Williams, S. A. Department of Physics, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Last reviewed:June 2020
- Symmetry of wave functions
- Isotopic spin
- Atomic structure
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
No two electrons may simultaneously occupy the same quantum state. This principle, often called the Pauli principle, was first formulated by Wolfgang Pauli in 1925 and, for time-independent quantum states, it means that no two electrons may be described by state functions which are characterized by exactly the same quantum numbers. In addition to electrons, all known particles having half-integer intrinsic angular momentum, or spin, obey the exclusion principle. It plays a central role in the understanding of many diverse phenomena, including the periodic table of the elements and their chemical activities, the electron contribution to the specific heat of metals, the shell structure in the atomic nucleus analogous to that of electrons in atoms, and certain symmetries in the scattering of identical particles. See also: Angular momentum; Nonrelativistic quantum theory; Quantum numbers; Spin (quantum mechanics)
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