Sean Carroll in Aeon:
One of the most radical and important ideas in the history of physics came from an unknown graduate student who wrote only one paper, got into arguments with physicists across the Atlantic as well as his own advisor, and left academia after graduating without even applying for a job as a professor. Hugh Everett’s story is one of many fascinating tales that add up to the astonishing history of quantum mechanics, the most fundamental physical theory we know of.
Everett’s work happened at Princeton in the 1950s, under the mentorship of John Archibald Wheeler, who in turn had been mentored by Niels Bohr, the godfather of quantum mechanics. More than 20 years earlier, Bohr and his compatriots had established what came to be called the ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’ of quantum theory. It was never a satisfying set of ideas, but Bohr’s personal charisma and the desire on the part of scientists to get on with the fun of understanding atoms and particles quickly established Copenhagen as the only way for right-thinking physicists to understand quantum theory.