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Bryce S. DeWitt letter to John Wheeler, Wheeler's copy, 07-May-1957
Description: As a close friend and collaborator of John Wheeler's, Bryce DeWitt was one of the first people to see a draft of the short version of Hugh Everett's thesis (he did not read the longer version until much later, as is evidenced by some of the complaints in this letter). In May 1957, DeWitt wrote a long and thoughtful letter to Wheeler about how Everett's theory had conceptual parallels with Einstein's theory of general relativity. Wheeler promptly forwarded a copy of the letter to Everett. DeWitt was unhappy with both wave function collapse and the Copenhagen Interpretation. He wrote that Everett's formalistic argument for pure wave mechanics was "beautifully consistent''. But he could not accept the ontological ramifications of the theory because, "I simply do not branch.'' This document is the original letter, as saved by Wheeler. It includes several sentences on the bottom of page 4 that were cut off when Wheeler's secretary reproduced the letter for Everett.
Rights: This material is provided for private study, scholarship, or research. Transmission or reproduction of any material protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners and Professor Jeffrey A. Barrett. The author(s) of the material or their heirs retain copyright to this material.
Used with permission of the copyright holder and the estate of John A. Wheeler.
Provenance: This document is a reproduction of a document found in the John A. Wheeler papers at the American Philosophical Society.
Publisher: University of California, Irvine Libraries. Irvine, California 92623-9557. http://www.lib.uci.edu.