Pauli won the nobel prize in 1945. I met him in 1957, while he was visiting Imperial College where I was a student. He gave a mumbled lecture on group theory in particle physics. I met him again in 1958, when he was at the Varenna summer school organised by the Italian Physical Society. I have described this meeting here.

I met Pauli again later at the same conference. I was asked to take the
notes of the lecture to be presented by Pauli. To make sure I could hear
and see well, I resolved to get there early, so that I could claim one of
the front seats. I was distressed to find that Pauli was already there,
and had written out his lecture in tiny writing on two small blackboards
on easels. On the left was a proof of the *PCT* theorem, and on the right
was a proof of the spin-statistics theorem. I copied it down as fast as I
could, but could only get down half of the left-hand board when it was
time for the lecture. Pauli waved his pointer at the board, saying, we
start with this, do this, get this, and so prove the theorem. He then
turned to the right-hand board, and soon we had quickly proved the
spin-statistics theorem. He then looked at the time, and said, oh,
there
seemed to be fifty minutes left, so he would take the opportunity to
talk about new work that might be of more interest (than these old
results). I had not yet finished the first board, but he rubbed out an
oval clearing in the middle of the *PCT* theorem, and gave us a lecture on
his new ideas about the group *G*_{2}, which might be a rival to other
favourite groups of rank 2 (*SO*(4), rather than *SU*(3) was considered the
main choice). I took notes of this, muddled up with the
remainder of the *PCT* theorem which remained at the ends and below the new
work. Then I started on the second board, but Pauli said, there still
seem to remain 25 minutes, and he would talk about some interesting work
of Marcel Froissart, on relativistic ghost states. Again he wiped out an
oval in the middle of the spin-statistics proof, and my notes contained a
mixture of that and the "ghost" story.

I was sharing a room with Raymond Stora,
and he and I tried to piece
together the four lectures we had heard. It did not hang together, and I
was slow in delivering it to the office who were preparing the notes
(Supplemento Nuovo Cimento **14**, no 1, 1959). I had to tell them
that it
was not fit to publish. I was told to approach Pauli, and to ask him to
help. This was easy to do, because Pauli found the uphill walk to the
lecture rooms (in the Villa Monastero) from his hotel very hard-going, and
I easily caught him up.
He turned round in great surprise, and said that he was not prepared to
allow any notes of his lectures to be published, and that THIS HAD BEEN
MADE CLEAR TO THE SOCIETY BEFORE HE ACCEPTED THE INVITATION. So I reported
back that the office must have misunderstood the arrangements made with
Professor Pauli. I was told off by the office; I should never have
mentioned that this was for publication, but should have said that I was
an ignorant and incapable student, and that I needed his help to get my
own notes in better order. I was told that Pauli was very kind to
students, and that if I had used this tactic, he would have helped. More,
I was to go back and try again, saying that I had misunderstood, and that
indeed it would not be published, and that it was just for my use. This
time I again easily got to be walking alongside Pauli, but now found it
harder to say my piece. He said nothing, but held out his hand and put my
notes in his inside pocket. Days went by, and the office said I should get
the (corrected) notes back from Pauli. This time Pauli fished in his
pocket and handed me the notes, saying "This is the worst set of lecture
notes I have ever seen!". I withdrew, and furtively looked at his
corrections: he had made no marks or writing whatsoever on the notes.
The office then wanted me to give them the notes; I protested, but they
said that they would not publish them, but that they owned them, as the
Physical Society had paid for the hotels and travel of the speakers and
provided the funding for the Villa where the lectures were held. So I
handed them over, extracting the assurance that they would be omitted from
the proceedings.

Pauli died a few weeks later. I then had a request from Nuovo Cimento.
Surely, the world of physics would be the poorer if the very last
scientific work of Wolfgang Pauli were not published. I was asked to edit
the notes once more. I realised that Pauli did not want the *PCT* and
spin-statistics
theorems published; they were five-minute talks on old stuff. He could
hardly publish Froissart's work. Indeed, Froissart had given an
expanded version of his work in a seminar, and this appears pp 197-204.
But I agreed to work on Pauli's
*G*_{2} theory, and to try to make it readable. I also insisted that my name
(as note-taker) would not be on the article. This duly appeared, pp
205-207, made more intelligible by a few extra pages by Touschek.

At the conference, B. Stech had persuaded me register as a reviewer for
Mathematical Reviews, which was expanding its coverage to include the
exciting field of elementary particle theory. Later in 1959 I was sent **MY
OWN ARTICLE** to review. I was tempted to say "this is the worst set of
lecture notes I have ever seen (said Pauli)". I should have sent
it back, admitting authorship, or giving another vaguer reason. But I saw
the irony of it, and gave it the worst review I had ever done (by then).
Why not? The inventor of the theory
had died, and the real author of the hopeless notes would not complain.

Go to my **HOME PAGE** for links to all my other
publications (the above article is NOT admitted to).

© by Ray Streater, 6/6/00