Mind, Matter, and Pauli
Wolfgang Pauli was called by Einstein his “spiritual heir”, and his unrelenting demand for precision and clarity earned him the title of “the conscience of physics”. A godson of the great philosopher of science Ernst Mach, he was philosophically astute and, with Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, a principal architect of the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory. This approach to the theory allowed physicists to avoid assigning paradoxical properties to nature. It did so by adopting a philosophically radical stance: regard atomic theory not as a description of atomic processes themselves, but rather as a description of connections between human observations. This renunciation of the traditional scientific ideal of erecting a coherent idea of physical reality was the chief objection against the Copenhagen view raised by Einstein. Though Einstein admitted that it was still unexplained why science had succeeded even as far as it had in creating a mathematical understanding of nature, he held that we must nonetheless persist in the endeavor: otherwise even the possible would not be achieved.
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