The story of the unlikely friendship between the two physicists who fundamentally recast the notion of time and history
In 1939, Richard Feynman, a brilliant graduate of MIT, arrived in John Wheeler's Princeton office to report for duty as his teaching assistant. A lifelong friendship and enormously productive collaboration was born, despite sharp differences in personality. The soft-spoken Wheeler, though conservative in appearance, was a raging nonconformist full of wild ideas about the universe. The boisterous Feynman was a cautious physicist who believed only what could be tested. Yet they were complementary spirits.
Their collaboration led to a complete rethinking of the nature of time and reality. It enabled Feynman to show how quantum reality is a combination of alternative, contradictory possibilities and inspired Wheeler to develop his landmark concept of wormholes, portals to the future and past. Together, Feynman and Wheeler made sure that quantum physics would never be the same again.
"Readers soon see that Feynman achieved his breakthroughs in physics by collaborating with his mentor, John Wheeler.... With the same clarity that has attracted readers to
Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat and his other books of popular science, Halpern retraces the way this unlikely pair smashed traditional understandings of time...a compelling reminder that even the most triumphant science comes from vulnerable humans." (
"Go to any physics meeting and ask each person there for their list of the top ten most influential physicists of the 20th century. Lots of different names will appear, but everybody will name Einstein (of course!). Nearly all will mention Feynman and Wheeler, too. After [listening to] Halpern's thought-provoking book, you'll understand why." (Paul J. Nahin, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at University of New Hampshire and author of In Praise of Simple Physics)
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