University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Wheeler (John) Papers, 1938-1987



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008
Title: Wheeler (John) Papers
Dates: 1938-1987
Abstract: Teaching materials, notes, printed materials, correspondence, and other materials documenting the career of John Wheeler (1911-2008) at Princeton University and University of Texas at Austin, as well as his research and work outside of academics.
Accession No.: 2008-164
Extent: 15 feet
Laguage: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Dr. John Archibald Wheeler was born in Jacksonville, Florida, on July 9, 1911. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1933 at the age of 21. He served as professor of physics at Princeton University from 1938 to 1976 before moving to the University of Texas at Austin where he served as the director of the Center for Theoretical Physics from 1976-1986. After leaving the University of Texas at Austin, Wheeler returned to Princeton as an emeritus professor.

Wheeler was a pioneer in particle physics and nuclear physics. He started collaborating with Neils Bohr in 1939 on some of the earliest work in nuclear fission and participated in the development of the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan project beginning in 1941. After the end of World War II, Wheeler continued to work for the government, interrupting his research to help develop the hydrogen bomb as part of the Matterhorn Project, promote the building of fallout shelters, and support the Vietnam War and missile defense. His later work in areas such as general relativity and gravitational collapse was groundbreaking, and he is widely credited with popularizing the term “black hole” in 1967. Wheeler received the Atomic Energy Commission’s Enrico Fermi Award from President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 and was awarded the Wolf Prize in physics in 1997.

Despite his fame in the field, Wheeler always gave high priority to teaching. He continued to teach freshman and sophomore physics classes throughout his teaching career and maintained an office at Princeton until 2006. Wheeler died on April 13, 2008.


Scope and Contents

The John Wheeler Papers, 1897-1987, consist of teaching materials, correspondence, notes, printed material, and other material documenting the career of John Wheeler (1917-2008).

The first series contains notes and materials related to Wheeler’s teaching career at Princeton University (1953-1976) and at the University of Texas (1976-1985), as well as the time he spent at Kyoto University (1959-1960) and Columbia University (1983). Most of these materials were removed from binders and restricted information was separated; some of the teaching materials are bound, preventing the /emoval of sensitive student information and necessitating the restriction of the volumes.

Also included are notes created by Wheeler related to his research, including articles compiled during his research for publications, notes for lectures and presentations at symposia and conferences, correspondence from former students and colleagues, documents related to two NSF grants, and correspondence and other documents connected to his work on various committees.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Access to student records is restricted until 75 years after the date of creation. All other material is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The majority of these papers are stored remotely at CDL. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval. Photographs are stored on-site.


Index Terms

Organizations
Princeton University
University of Texas at Austin
Subjects
Nuclear physics
Relativity
Quantum physics
Arms Control
Physics education

Related Material

See also: John Archibald Wheeler Papers, 1894-2007, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA

See also: John Archibald Wheeler Oral Histories, Center for History of Physics, Neils Bohr Library and Archives, American Institute of Physics


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

John Wheeler Papers, 1897-1987, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Teaching Materials

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2008-164/1 Princeton University
1953-1961
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2008-164/9 1961-1962 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/10 1963 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/2 1963-1965
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2008-164/3 1965-1968
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2008-164/10 1967 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/4 1968-1971
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2008-164/5 1972
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2008-164/6 1973
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2008-164/7 1947-1976
Kyoto University
1959-1960
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2008-164/10 University of Texas at Austin
1976-1977 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/8 1977-1983
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2008-164/11 1977 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/12 1977-1978 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/13 1978 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/14 1978-1979 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/15 1979-1980 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/16 1982 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/17 1984-1985 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/18 Columbia University
1983 - RESTRICTED
Separated documents from boxes 1-8, 19
1954-1983 - RESTRICTED
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2008-164/19 Notes on teaching materials, 1968-1970
Student Papers, 1978-1982



 

Notes

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2008-164/19 1938-1946, undated
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2008-164/20 Anti-Ballistic Missile System notes, 1969
1947-1960
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2008-164/21 1960-1978
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2008-164/22 1979-1980
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2008-164/23 1981-1984



 

Publications

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2008-164/24 By Others
"Quantum to 1973" - articles gathered by Wheeler
Volumes I-II, 1897-1981, undated
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2008-164/25 Volumes III-IV, 1921-1981, undated
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2008-164/26 Volumes V-VI, 1922-1983, undated
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2008-164/27 "Defense Studies" - articles gathered by Wheeler
1955-1959
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2008-164/28 1959-1962
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2008-164/29 1963-1968
About Wheeler, undated



 

Lectures

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2008-164/29 By Wheeler
1946-1972
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2008-164/30 1960-1975
By Others
1976



 

Symposia and Conferences

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2008-164/31 1977-1979
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2008-164/32 1980-1982



 

Correspondence

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2008-164/33 1942-1947
"Family Gatherings," 1977
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2008-164/34 Correspondence from University of Texas University Archivist, 1987



 

Committees

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2008-164/34 General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, 1970
UT Centennial Celebration, 1982-1983



 

NSF Grants

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2008-164/35 1967-1972



 

Miscellaneous

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2008-164/35 "List of Contracts," 1948-1959
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2008-164/36 "Gift of Books - University of Texas," 1976
"Einstein's Universe, BBC Production"
Correspondence, scripts, notes, 1979



 

Photographs

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4RM202 Students in Physics for Poets class, 1973