Why was Pauli famous for his Pauli effect? - ProProfs Discuss
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Why was Pauli famous for his Pauli effect?

Asked by K. Tanaka, Last updated: Oct 24, 2021

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Bobby Rickets

Bobby Rickets

Bobby Rickets
Bobby Rickets, Content Reviewer

Answered Jan 31, 2019

Pauli was a Viennese thinker of the highest calibre, first as an outstanding mathematician, then as a self taught advanced physicist. He was lauded by other scientists including Einstein for his insightful scientific papers and articles especially on quantum physics. Later he created a successful “school” of theoretical physics. However, the Pauli effect is something of a joke for it merely refers to the (supposed) failure of technical equipment to perform as expected when one particular person is present but himself remains unharmed.

Pauli was a Viennese thinker of the highest calibre, first as an outstanding mathematician, then as

This 'effect' was named because of apparently numerous occasions when technical failures or accidents happened when Pauli was in the room, some of them quite major. Each time Pauli himself was unaffected. This phenomenon was taken so seriously that one scientist would not let Pauli near when he was operating important instruments.

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G. Roland

G. Roland

G. Roland
G. Roland, Professor, Austin

Answered Jan 24, 2019

Pauli became famous for his Pauli effect when, after numerous demonstrations involving technical equipment experienced technical difficulty only when he was present. Thus the theory became termed the Pauli effect, as the tendency for technical equipment to experience failure, only when certain people are present. Keep in mind that the Pauli effect is completely different from the Pauli exclusion principle, although it has been confused several times. One story describes a time when an expensive measuring device at the University of Göttingen, stopped working suddenly, however this time Pauli was not present.

Pauli became famous for his Pauli effect when, after numerous demonstrations involving technical

Pauli was however on a train to Copenhagen, when he had switched the rails to a Göttingen at the same time as the incident. Since then, it was decided that the more exceptional the physicist, the stronger the effect. After this event, countless other incidents occurred including at his honeymoon, a reception in his honor, and at Princeton University.

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