In a desperate, in his words, attempt to save the law of conservation of energy, the creator of quantum mechanics Wolfgang Pauli suggested the existence of an unknown electrically neutral particle in the nucleus. “I did something terrible today,” he lamented in a letter to a friend. “No theoretical physicist should ever do anything like that. I proposed something that could never be tested experimentally.” He was wrong: his hypothesis was tested and confirmed to be valid, albeit much later. And it got a name. Enrico Fermi proposed the term “neutrino” which means “a little neutron.”
The wonderful Swiss physicist, the predictor of the neutrino and one of the founders of quantum mechanics, Wolfgang Pauli is also known for an effect that bears his name. Not to be confused with the Pauli’s principle, the fundamental law of nature that the future Nobel laureate had formulated. What was jokingly called the “Pauli Effect” was the tendency of instruments to fail in the presence of the famous physicist. One day, his colleagues had decided to play a joke on him. The clock in the hall where Pauli was expected to deliver a speech was connected by a transmission mechanism to the door. They were waiting for the clock to stop once the doors were opened. However the clock did not stop – instead, the transmission mechanism failed.