John Archibald Wheeler Facts

John Archibald Wheeler Facts
John Archibald Wheeler (July 9, 1911 To April 13, 2008) was an American theoretical physicist. Wheeler worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission. He and Gregory Breit, Wheeler developed the concept of Breit-Wheeler process, a theoretical model for turning light into matte.
Interesting John Archibald Wheeler Facts:
John Archibald Wheeler was born in Jacksonville, Florida where both of his parents were librarians.
The family moved to Maryland while he was young and he graduated high school in Baltimore in 1926.
He earned a scholarship from the state of Maryland and entered Johns Hopkins University.
In 1930, while working a summer job at the National Bureau of Standards, he published his first scientific paper.
He received his PhD in 1933 and his dissertation was "Theory of the dispersion and absorption of Helium" earned him a National Research Council fellowship which he used to attend New York University in 1933 to 1934 and University of Copenhagen in 1934 to 1935.
From 1938 to 1976 he was a member of the faculty of Princeton University.
Wheeler's 1937 paper "On the Mathematical Description of Light Nuclei by the Method of Resonating Group Structure" was an important study for Heisenberg's development of the S-matrix in quantum field theory.
Wheeler and Niels Bohr co-authored several papers on the mechanism of nuclear fission.
In January 1942 he moved to Chicago to join the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory.
He and Robert F. Christy co-authored a paper entitled Chain Reaction of Pure Fissionable Materials in Solution" and coined the term neutron moderator.
In july 1944 he relocated to Richland, Washington to work at the Hanford site which produced plutonium.
Wheeler had discovered that some nuclear fission materials might impeded chain reactions by absorbing many of the neutrons that were needed to continue the reaction.
After the Hanford reactor unexpectedly shut down and restarted itself 15 hours later he suspected the cause was Xenon-135 which has a half-life of 9.9 hours and a cross-section of over 2 million barns.
The problem was solved by the addition of additional fuel rods.
After the war Wheeler returned to Princeton University where he worked with Richard Feynman and Jayme Tiomno on particle physics and his paper on muons earned him Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946.
In 1949 the Soviet Union detonated an atomic bomb and Wheeler was asked to join the U.S. effort to develop a hydrogen bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico
1951 he got permission to establish a branch of the Los Alamos Laboratory at Princeton, known as Project Matterhorn, and on November 1, 1953 the hydrogen bomb Matterhorn developed was tested at Enewetak Atoll.
The Matterhorn project continues as the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
Among his many prizes are the Enrico Fermi Award in 1968, the Franklin Medal in 1969, the National Medal of Science in 1971 and the Niels Bohr International Gold Medal in 1982.


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