Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as helpless.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index P > Wolfgang Pauli Quotes

Thumbnail of Wolfgang Pauli (source)
Wolfgang Pauli
(25 Apr 1900 - 15 Dec 1958)

Austrian-American physicist who established the Pauli exclusion principle.


Science Quotes by Wolfgang Pauli (8 quotes)

After reading a paper by a young theoretical scientist, Pauli, shaking his head sadly, commented:
Das ist nicht einmal falsch.
That is not even wrong.
— Wolfgang Pauli
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Wrong (53)

I confess, that very different from you, I do find sometimes scientific inspiration in mysticism … but this is counterbalanced by an immediate sense for mathematics.
— Wolfgang Pauli
Letter to Niels Bohr (1955). Quoted in Robert J. Scully, The Demon and the Quantum (2007), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematics (403)  |  Mysticism (4)

Physics is very muddled again at the moment; it is much too hard for me anyway, and I wish I were a movie comedian or something like that and had never heard anything about physics.
— Wolfgang Pauli
Letter to R. Kronig (21 May 1925). Quoted in R. Kronig, 'The Turning Point', in M. Fierz and V. F. Weisskopf (eds.), Theoretical Physics in the Twentieth Century. A Memorial Volume to Wolfgang Pauli (1960),as trans. in M. Klein, Letters on Wave Mechanics, x.
Science quotes on:  |  Hard (21)  |  Hearing (24)  |  Movie (4)  |  Physics (171)

The fact that XY thinks slowly is not serious, but that he publishes faster than he thinks is inexcusable.
— Wolfgang Pauli
Quoted in R. Desper, The Human Side of Scientists (1975), 154.
Science quotes on:  |  Fast (12)  |  Publishing (3)  |  Seriousness (9)  |  Slow (8)  |  Thinking (179)

The natural scientist is concerned with a particular kind of phenomena … he has to confine himself to that which is reproducible … I do not claim that the reproducible by itself is more important than the unique. But I do claim that the unique exceeds the treatment by scientific method. Indeed it is the aim of this method to find and test natural laws…
— Wolfgang Pauli
In Aufsätze und Vorträge über Physik und Erkenntnistheorie (1961), 94. Quoted in Erhard Scheibe and Brigitte Falkenburg (ed), Between Rationalism and Empiricism: Selected Papers in the Philosophy of Physics (2001), 276
Science quotes on:  |  Law (291)  |  Scientific Method (107)

There can never be two or more equivalent electrons in an atom, for which in a strong field the values of all the quantum numbers n, k1, k2 and m are the same. If an electron is present, for which these quantum numbers (in an external field) have definite values, then this state is ‘occupied.’
— Wolfgang Pauli
Quoted by M. Fierz, in article ‘Wolfgang Pauli’, in C. C. Gillispie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1974), Vol. 10, 423.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (168)  |  Electron (45)  |  Equivalence (2)  |  Field (77)  |  Nomenclature (108)  |  Strength (28)  |  Value (75)

To us … the only acceptable point of view appears to be the one that recognizes both sides of reality—the quantitative and the qualitative, the physical and the psychical—as compatible with each other, and can embrace them simultaneously … It would be most satisfactory of all if physis and psyche (i.e., matter and mind) could be seen as complementary aspects of the same reality.
— Wolfgang Pauli
From Lecture at the Psychological Club of Zurich (1948), 'The Influence of Archetypal Ideas on the Scientific Theories of Kepler', collected in Writings on Physics and Philosophy (1994), 260, as translated by Robert Schlapp.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptable (2)  |  Appearance (55)  |  Aspect (19)  |  Compatible (2)  |  Complementary (5)  |  Embrace (13)  |  Matter (144)  |  Mind (302)  |  Physical (38)  |  Point Of View (12)  |  Qualitative (5)  |  Quantitative (11)  |  Reality (73)  |  Recognition (44)  |  Satisfactory (5)  |  Simultaneous (5)

What really matters for me is … the more active role of the observer in quantum physics … According to quantum physics the observer has indeed a new relation to the physical events around him in comparison with the classical observer, who is merely a spectator.
— Wolfgang Pauli
Letter to Niels Bohr (1955). Quoted in Robert J. Scully, The Demon and the Quantum (2007), 22.
Science quotes on:  |  Observation (293)  |  Quantum Physics (15)



Quotes by others about Wolfgang Pauli (1)

It is well known that theoretical physicists cannot handle experimental equipment; it breaks whenever they touch it. Pauli was such a good theoretical physicist that something usually broke in the lab whenever he merely stepped across the threshold. A mysterious event that did not seem at first to be connected with Pauli's presence once occurred in Professor J. Franck's laboratory in Göttingen. Early one afternoon, without apparent cause, a complicated apparatus for the study of atomic phenomena collapsed. Franck wrote humorously about this to Pauli at his Zürich address and, after some delay, received an answer in an envelope with a Danish stamp. Pauli wrote that he had gone to visit Bohr and at the time of the mishap in Franck's laboratory his train was stopped for a few minutes at the Göttingen railroad station. You may believe this anecdote or not, but there are many other observations concerning the reality of the Pauli Effect!
From Thirty Years That Shook Physics: The Story of Quantum Theory (1966), 64. Note the so-called Pauli Effect is merely anecdotal to provide humor about supposed parapsychology phenomena in coincidences involving Pauli; it should not be confused with scientifically significant Pauli Exclusion Principle.
Science quotes on:  |  Anecdote (16)  |  Apparatus (19)  |  Atom (168)  |  Belief (159)  |  Break (19)  |  Cause (147)  |  Collapse (9)  |  Complicated (18)  |  Connection (45)  |  Delay (4)  |  Effect (88)  |  Envelope (4)  |  Equipment (13)  |  Event (59)  |  Experiment (409)  |  Humor (3)  |  Laboratory (83)  |  Mishap (2)  |  Mysterious (4)  |  Observation (293)  |  Phenomenon (138)  |  Presence (12)  |  Railroad (10)  |  Reality (73)  |  Station (8)  |  Step (33)  |  Study (188)  |  Theoretical Physicist (6)  |  Threshold (4)  |  Touch (22)  |  Train (10)  |  Visit (7)


See also:
  • todayinsci icon 25 Apr - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Pauli's birth.
  • book icon No Time to be Brief: A Scientific Biography of Wolfgang Pauli, by Charles P. Enz. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

who invites your feedback

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.