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Book Title: Theory of Relativity|
The author of the book: Wolfgang Ernst Pauli
Edition: Dover Publications
Date of issue: July 1st 1981
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Reader ratings: 3.6
ISBN 13: 9780486641522
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 739 KB
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Wolfgang Pauli (1900–1958) was one of the 20th-century's most influential physicists. He was awarded the 1945 Nobel Prize for physics for the discovery of the exclusion principle (also called the Pauli principle). A brilliant theoretician, he was the first to posit the existence of the neutrino and one of the few early 20th-century physicists to fully understand the enormity of Einstein's theory of relativity.
Pauli's early writings, Theory of Relativity, published when the author was a young man of 21, was originally conceived as a complete review of the whole literature on relativity. Now, given the plethora of literature since that time and the growing complexity of physics and quantum mechanics, such a review is simply no longer possible.
In order to maintain a proper historical perspective of Professor Pauli's significant work, the original text is reprinted in full, in addition to the author's insightful retrospective update of the later developments connected with relativity theory and the controversial questions that it provokes.
Pauli pays special attention to the thorny problem of unified field theories, its connection with the range validity of the classical field concept, and its application to the atomic features of nature. While an early skeptic of solutions along classical lines, Pauli's alternative model was subsequently supported by the newer epistemological analysis of quantum or wave mechanics. Given the many pieces of the puzzle yet to be fitted into a cohesive picture of relativity, the differences of opinion on the relation of relativity theory to quantum theory are merging into one of science's great open problems.
Pauli provides additional informative views on: problems beyond the original frame of special and general relativity; the conflict between "classical physics" and the quantum mechanical approach; the importance of Einsteinian theory in the development of physics; and finally, the epistemological analysis of the finiteness of the quantum of action and the move away from naïve visualizations.
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Read information about the authorPauli was born in Vienna to a chemist Wolfgang Joseph Pauli (né Wolf Pascheles, 1869–1955) and his wife Bertha Camilla Schütz; his sister was Hertha Pauli, the writer and actress. Pauli's 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 Jewish publisher Wolf Pascheles. Pauli's father converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism shortly before his marriage in 1899. Pauli's mother, Bertha Schütz, was raised in her own 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. He is considered to have been a deist and a mystic.
Pauli attended the Döblinger-Gymnasium in Vienna, graduating with distinction in 1918. Only two months after graduation, he 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 diatomic hydrogen.
Sommerfeld asked Pauli to review the theory of relativity for the Encyklopädie der mathematischen Wissenschaften (Encyclopedia of Mathematical Sciences). Two months after receiving his doctorate, Pauli completed the article, which came to 237 pages. It was praised by Einstein; published as a monograph, it remains a standard reference on the subject to this day.
Pauli spent a year at the University of Göttingen as the assistant to Max Born, and the following year at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen, which later became the Niels Bohr Institute in 1965. From 1923 to 1928, he was a lecturer at the University of Hamburg. During this period, Pauli was instrumental in the development of the modern theory of quantum mechanics. In particular, he formulated the exclusion principle and the theory of nonrelativistic spin.
In 1928, he was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics at ETH Zurich in Switzerland where he made significant scientific progress. He held visiting professorships at the University of Michigan in 1931, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1935. He was awarded the Lorentz Medal in 1931.
At the end of 1930, shortly after his postulation of the neutrino and immediately following his divorce in November, Pauli had a severe breakdown. He consulted psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung who, like Pauli, lived near Zurich. Jung immediately began interpreting Pauli's deeply archetypal dreams, and Pauli became one of the depth psychologist's best students. He soon began to criticize the epistemology of Jung's theory scientifically, and this contributed to a certain clarification of the latter's thoughts, especially about the concept of synchronicity. A great many of these discussions are documented in the Pauli/Jung letters, today published as Atom and Archetype. Jung's elaborate analysis of more than 400 of Pauli's dreams is documented in Psychology and Alchemy.
The German annexation of Austria in 1938 made him a German citizen, which became a problem for him in 1939 after the outbreak of World War II. In 1940, he tried in vain to obtain Swiss citizenship, which would have allowed him to remain at the ETH.
Pauli moved to the United States in 1940, where he was employed as a professor of theoretical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1946, after the war, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States and subsequently returned to Zurich, where he mostly remained for the rest of his life. In 1949, he was granted Swiss citizenship.
In 1958, Pauli was awarded the Max Planck medal. In that same year, he fell ill with pancreatic cancer. When his last assistant, Charles Enz, visited him at the Rotkreuz hospital in Zurich, Pauli asked him: "Did you see the room number?" It was number 137. Throughout his life, Pauli had
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