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I was at the AAAS meeting in San Francisco Hilton when Wheeler gave his famous anti-paranormal speech in denial of his own formidable psychic & visionary powers - descendant of Merlin of Camelot no doubt - no possible doubt whatever. Maureen only found out about this after Wheeler's death so that rules out precognitive remote viewing on Wheeler's part. The skeptic will give a local causes explanation that Maureen being a relative of Wheeler's did look like his grandmother - so no need for a paranormal explanation.

Reprinted below with permission.

Maureen A. Rafferty

June 6, 2010 at 7:09pm
Regarding: Photo: 1971--Sarfatti and Wheeler
Dear Jack,

The photo of you (1971) is beautiful--the whole image including the blackboard. I liked your Wheeler comment, too.

I met John A. Wheeler in May 1999 at C.N. Yang's retirement symposium. We met one Friday morning when I climbed into the van at the hotel in Port Jefferson, NY, which took us to SUNY Stony Brook for the conference. All the van seats were taken, so I sat up front near the driver. John A. Wheeler was sitting behind my left shoulder and started chatting with me. The first thing he said to me was, "You look so organized." The best thing about the conversation is that I didn't know who I was talking with at that moment. It was a pure moment. The physicist behind me tapped me on my right shoulder and said, "That's *#^@*$!." I couldn't understand his Chinese accent. When we arrived at the university and got out of the van, I asked the physicist from Taiwan to repeat what he had said. This time I heard, "John A. Wheeler." Oh my, I thought.

On Saturday morning I was first in the van and Wheeler came in and sat next to me. While we were waiting, he said to me, "I remember my grandmother." He had a far-off, otherworldly look in his eyes, as if he was being transported back in time, and I felt that I had evoked this feeling of his grandmother. There was something about our connection that evoked "grandmother." He felt comfortable with me and opened up about personal things. He talked about trains and how much he liked them and how he had traveled across country on them as a boy. He said he needed a ride to the train station on Sunday morning and, since I was one of the only people who had a rent-a-car, I offered to drive him.

After the Saturday evening banquet honoring C. N. Yang and where Freeman Dyson gave a talk, on Sunday morning John A. Wheeler came out of his hotel room--at the spill-over hotel as the Holiday Inn was full--carrying one little black suitcase and climbed into the back seat of my car, along with Professor Joe Sucher (University of Maryland) who, sitting up front, also needed a ride to the train station. At one point as I was driving, it hit me. I had better drive carefully! I had precious cargo on board! I felt the vast responsibility. Wheeler had changed his mind and wanted to be driven to the Holiday Inn in Stony Brook, whereby, his friend (Hal Fitch) drove him back to Princeton. I took Dr. Sucher, whose wife, Dorothy Sucher, wrote the book, The Invisible Garden, on to the train station. The whole drive was 'otherworldly' as we were all in the flow. Definitely, the flow. At the Holiday Inn, I gave Wheeler something to eat for the ride home as well as a physics t-shirt I had designed.

Years later, I was doing genealogy research. By then I had found out that some of my relatives were from Vermont, which was news to me because I had grown up thinking I was 100% Irish. (William French who was one of the first to spill blood for the American Revolution in the Westminster Massacre, March 13, 1775, was my relative. His father was my g....grandfather, Nathaniel French of Fort Dummer and, later, of Brattleboro, VT.) John A. Wheeler had told me his family was from Vermont so I started researching his lineage. To my utmost surprise I found that John Archibald Wheeler and I shared a common grandmother in Joanna Blessing. (No wonder he mentioned his grandmother when he was near me!) Joanna Blessing Towne is the mother of my g....grandmother, Rebecca Towne Nurse of Salem, MA. One of Rebecca's brothers was John A. Wheeler's g....grandfather. Rebecca was the 71-year old woman who was hung during the Salem Witch Trials and the subject of The Crucible (1953) by Arthur Miller. (See: Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Salem, MA.) In my family lineage, Nathaniel French, Jr. (William French's brother) married Betty Nurse Duncan in Vermont and they are my g....grandparents, eventually leading to the birth of my great grandmother, Lura Lamb, whose family tree origins includes a common grandfather of Dr. Willis Lamb, Jr., Nobel Prize winner; and, also, Demarius Lamb, who was the first wife of John Deere. Upon Demarius's death at 60-years old, John Deere returned to Granville, VT, from Moline, IL, and married Demarius's sister.

Hey, I had better stop here because, like a decision tree, family trees go on and on. I thought you would like to know that John A. Wheeler and I had evoked a 'grandmother vibration' between us and, upon further investigation, it happened to be true! I found this out after Professor Wheeler passed away.

Thanks for the lovely Facebook picture of you from 1971.

With every good wish,


Jun 01

Physics, Good, Bad & Bogus

Posted by: JackSarfatti |
Tagged in: Untagged 

Paul Zielinski "It's actually about finding ways to adapt one's own theory to contrary observations, and proving *other* people's theories wrong. Popper's view of this is just not realistic IMO. The real issue is, what kinds of post-hoc modifications are allowed, and which are not? And why? And what exactly makes a scientific theory falsifable? The answers to these questions are not at all obvious."

Jack Sarfatti "In the end it's always a personal judgment call in a complex situation. Basic rules of Popper are good - Feynman told me he accepted falsification rule as essential to good physics. Then we have Einstein's rule that the theory should be as simple as possible without being simpler than is possible. String theory fails on both counts so far. The decisive rule is to predict something important before it's observed. My unique prediction that dark matter particles whizzing through space do not exist in sufficient numbers to explain the data is testable i.e. falsifiable in Popper's sense - and it stands alone against the crowd of Pundits. My theory says dark matter is a virtual particle effect inside the vacuum in which the bosonic positive vacuum zero point pressure exceeds the fermionic negative zero point pressure on shorter scales - opposite on larger scales of course."

Konstantine Klado "Whats the reason to quantize gravity in the first place? Riemann geometry is already complicated. Why can't one just figure out how to do quantum mechanics in curved spaces?"

Jack Sarfatti "How to do the quantum mechanics of non-gravity fields in classical Riemannian curved geometry is well understood - textbooks etc, the problem is how to quantize the curved spacetime itself. An associated problem is whether it should be quantized to begin with if it is an emergent macro-quantum coherent collective effect from the random micro-quantum substrate of all the other quark-lepton spinor-electro-weak-strong boson non-gravity fields in the pre-inflation false vacuum. Gravity would then be similar to the zero resistance electrical currents in a superconductor and to the crystal distortion fields etc.- results of what is called spontaneous broken symmetry in the inflationary phase transition from the false to true vacuum leading to the hot Big Bang.

There are arguments of consistency that classical gravity must be quantized. However, they are not conclusive. Direct quantization of gravity gives an un-renormalizable theory with uncontrollable infinities in the mathematics that basically is inconsistent like dividing by zero.

Gravity is a force in Newton's theory. Most high-energy theorists do not take courses in Einstein's gravity so they think of the problem in Newtonian terms and that's where a great confusion sets in. Although Einstein's equations limit to Newton's the conceptual idea of gravity in Einstein's theory is qualitatively different from Newton's.


Oh you meant brane theory. I think it's like financial derivatives on Wall Street.;-) Rube Goldberg, little bang for big buck, contrived, excess formal baggage, like Copernican epicycles, too many fudge factors and probably unnecessary. Mathematicians in physicist's clothing gone wild on an acid trip! Pipe dreams - well when they actually predict something subsequently observed in LHC etc then I will eat my beret. Meantime I am not betting on Lisa Randall's "Warped Passages" for example as anything other than science fiction."