Tag Archives: death

John Updike (1932-2009)


The US writer John Updike died recently.

In 1960 he wrote a poem about the most fleeting of particles, the neutrino, that appeared in The New Yorker.

Neutrinos they are very small.
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass,
Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
Ignore the most substantial wall,
Cold-shoulder steel and sounding brass,
Insult the stallion in his stall,
And, scorning barriers of class,
Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
And painless guillotines, they fall
Down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
And pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed—you call
It wonderful; I call it crass.

John Archibald Wheeler Dies

The eminent theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler who coined the terms black hole, wormhole and quantum foam, has died aged 96.

John Archibald Wheeler

Wheeler was a driving force in the Manhattan (A-bomb) and Matterhorn (H-bomb) projects and collaborated with Einstein on unified field theory. Wheeler taught many famous students, including Kip Thorne and Nobel laureate (and personal favourite of Mr Reid) Richard Feynman.

Edit: The New York Times and especially Cosmic Variance have fantastic obits.