Wolfgang Pauli, Austrian-Swiss physicist

Wolfgang Pauli, Austrian-Swiss physicist

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Credit: CERN/EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958), Austrian-Swiss physicist who worked on quantum mechanics. Pauli described the exclusion principle, now named after him, in 1924. This states that each electron in an atom has a unique set of quantum numbers, or quantum state. He put forward a fourth quantum number 's', to define the spin of an electron. The Pauli exclusion principle explains the main features of the periodic table of elements and of the structure of atoms. This work won him the 1945 Nobel Prize for Physics.

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