contributing particularly to the fields of general relativity, gravitation, and quantum mechanics. Wheeler was a pioneer in the study of black holes, celestial phenomena which he named. (He had a penchant for creating new terms in physics, and is credited with naming other phenomena such as geons, wormholes, and quantum foam.) Wheeler is also known for his work in atomic and nuclear physics. In 1939, he and Niels Bohr co-authored a paper that gave the basis for recognizing that Uranium 235 and Plutonium 239 are highly fissile, a milestone in the understanding of atomic energy. Wheeler believed in the importance of public service, assisting in the U.S. war effort to develop the atomic and hydrogen bombs, and served as a scientific advisor to numerous government agencies. During a prolific academic career that spanned seventy years, Wheeler taught physics to thousands of undergraduate students at Princeton University and the University of Texas, and mentored more than fifty Ph.D. students. 

American Philosophical Society, "Wheeler, John Archibald," September 6, 2017

Dates at IAS
  • Mathematics / Natural Sciences
1/19376/1937 Spring
Johns Hopkins Univ Ph.D., 1933
National Medal of Science 1971
Franklin Medal Franklin Inst 1969
Enrico Fermi award US AEC 1968
Einstein prize of the Strauss Foundation 1965
A. Cressy Morrison prize NY Acad of Sci 1947
Member, US General Adv Comm on Arms
1977– Visit Comm, Princeton Univ Dept
1972–1977 Sci Adv Committee to Pres of Univ of California on Los Alamos Sci Lab and Lawrence Livermore Lab
1960–1972 Chmn, Joint Comm of Am Phys Soc and Am Philos Soc on Hist of Theoret in the 20th Century
1957–1965 Adv Committee of Oak Ridge Natl Lab
1958–1958 Chmn, US Dept of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Project 137
1957–1957 Sci Adv of US Senate Delegation to 3rd Annual Conf of NATO parliamentarians, Paris
1946–1953 US Reactor Safeguard Committee