Saturday, 24 March 2012 06:11

Wolfgang Pauli: Men of Ideas

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Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958) was an Austrian theoretical physicist. He is noted for his discovery of the exclusion principle, a principle that underpins the structure of matter.

In 1945, Pauli received the Nobel Price in physics for his work on Exclusion Principle (also called the Pauli Principle).

The Exclusion Principle states that no two electrons could exist in the same quantum state, identified by four quantum numbers including his two-valued degree of freedom.

Pauli identified the electron’s spin degree of freedom. His research played a key role in validating Heisenberg’s matrix theory of quantum mechanics.

Pauli used Heisenberg’s metric theory to derive the observed spectrum of the hydrogen atom.

In 1927 Pauli introduced the two times two matrices as the basis of spin operators and in so doing solved the non- relativistic theory of spin.

Pauli also played a role in the discovery of what Fermi called neutrinos. Pauli had postulated the existence of neutral particles with a small mass, not greater than 1% of the mass of a proton, and Fermi gave it the name of neutrinos. The neutrino was confirmed to exist in 1956.

A fascinating aspect of Pauli is the effect he had on experimental equipments. Whenever he entered a laboratory it seemed that equipments voluntarily broke (this was called the Pauli effect). Why was this effect? Couple it with his apparently anxious, obsessive-compulsive personality and lots of questions are raised regarding human nature.

Computers, for example, breakdown in the presence of some persons. Some persons, like this observer, upon typing on the computer key board seem to draw electrical energy into their hands (and when they drive their legs seem to draws electrical energy to their legs) and their hands (and legs depending on the source) become pained and eventually numb. Why this phenomenon?

Pauli had mental breakdown and was treated by Carl Jung and wrote on that experience, such as his book, The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche (1955). Considering that Pauli had anxiety disorder, could it be that his anxiety has anything to do with his unusual effect on equipments. Could the specific ions and neurotransmitters involved in the etiology of anxiety disorder explain Pauli’s interesting effect on equipments?

We have a lot to learn about the human nervous system and the electricity in it, and how it interacts with the environment.


Wolfgang Pauli. Theory of Relativity. (1981)

Wolfgang Pauli. Atom and the Archetype. (1958)

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176