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Text / Bryce S. DeWitt letter to J.A. Wheeler, Hugh Everett's copy, 07-May-1957

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Bryce S. DeWitt letter to J.A. Wheeler, Hugh Everett's copy, 07-May-1957
DeWitt, Bryce S.
Wheeler, J.A., annotator
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
UC Irvine, Libraries, Special Collections
Hugh Everett III Manuscripts
Rights Information
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. The authors or their heirs retain their copyrights to the material. Unless otherwise indicated, the original files were donated to the American Institute of Physics ( For permission to publish, contact Jeffrey A. Barrett, representative for the Everett estate,
Scope/Content: As a close friend and collaborator of John Wheeler's, Bryce S. 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 Everett's copy of the letter, as reproduced by Wheeler's secretary. It differs from Wheeler's own copy by several sentences at the bottom of page 4, cut off during the reproduction process. It is likely that Everett never saw these missing sentences.
Scope/Content: This document was found in the basement of Mark Everett in 2007 by Mark Everett and Peter Byrne.
Quantum mechanics
Quantum measurement problem
Pure wave mechanics
Relative states, branches, and worlds
Philosophy of science
DeWitt, Bryce S.
Everett, Hugh III
Wheeler, John A.
Hugh Everett III Correspondence

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