Wolfgang Pauli

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Wolfgang Ernst Pauli (April 25, 1900 – December 15, 1958) was an Austrian theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after being nominated by Albert Einstein, he 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," involving spin theory, underpinning the structure of matter and the whole of chemistry.



Early years

Pauli was born in Vienna to a chemist Wolfgang Joseph Pauli ( Wolf Pascheles, 1869–1955) and his wife Berta Camilla Schütz. His 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 Czech-Jewish publisher Wolf Pascheles.[1] His father converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism shortly before his marriage in 1899. Bertha Schütz was raised in her 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.[2]

Pauli attended the Döblinger-Gymnasium in Vienna, graduating with distinction in 1918. Only two months after graduation, the young prodigy published his first paper, on Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. He attended the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, working under Arnold Sommerfeld, where he received his PhD in July 1921 for his thesis on the quantum theory of ionized molecular hydrogen.

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