Wolfgang Pauli & The Exclusion Principle Receiving a Nobel Prize is a very onerous award. It is usually given to scientists who have had the most amazing discovery & most scientific advancement in their chosen field of studies. Ever since the first Nobel Prize was given in 1901 there have been much more scientific advancements in physics, which has given way too many more Nobel Prizes given out. One of these amazing scientific advancements was The Exclusion Principle discovered by Wolfgang Pauli, & which also earned him a Nobel Prize in 1945.
Wolfgang Pauli was born April 25, 1900 in Vienna. In his early years he attended Doblinger Gymnasium until he graduated in 1918. He was a very prospective student in all his studies especially physics. Only two months after graduating Doblinger Gymnasium Wolfgang published his first paper on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. This paper was Wolfgang’s stepping stone to a promising career in physics. A short time after finishing high school he attended Ludwig Maximilians University where he received his PhD while working under Arnold Sommerfield in 1921.
Sommerfield asked Wolfgang to review Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, & two months after Wolfgang received his doctorate he published his 237 page article which was praised by Einstein. From the years 1923-1928 Wolfgang was a lecturer at the University of Hamburg where he was very influential in the development of the modern Theory of Quantum Mechanics. Gilley 2 Throughout Wolfgang Pauli’s life he made many important contributions in his career as a physicist, which was primarily in the field of Quantum Mechanics.
He had a very close relationship with Niel Bohr, & Werner Heisenberg which he would frequently write lengthy letters to about his ideas & results. Many of Wolfgang’s ideas & results went unpublished making many of them unaccredited. In 1924, Wolfgang Pauli proposed a new quantum degree of freedom or quantum number with two possible values, in order to resolve inconsistencies between observed molecular spectra & the developing Theory of Quantum Mechanics. This certain degree of freedom became know as the Pauli Exclusion Principe.
The Exclusion Principle he discovered stated that no two electrons could exist in the same quantum state, which is identified by four quantum numbers including his new two valued degree of freedom. Wolfgang’s discovery of the Exclusion Principle led to a doorway of findings by different physicist’s that were all based off of his newly discovered principle. One of which was the idea of spin which originated with Ralph Kronig. One year later George Uhlenbeck & Samuel Goudsmit identified Pauli’s Exclusion Principle as electron spin.
The discovery of electron spin only furthered Wolfgang’s interest in electron spin, & shortly after Heisenberg published the Matrix Theory of Quantum Mechanics which Wolfgang used to derive the observed spectrum of the Hydrogen atom. His finding was important for securing credibility for the Heisenberg Theory. Shortly after, Wolfgang introduced the 2×2 Pauli Matrices as a basis for spin operators, which solved the non-relativistic Theory of Spin. This idea was said to have influenced Paul Dirac in the creation of the Dirac Equation for the relativistic electron.
With Wolfgang’s matrices in mind, Dirac invented similar but larger 4×4 spin matrices for use in his relativistic Gilley 3 treatment of fermionic spin. In 1940, Wolfgang proved the Spin Statistics Theorem which stated that particles with half integer spin are fermions, & particles with integer spin are bosons. Also in 1949, Wolfgang published a paper on Pauli-Villars Regularization, which provided an important prescription for renormalization, or removing infinities from quantum field theories.
The discovery of the Pauli Exclusion Principle was a very influential finding. Following the discovery of Wolfgang’s new principle it later spawned many new ideas & theories that furthered the Theory of Quantum Mechanics as we now see it today. Without Wolfgang’s Exclusion Principle many of the theories that came into existence after its discovery may have never been found therefore making the Exclusion Principle very important, & which later earned Wolfgang Pauli the Nobel Prize in 1945 for his extraordinary finding.
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