(also Pauli's exclusion principle) Physics
The assertion that no two fermions can have the same quantum number.
- Fermions obey the Pauli exclusion principle, which means that two of them cannot occupy the same quantum state.
- For electrons, the Pauli exclusion principle paradoxically leads to an effective attraction that balances the particles' electrostatic repulsion at short distances.
- In addition to electrons, the Pauli exclusion principle applies to all sub-atomic particles with half-integral spins, known as fermions, such as neutrons and protons.
1920s: named after W. Pauli (see Pauli, Wolfgang).
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Syllabification: Pau·li ex·clu·sion prin·ci·ple
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