Science: They Know It's Loaded

What is the goal of science? To blow up the world? If scientists mean what they say—and they generally do—scientific progress is within sight of that nihilistic goal, and may soon succeed in reaching it. Last fortnight Professor John Archibald Wheeler, of Princeton University, almost let this monstrous tiger cat out of the bag.

The present atomic bomb, Professor Wheeler believes, is a mere firecracker. The cornerstone of atomic physics is the Einstein Equation,* which shows that all matter, on earth and elsewhere, is merely frozen energy. "It tells us that the most powerful nuclear transformation so far known, the fission of...