The Pauli Letter Collection

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The Pauli Letter Collection


Identity Statement | Context | Content and Structure | Conditions of access and use | Allied materials | Description control | Database


Identity statement [Top]

Reference code(s)

CERN-ARCH-PLC

Title

The Pauli Letter Collection

Date(s)

1920 to 1958

Level of description

Series

Extent of the unit of description

2136 items, 2,5 metres

Context [Top]

Name of creator

Wolfgang Pauli (1900 - 1958)

Biographical history

For Pauli's biographical history see the Pauli Archive: fonds level description.

Archival history

After Pauli's death in 1958, Mrs. Franca Pauli, his widow, assisted by Pauli's last assistant, Charles Enz, started to sort and administer Wolfgang Pauli's scientific legacy. The collection mostly contained only letters Pauli had received, but not those he had sent. Franca Pauli, with Victor F. Weisskopf (one of Pauli's former assistants and Director-General of CERN from 1961 to 1965) and Ralph de Laer Kronig, sent out a circular letter inviting friends and colleagues of Wolfgang Pauli to send their copies or originals of his imposing correspondence. Niels Bohr and R. Oppenheimer from Princeton supported the whole operation.

On the 25th August 1960 Mrs. Pauli made a first Deed of Gift of part of her late husband's estate to CERN, represented by the Director-General

In 1965, Weisskopf's mandate as Director-General of CERN came to an end and he returned to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He continued to be an advisor to Mrs. Pauli. The new Director-General, Bernard P. Gregory, became the first ex-officio member of the Pauli Committee, created in 1965. A mandate to look after the collection was entrusted to Alfred Günther, who was at that time the head of the Scientific Information Service.

Mrs. Pauli made a second Deed of Gift on the 5th November 1971.

After Mrs. Pauli's death in 1987, CERN inherited all author rights for the scientific work of Wolfgang Pauli.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Pauli's widow, Mrs. Franca Pauli, donated most of the collection. Other material has been collected on behalf of the Pauli Committee, much of it by Karl von Meÿenn.

Content and structure [Top]

Scope and content

The Pauli Letter Collection contains the correspondence of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Wolfgang Pauli (1900 - 1958). Subject discussed include physics and wider scientific, philosophical, psychological and epistemological issues.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Nothing was destroyed.

Accruals

A few further items may be collected.

System of arrangement

The series is arranged by the names of Pauli's correspondents, then by dates.

Conditions of access and use [Top]

Conditions governing access

See file level description and the CERN operational circular No 3: rules applicable to archival material and archiving at CERN.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is retained by CERN, no reproduction without permission.

Language / scripts of material

Most of the material is written in German and English. The Pauli Archive also contains documents in Dutch, French, Italian and Russian.

Finding aids

Listed to item level in Samuel Sabursky's Card index (also available at the CERN Archive) and in the CERN Archive database, with a link to a reproduction of most of the letters in PDF format.

Allied materials [Top]

Existence and location of originals

Some of the letters in the Pauli Archives are copies. The originals remain with the recipients or are held in other archives.

Existence and location of copies

Some of the letters in the Pauli Archives have been copied. These copies have been kept by the recipients or have been given to other archives.

Related units of description

Some of Pauli's letters remain at the different institution in which he worked or are part of other prestigious collections:

  • The Pauliana Collection, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich (ETHZ), Zurich, Switzerland, contains the Pauli-Fierz and the Pauli-Jung correspondence and it includes different manuscripts, books and articles by and on Pauli.
  • The Bohr collection, Copenhagen, Danemark
  • The Duke University archives, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  • The Einstein collection, Archive of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
  • The Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

Publication note

  • Jacob, Maurice. - The Pauli archive, the Pauli Committee and the related publications / M Jacob. - CERN, Geneva, 1996. - PAULI-COM-96-03
  • Kuhn, Thomas S. - Sources for history of quantum physics: and inventory and report / Thomas S. Kuhn, John L. Heilbron, Paul Forman, Lini Allen. - Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1967. - ix, 176 p.
  • Pauli, Wolfgang. - W Pauli, writings on physics and philosophy / Enz, Charles P, Von Meÿenn, Karl (ed.). - Berlin: Springer, 1994. - 289 p.
  • Von Meÿenn, Karl. - Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel mit Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, u.a. Band 1: 1919-1929 / A Hermann, K von Meÿenn and V F Weisskopf. - Springer, New York, 1979. - 577 p. - (Sources in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; 2)
  • Von Meÿenn, Karl. - Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel mit Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, u.a. Band 2: 1930-1939 / K von Meÿenn, A Hermann and V F Weisskopf. - Springer, New York, 1985. - 781 p. - (Sources in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; 6)
  • Von Meÿenn, Karl. - Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel mit Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, u.a. Band 3: 1940-1949 / K von Meÿenn. - Springer, New York, 1993. - 1070 p. - (Sources in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; 11)
  • Von Meÿenn, Karl. - Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel mit Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, u.a. Band 4, Teil 1: 1950-1952 / K von Meÿenn. - Springer, New York, 1996. - 968 p. - (Sources in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; 14)
  • Von Meÿenn, Karl. - Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel mit Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, u.a. Band 4, Teil 2: 1953-1954 / K von Meÿenn. - Springer, New York, 1999. - 1100 p. - (Sources in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; 15)
  • Von Meÿenn, Karl. - Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel mit Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, u.a. Band 4, Teil 3 = Scientific correspondence with Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, a.o., volume 4, part 3: 1955 - 1956/ K von Meÿenn. - Springer, New York, 2001. - 994 p. - (Sources in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; 17)

Description control [Top]

Archivist's note

Description prepared by Kieran Pavel.

Description of the letters of the Pauli Manuscript Collection by Marc Reymond.

Date(s) of description: Geneva, the 20th June 2001 - May-August 2002.

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