Large Grants
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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
2018 Awardees

2016 Physics of the Observer
2016 Awardees

2015 The Physics of What Happens
2015 Awardees

2013 Physics of Information
2013 Awardees

2010 The Nature of Time
2010 Awardees

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2008 Awardees

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2006 Awardees

Dean Rickles
University of Sydney

Project Title

Radical Conservative: A Biography of John Archibald Wheeler

Project Summary

Agency was at the heart of John Wheeler's work, especially in his later years where it was explicitly embodied in the concept of the "observer-participant" (now undergoing a renaissance in physics). He sought to base a theory of existence itself on it through his idea of a "self-excited circuit," thus putting agency at the heart of it all. This project will trace the development of his ideas, including the emergence of this deeper level of thinking about reality, by writing the first ever biography of the man and his work (to be entitled "Radical Conservative: A Biography of John Archibald Wheeler"). The book will be about a hyperactive scientist's quest to understand the meaning of existence ("the whole show"), with life and mind centre stage.

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