Wolfgang Ernst Pauli ( /ˈpɔːli/ ;^{ [5] }German: [ˈvɔlfɡaŋ ˈpaʊli] ; 25 April 1900 – 15 December 1958) was an Austrian (and later American / Swiss) theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after having been nominated by Albert Einstein,^{ [6] } Pauli received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or Pauli principle". The discovery involved spin theory, which is the basis of a theory of the structure of matter.
Pauli was born in Vienna to a chemist Wolfgang Joseph Pauli (né Wolf Pascheles, 1869–1955) and his wife Bertha Camilla Schütz; his sister was Hertha Pauli, a writer and actress. Pauli's middle name was given in honor of his godfather, physicist Ernst Mach. Pauli's paternal grandparents were from prominent Jewish families of Prague; his great-grandfather was the Jewish publisher Wolf Pascheles.^{ [7] } Pauli's father converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism shortly before his marriage in 1899. Pauli's mother, Bertha Schütz, was raised in her own mother's Roman Catholic religion; her father was Jewish writer Friedrich Schütz. Pauli was raised as a Roman Catholic, although eventually he and his parents left the Church.^{ [8] } He is considered to have been a deist and a mystic.^{ [9] }^{ [10] }
For high school, Pauli attended the Döblinger-Gymnasium in Vienna, where he graduated with distinction in 1918. Only two months after graduation, he published his first paper, on Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. He attended the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, working under Arnold Sommerfeld,^{ [1] } where he received his PhD in July 1921 for his thesis on the quantum theory of ionized diatomic hydrogen (H^{+}
_{2}).^{ [2] }^{ [11] }
Sommerfeld asked Pauli to review the theory of relativity for the Encyklopädie der mathematischen Wissenschaften (Encyclopedia of Mathematical Sciences). Two months after receiving his doctorate, Pauli completed the article, which came to 237 pages. It was praised by Einstein; published as a monograph, it remains a standard reference on the subject to this day.^{ [12] }
Pauli spent a year at the University of Göttingen as the assistant to Max Born, and the following year at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen, which later became the Niels Bohr Institute in 1965. From 1923 to 1928, he was a lecturer at the University of Hamburg. During this period, Pauli was instrumental in the development of the modern theory of quantum mechanics. In particular, he formulated the exclusion principle and the theory of nonrelativistic spin.
In 1928, he was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics at ETH Zurich in Switzerland where he made significant scientific progress. He held visiting professorships at the University of Michigan in 1931, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1935. He was awarded the Lorentz Medal in 1931.
At the end of 1930, shortly after his postulation of the neutrino and immediately following his divorce and the suicide of his mother, Pauli experienced a personal crisis. He consulted psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung who, like Pauli, lived near Zurich. Jung immediately began interpreting Pauli's deeply archetypal dreams,^{ [13] } and Pauli became one of Jung's best students. He soon began to criticize the epistemology of Jung's theory scientifically, and this contributed to a certain clarification of the latter's thoughts, especially about the concept of synchronicity. A great many of these discussions are documented in the Pauli/Jung letters, today published as Atom and Archetype. Jung's elaborate analysis of more than 400 of Pauli's dreams is documented in Psychology and Alchemy .
The German annexation of Austria in 1938 made him a German citizen, which became a problem for him in 1939 after the outbreak of World War II. In 1940, he tried in vain to obtain Swiss citizenship, which would have allowed him to remain at the ETH.^{ [14] }
Pauli moved to the United States in 1940, where he was employed as a professor of theoretical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1946, after the war, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States and subsequently returned to Zurich, where he mostly remained for the rest of his life. In 1949, he was granted Swiss citizenship.
In 1958, Pauli was awarded the Max Planck medal. In that same year, he fell ill with pancreatic cancer. When his last assistant, Charles Enz, visited him at the Rotkreuz hospital in Zurich, Pauli asked him: "Did you see the room number?" It was number 137. Throughout his life, Pauli had been preoccupied with the question of why the fine structure constant, a dimensionless fundamental constant, has a value nearly equal to 1/137.^{ [15] } Pauli died in that room on 15 December 1958.^{ [16] }^{ [17] }
Part of a series on |
Quantum mechanics |
---|
Pauli made many important contributions as a physicist, primarily in the field of quantum mechanics. He seldom published papers, preferring lengthy correspondences with colleagues such as Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, with whom he had close friendships. Many of his ideas and results were never published and appeared only in his letters, which were often copied and circulated by their recipients.
Pauli proposed in 1924 a new quantum degree of freedom (or quantum number) with two possible values, to resolve inconsistencies between observed molecular spectra and the developing theory of quantum mechanics. He formulated the Pauli exclusion principle, perhaps his most important work, which stated that no two electrons could exist in the same quantum state, identified by four quantum numbers including his new two-valued degree of freedom. The idea of spin originated with Ralph Kronig. George Uhlenbeck and Samuel Goudsmit one year later identified Pauli's new degree of freedom as electron spin, a discovery in which Pauli for a very long time wrongly refused to believe.^{ [18] }
In 1926, shortly after Heisenberg published the matrix theory of modern quantum mechanics, Pauli used it to derive the observed spectrum of the hydrogen atom. This result was important in securing credibility for Heisenberg's theory.
Pauli introduced the 2 × 2 Pauli matrices as a basis of spin operators, thus solving the nonrelativistic theory of spin. This work, including the Pauli equation, is sometimes said to have influenced Paul Dirac in his creation of the Dirac equation for the relativistic electron, though Dirac stated that he invented these same matrices himself independently at the time, without Pauli's influence. Dirac invented similar but larger (4x4) spin matrices for use in his relativistic treatment of fermionic spin.
In 1930, Pauli considered the problem of beta decay. In a letter of 4 December to Lise Meitner et al., beginning, "Dear radioactive ladies and gentlemen", he proposed the existence of a hitherto unobserved neutral particle with a small mass, no greater than 1% the mass of a proton, to explain the continuous spectrum of beta decay. In 1934, Enrico Fermi incorporated the particle, which he called a neutrino, 'little neutral one' in Fermi's native Italian, into his theory of beta decay. The neutrino was first confirmed experimentally in 1956 by Frederick Reines and Clyde Cowan, two and a half years before Pauli's death. On receiving the news, he replied by telegram: "Thanks for message. Everything comes to him who knows how to wait. Pauli."^{ [19] }
In 1940, he re-derived the spin-statistics theorem, a critical result of quantum field theory which states that particles with half-integer spin are fermions, while particles with integer spin are bosons.
In 1949, he published a paper on Pauli–Villars regularization: regularization is the term for techniques which modify infinite mathematical integrals to make them finite during calculations, so that one can identify whether the intrinsically infinite quantities in the theory (mass, charge, wavefunction) form a finite and hence calculable set which can be redefined in terms of their experimental values, which criterion is termed renormalization, and which removes infinities from quantum field theories, but also importantly allows the calculation of higher order corrections in perturbation theory.
Pauli made repeated criticisms of the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology,^{ [20] }^{ [21] } and his contemporary admirers point to modes of epigenetic inheritance as supportive of his arguments.^{ [22] }
The Pauli effect was named after the anecdotal bizarre ability of his to break experimental equipment simply by being in the vicinity. Pauli was aware of his reputation and was delighted whenever the Pauli effect manifested. These strange occurrences were in line with his controversial investigations into the legitimacy of parapsychology, particularly his collaboration with C. G. Jung on the concept of synchronicity.^{ [23] }
Regarding physics, Pauli was famously a perfectionist. This extended not just to his own work, but also to the work of his colleagues. As a result, he became known in the physics community as the "conscience of physics," the critic to whom his colleagues were accountable. He could be scathing in his dismissal of any theory he found lacking, often labelling it ganz falsch, utterly wrong.
However, this was not his most severe criticism, which he reserved for theories or theses so unclearly presented as to be untestable or unevaluatable and, thus, not properly belonging within the realm of science, even though posing as such. They were worse than wrong because they could not be proven wrong. Famously, he once said of such an unclear paper: "It is not even wrong!"^{ [1] }
His supposed remark when meeting another leading physicist, Paul Ehrenfest, illustrates this notion of an arrogant Pauli. The two met at a conference for the first time. Ehrenfest was familiar with Pauli's papers and was quite impressed with them. After a few minutes of conversation, Ehrenfest remarked, "I think I like your Encyclopedia article [on relativity theory] better than I like you," to which Pauli shot back, "That's strange. With me, regarding you, it is just the opposite."^{ [24] } The two became very good friends from then on.
A somewhat warmer picture emerges from this story, which appears in the article on Dirac:
Werner Heisenberg [in Physics and Beyond, 1971] recollects a friendly conversation among young participants at the 1927 Solvay Conference, about Einstein and Planck's views on religion. Wolfgang Pauli, Heisenberg, and Dirac took part in it. Dirac's contribution was a poignant and clear criticism of the political manipulation of religion, that was much appreciated for its lucidity by Bohr, when Heisenberg reported it to him later. Among other things, Dirac said: "I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest – and as scientists honesty is our precise duty – we cannot help but admit that any religion is a pack of false statements, deprived of any real foundation. The very idea of God is a product of human imagination. [ ... ] I do not recognize any religious myth, at least because they contradict one another. [ ... ]" Heisenberg's view was tolerant. Pauli had kept silent, after some initial remarks. But when finally he was asked for his opinion, jokingly he said: "Well, I'd say that also our friend Dirac has got a religion and the first commandment of this religion is 'God does not exist and Paul Dirac is his prophet'". Everybody burst into laughter, including Dirac.^{ [25] }
Many of Pauli's ideas and results were never published and appeared only in his letters, which were often copied and circulated by their recipients. Pauli may have been unconcerned that much of his work thus went uncredited, but when it came to Heisenberg's world-renowned 1958 lecture at Göttingen on their joint work on a unified field theory, and the press release calling Pauli a mere "assistant to Professor Heisenberg", Pauli became offended, denouncing Heisenberg's physics prowess. The deterioration between them resulted in Heisenberg ignoring Pauli's funeral, and writing in his autobiography that Pauli's criticisms were overwrought, though ultimately the field theory was proven untenable, validating Pauli's criticisms.^{ [26] } Pauli was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1953.^{ [1] } In 1958 he became a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.^{ [27] }
In May 1929, Pauli left the Roman Catholic Church. In December of that year, he married Käthe Margarethe Deppner, a cabaret dancer.^{ [28] } The marriage was an unhappy one, ending in divorce in 1930 after less than a year. He married again in 1934 to Franziska Bertram (1901–1987). They had no children.
The Copenhagen interpretation is a collection of views about the meaning of quantum mechanics principally attributed to Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. It is one of the oldest of numerous proposed interpretations of quantum mechanics, as features of it date to the development of quantum mechanics during 1925–1927, and it remains one of the most commonly taught.
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was an English theoretical physicist who is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century.
The Pauli effect or Pauli's Device Corollary is the supposed tendency of technical equipment to encounter critical failure in the presence of certain people. The term was coined after mysterious anecdotal stories involving Austrian theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, describing numerous instances in which demonstrations involving equipment suffered technical problems only when he was present.
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist and one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics. He published his work in 1925 in a breakthrough paper. In the subsequent series of papers with Max Born and Pascual Jordan, during the same year, this matrix formulation of quantum mechanics was substantially elaborated. He is known for the uncertainty principle, which he published in 1927. Heisenberg was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the creation of quantum mechanics".
A timeline of atomic and subatomic physics.
Max Born was a German physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 1930s. Born won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics for his "fundamental research in quantum mechanics, especially in the statistical interpretation of the wave function".
Paul Ehrenfest was an Austrian and Dutch theoretical physicist, who made major contributions to the field of statistical mechanics and its relations with quantum mechanics, including the theory of phase transition and the Ehrenfest theorem.
Mathematical physics refers to the development of mathematical methods for application to problems in physics. The Journal of Mathematical Physics defines the field as "the application of mathematics to problems in physics and the development of mathematical methods suitable for such applications and for the formulation of physical theories".
Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld, was a German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and mentored many students for the new era of theoretical physics. He served as doctoral supervisor for many Nobel Prize winners in physics and chemistry.
In physics, specifically relativistic quantum mechanics (RQM) and its applications to particle physics, relativistic wave equations predict the behavior of particles at high energies and velocities comparable to the speed of light. In the context of quantum field theory (QFT), the equations determine the dynamics of quantum fields. The solutions to the equations, universally denoted as ψ or Ψ, are referred to as "wave functions" in the context of RQM, and "fields" in the context of QFT. The equations themselves are called "wave equations" or "field equations", because they have the mathematical form of a wave equation or are generated from a Lagrangian density and the field-theoretic Euler–Lagrange equations.
Ernst Pascual Jordan was a German theoretical and mathematical physicist who made significant contributions to quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. He contributed much to the mathematical form of matrix mechanics, and developed canonical anticommutation relations for fermions. Jordan algebra is employed for and is still used in studying the mathematical and conceptual foundations of quantum theory, and has found other mathematical applications.
In physics, aether theories propose the existence of a medium, a space-filling substance or field, thought to be necessary as a transmission medium for the propagation of electromagnetic or gravitational forces. Since the development of special relativity, theories using a substantial aether fell out of use in modern physics, and are now joined by more abstract models.
This timeline lists significant discoveries in physics and the laws of nature, including experimental discoveries, theoretical proposals that were confirmed experimentally, and theories that have significantly influenced current thinking in modern physics. Such discoveries are often a multi-step, multi-person process. Multiple discovery sometimes occurs when multiple research groups discover the same phenomenon at about the same time, and scientific priority is often disputed. The listings below include some of the most significant people and ideas by date of publication or experiment.
Walter Thirring was an Austrian physicist after whom the Thirring model in quantum field theory is named. He was the son of the physicist Hans Thirring.
Wilhelm Lenz was a German physicist, most notable for his invention of the Ising model and for his application of the Laplace–Runge–Lenz vector to the old quantum mechanical treatment of hydrogen-like atoms.
Nicholas Kemmer was a Russian-born nuclear physicist working in Britain, who played an integral and leading edge role in United Kingdom's nuclear programme, and was known as a mentor of Abdus Salam – a Nobel laureate in physics.
The history of quantum mechanics is a fundamental part of the history of modern physics. Quantum mechanics' history, as it interlaces with the history of quantum chemistry, began essentially with a number of different scientific discoveries: the 1838 discovery of cathode rays by Michael Faraday; the 1859–60 winter statement of the black-body radiation problem by Gustav Kirchhoff; the 1877 suggestion by Ludwig Boltzmann that the energy states of a physical system could be discrete; the discovery of the photoelectric effect by Heinrich Hertz in 1887; and the 1900 quantum hypothesis by Max Planck that any energy-radiating atomic system can theoretically be divided into a number of discrete "energy elements" ε such that each of these energy elements is proportional to the frequency ν with which each of them individually radiate energy, as defined by the following formula:
The Evolution of Physics: The Growth of Ideas from Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta is a science book for the lay reader. Written by the physicists Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, it traces the development of ideas in physics. It was originally published in 1938 by Cambridge University Press. It was a popular success, and was featured in a Time cover story.
Physics is a scientific discipline that seeks to construct and experimentally test theories of the physical universe. These theories vary in their scope and can be organized into several distinct branches, which are outlined in this article.
Markus Eduard Fierz was a Swiss physicist, particularly remembered for his formulation of spin–statistics theorem, and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, particle physics, and statistical mechanics. He was awarded the Max Planck Medal in 1979 and the Albert Einstein Medal in 1989 for all his work.
1922...Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg are research assistents of Max Born
At the same time Pauli writes on 11 October 1957 to the science historian Shmuel Sambursky whom he had met on his trip to Israel (see Ref. [7], p. 964): 'In opposition to the monotheist religions – but in unison with the mysticism of all peoples, including the Jewish mysticism – I believe that the ultimate reality is not personal.'
Wolfgang shared my concern. ... "Einstein's conception is closer to mine. His God is somehow involved in the immutable laws of nature. Einstein has a feeling for the central order of things. He can detect it in the simplicity of natural laws. We may take it that he felt this simplicity very strongly and directly during his discovery of the theory of relativity. Admittedly, this is a far cry from the contents of religion. I don't believe Einstein is tied to any religious tradition, and I rather think the idea of a personal God is entirely foreign to him."
... a press release that read, most offensively to Pauli, 'Professor Heisenberg and his assistant W. Pauli ...
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Wolfgang Pauli |
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wolfgang Pauli . |