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PSA 1972 pp 31-54 | Cite as

The Rise and Fall of Geometrodynamics

  • John Stachel
Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 20)

Abstract

One thing that everyone can agree on is that the subject of geometrodynamics, whatever we interpret it as covering, is inseparably associated with the name of John Wheeler. To discuss the history and current status of geometrodynamics thus necessitates the discussion of the evolution of Wheeler’s ideas on the subject. This is not meant to detract, in any way, from the fact that he has been ably assisted in his intellectual Odyssey by a distinguished group of co-workers; most prominently by Charles Misner, whom we have been fortunate to hear today on the subject. Since Professor Wheeler has recently indicated his abandonment of major features of the original geometrodynamic program, as I shall discuss later, I hope he will forgive me the rather dramatic title I have chosen for my talk.

Keywords

Wave Function Quantum Theory Field Equation Gravitational Field Spacelike Hypersurface 
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Notes

  1. 1b.
    A. Einstein, ‘Autobiographical Notes’, in P. A. Schilpp (ed.), Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, Open Court Publishing Co., LaSalle, III., 1970, pp. 71–73.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid.>, pp. 73–75.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid.>, p. 75.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ibid.>, p. 81.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    A. Einstein, ‘Remarks to the Essays Appearing in This Collective Volume’, Ibid.>, p. 675.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    An excellent recent reference for such problems is, Hawking and Ellis, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, Cambridge, 1973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Misner, Thorne and Wheeler, Gravitation, Freeman, 1973, Chapter 44, pp. 1197–98. I wish to thank Prof. Wheeler for most kindly giving me a preprint copy of Chapter 44 before its appearance in print.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. A. Wheeler, ‘From Mendeleev’s Atom to the Collapsing Star’, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. XI (ed. by R. J. Seeger and R. S. Cohen), Dordrecht and Boston, 1974.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    B. De Witt, ‘The Many-Universe Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics’, in B. d’Espagnat (ed.), Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Academic Press, New York, 1971.Google Scholar
  10. 10a.
    This has been reprinted, with a number of other fundamental papers on the subject in B. DeWitt and N. Graham (eds.), The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1973.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ibid.>, p. 212.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid.>, p. 214.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Misner, Thorne and Wheeler, Gravitation, Freeman, 1973, Chapter 44, pp. 1203–1205.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ibid.>, Chapter 44, p. 1206Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    D. van Dantzig, ‘On the Relation Between Geometry and Physics and the Concept of Space-Time’, in Helvetica Physica Acta, Supplement IV, p. 48.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    J. A. Wheeler, ‘From Relativity to Mutability’, in J. Mehra (ed.), The Physicist’s Conception of Nature, Dordrecht and Boston, 1973, pp. 233–34.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Misner, Thorne and Wheeler, Gravitation, Freeman, 1973, Chapter 44, p. 1208.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ibid.>, Chapter 44, p. 1212.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    J. A. Wheeler, see note 16, p. 244.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    D. van Dantzig, ibid.>Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    J. Stachel, ‘A Note on Scientific Practice’, to appear in For Dirk Struik (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume XV, 1974).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Stachel
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston UniversityUSA

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