[ExI] John A.. Wheeler

scerir scerir at libero.it
Thu Apr 17 06:44:21 UTC 2008

> I must ask the parapsychologists if he went to heaven.

That might have a deep meaning. Since Wheeler started
the thread 'Goedel vs. Quantum', and many think it is possible
that, from 'inside', we cannot understand how the quantum
machinery (measurement, nonseparability, ecc.) really works.
Because the observer is an 'insider'.

-Arthur Komar, "Undecidability of Macroscopically Distinguishable
States in Quantum Field Theory", Physical Review, 133, (1964), p. B542
-Asher Peres, "Measurement of Time by Quantum Clocks", American Journal
of Physics, 48, (1980), p. 552
- Asher Peres, W.H. Zurek, "Is Quantum Theory Universally Valid?",
American Journal of Physics, 50, (1982), p. 807
- David. Z. Albert, "On Quantum-Mechanical Automata", Physics Letters,
98.A, (1983), p, 249
- Asher Peres, "On Quantum-Mechanical Automata", Physics Letters,
101.A, (1984), p. 249
- Asher Peres, "Einstein, Godel, Bohr", Foundations of Physics,
15, (1985), p. 201
- Peter Mittelstaedt, "The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics and
the Measurement Process", CAmbridge U.P., 1998.
- Thomas Breuer, Quantenmechanick - Ein Fall fuer Goedel?, Spectrum,
Heidelberg, 1996
- Thomas Breuer, Classical Observables, Measurement and Quantum Mechanics,
Ph.D. Thesis, Un. of Cambridge, 1994
- Thomas Breuer, many papers at
- Karl Svozil, "Randomness and Undecidability in Physics",
Singapore, World Scientific, 1993

"There is, to be sure, a genuine problem in the phenomenon
of quantum measurement, but I will not discuss it here. It
concerns *introspective* systems, where subject = object so
that the basic conception of a single subject observing an
ensemble of objects must be modified."
- David Finkelstein
in "The Physics of Logic" (in "Paradigms and Paradoxes",
ed. R. G. Colodny, 1971, Un. Pittsburgh, p. 60)

"The assertion that 'we cannot signal faster than light'
immediately provokes the question: Who do we think *we* are?
*We* who can make 'measurements', *we* who can manipulate
'external fields', *we* who can 'signal' at all, even if not
faster than light? Do *we* include chemists, or only physicists,
plants, or only animals, pocket calculators, or only mainframe
- John Bell

"In summary, let me tell a story from ten years ago, from 1979,
which was the centenary of Einstein's birth. There were many
meetings around the world celebrating this occasion. And at one
of them in New York I met a well-known physicist, John Wheeler.
I went up to Wheeler and I asked him, 'Prof. Wheeler, do you think
there's a connection between Gödel's incompleteness theorem
and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle?' Actually,
I'd heard that he did, so I asked him, 'What connection do you
think there is between Gödel's incompleteness theorem and Heisenberg's
uncertainty principle?'
This is what Wheeler answered. He said, 'Well, one day I was at the
Institute for Advanced Study, and I went to Gödel's office, and there
was Gödel...' I think Wheeler said that it was winter and Gödel
had an electric heater and had his legs wrapped in a blanket.
Wheeler said, 'I went to Gödel, and I asked him, `Prof. Gödel, what
connection do you see between your incompleteness theorem and Heisenberg's
uncertainty principle?'. I believe that Wheeler exaggerated a little bit
now. He said, 'And Gödel got angry and threw me out of his office!'.
Wheeler blamed Einstein for this. He said that Einstein had brain-washed
Gödel against quantum mechanics and against Heisenberg's uncertainty
In print I recently saw a for-the-record version of this anecdote
(Jeremy Bernstein, Quantum Profiles, Princeton University Press, 1991,
pp. 140-141), which probably is closer to the truth but is less dramatic.
It said, not that Wheeler was thrown out of Gödel's office, but that Gödel
simply did not want to talk about it since he shared Einstein's disapproval
of quantum mechanics and uncertainty in physics. Wheeler and Gödel then
talked about other topics in the philosophy of physics, and about
- G. Chaitin

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