Wolfgang Pauli

  • From:

    Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich │ Zurich, Switzerland

  • Year:

    1952

  • Subject:

    Physics

  • Award:

    Franklin

  • Citation:

    For work in the understanding of atomic physics and the formulation of exclusion principle.

Wolfgang Ernst Pauli was born in 1900 in Vienna. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Munich in 1921, and spent a year at the University of Gottingen as assistant to Max Born and a further year with Niels Bohr at Copenhagen. From 1923-1928, he served as a lecturer at the University of Hamburg before his appointment as Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. During 1935-1936, he was visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey and he had similar appointments at the University of Michigan (1931 and 1941) and Purdue University (1942). He was elected to the Chair of Theoretical Physics at Princeton in 1940 but he returned to Zurich at the end of World War II.

Pauli was recognized as one of the leaders of contempory physics when, while still a student, he published a masterly exposition of the theory of relativity. His exclusion principle, which is often quoted bearing his name, crystallized the existing knowledge of atomic structure at the time it was postulated and it led to the recognition of the two-valued variable required to characterize the state of an electron. Pauli was the first to recognize the existence of the neutrino, an uncharged and massless particle. Pauli helped to lay the foundations of the quantum theory of fields and he participated actively in the great advances made in this domain around 1945. Earlier, he had further consolidated field theory by giving proof of the relationship between spin and "statistics" of elementary particles.

Information as of 1952